Cox Grant Helps Bring New Community Center to Life
A new multi-purpose community and education center is coming to Atlanta’s west side, thanks in large part to a $3 million grant from the James M. Cox Foundation. This gift helped with the purchase of a building that will be repurposed to house this new community center, furthering the area’s revitalization efforts.
The grant was given to the Westside Future Fund, which allowed the organization to acquire the former Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) headquarters at 970 Jefferson Street NW. The new community center will serve as a central gathering place for the area’s 16,000 residents and plans include a resource center, demonstration garden and community teaching kitchen, as well as co-working space and multi-purpose meeting rooms for entrepreneurs.
The new center will help meet the community’s growing need for a “modern, inclusive, accessible destination for residents to work, gather, learn and thrive together,” said John Ahmann, president and CEO of Westside Future Fund. Recognizing the long-term inequity in Atlanta’s Historic Westside, The Westside Future Fund was launched to help four historic Westside neighborhoods revitalize and develop into a community through a collaborative approach involving businesses, government, and philanthropy.
The 74,000-square-foot building is located on 2 acres with access to PATH and BeltLine trails. It will also house one of Cox’s community partners, the Food Well Alliance. This organization works to expand access to fresh, healthy food in urban neighborhoods by building consensus, aligning existing efforts and mobilizing funding for effective approaches.
“It’s a critical time for many of our neighborhoods, so we want to provide an accessible space to grow community by using food as a transformational tool for revitalization,” said Bill Bolling, founder of the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Food Well Alliance Board Chair. “We’ll bring people and organizations together to collaboratively provide resources, capacity and leadership that will help communities prioritize urban agriculture.”
The James M. Cox Foundation, named in honor of Cox's founder, has long been a key supporter of all the organizations involved in this transformational project. The foundation provided funding to the Atlanta Community Food Bank to establish the Food Well Alliance in 2015 and has supported the BeltLine and the PATH Foundation’s mission to develop multi-use trails throughout the city.
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