Two years ago when we opened our doors to the Center for Civic Innovation, we did so with one clear objective: to give people who love this city a place and a platform to engage with it. This includes celebrating when amazing things happen and the people who make them happen, but it also means calling out where our home city has opportunities to improve and grow.

In 2016, the Center for Civic Innovation has celebrated, cried, jumped for joy, and learned more than we ever thought we would.



The main areas of focus for the Center for Civic Innovation have been: connecting community members to policymakers, providing space for community to gather and have tough conversations, and giving folks a conduit to true community engagement.  

Whether we’re talking about Equity, Affordability, and the Beltline or MARTA & T-SPLOST, informing the priorities of a newly appointed city official, or breaking down the details of ballot referenda during the 2016 election, we’re invested in giving people opportunities to help shape our city’s future. When the City of Atlanta waived public engagement requirements for abandoning streets, CCI quickly partnered with Creative Loafing to help the public understand What's Going Down at Underground Atlanta and have a voice in the process.

We’ve been honored to host some of our favorite civic leaders for one of our favorite events - Leadership Breakfasts. Folks like Tina Fernandez (Achieve Atlanta), Bassima Mroue (Sara Blakely Foundation), Alex Reeves (Clinton Global Initiative), and Atiba Mbiwan (Zeist Foundation) have shared their stories and insights with us in an intimate setting.

You can read about more of our programming here.

It’s not about north, south, east, west - it’s about Atlanta. We can’t dream individually. We need a constellation of dreamers. And it starts with relationships.
— Nate Smith, CEqO of Partnership for Southern Equity
You can read more about our 2016 programming  here  and  here . 

You can read more about our 2016 programming here and here


There is no advocate too small.
— Alex Reeves, Director of Clinton Global Initiative America


In 2016, we expanded our footprint in the historic M. Rich building in the heart of South Downtown. We gained 5,000 square feet and a full bank of offices which have been filled with an expressive roster of social entrepreneurs including STE(A)M Truck, Next Generation Men/Women, and our eight Civic Innovation Fellows.  Our campus serves as a community center and resource hub, connecting social impact organizations, entrepreneurs, activists, and creatives.

Westside Innovation Fellows graduate. 

Westside Innovation Fellows graduate. 

Civic Innovation Fellow re:imagine/ATL hosting a teen talk night

Civic Innovation Fellow re:imagine/ATL hosting a teen talk night


Our fellowship program provides leadership and business development, technical assistance, one on one advisement, a cohort of peer support, and, in some cases, capital to local community leaders and social entrepreneurs who are creating impact in Atlanta communities. In 2016, the Center for Civic Innovation trained 26 fellows through the Westside Innovation Fellowship, the Civic Innovation Fellowship, and the Food Innovation Fellowship.

Richard Hinds created Good Kupa Koffie, the first coffee shop on the Westside. Keitra Bates, CEO of Marddy’s, was granted a loan from ACE (Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs) to secure a space for a shared kitchen space in Ashview Heights. LaTeef Pyles of The University Barbershop, located in Vine City, helped five barbers receive Mental Health First Aid training to better serve the young people that come into the shop. Jeffrey Martin of honorCode went to the Forbes $1 Million Change the World Competition and honorCode WON the whole thing! The winner of A3C Action 2015 Malika Whitley of ChopArt and current Civic Innovation Fellow Marian Liou of We Love BuHi received the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s Neighborhood Grants. Numerous other fellows hosted fundraisers, won awards, and collaborated with one another on major projects.

Civic Innovation Fellowship supports social entrepreneurs from across industries and geographies in Atlanta, from an artist guild that using art as a way to spark community conversation to a creative arts program for teenage storytellers.

In partnership with MailChimp and the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta

Food Innovation Fellowship supports farmers, educators, and other leaders in the food movement to scale their work, from a grower that takes vacant lots and turns them into growing centers to a training and support system for farmers markets.

In partnership with Food Well Alliance

Westside Innovation Lab supports residents in westside neighborhoods with social impact ideas, from a barbershop providing mental health training to barbers to a coding and technology exposure program for young women in Atlanta’s Washington cluster.

In partnership with the Blank Foundation, Equifax, Chick-fil-A, and the United Way


The Storytelling Pitch training was amazing! In just one day, we learned new techniques on how to more effectively tell our story with images, emphasis, and effectiveness! We are now able to tell our story in a much more concise way and audiences are able to better understand what we do. I’d recommend this training to all nonprofit professionals who engage with external audiences.
— Brittany Burnett, Chris 180

Our Owning Your Story Workshops and our Social Enterprise Bootcamps have refined the business models and pitches of over 40 entrepreneurs in Atlanta and abroad. We’ve partnered with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta to train and provide technical assistance to grantees and worked with the US Department of State and their Young Leaders of America Initiative to train Latin American entrepreneurs.