Type to search

Biz bits: Goodwill partnered with Lyft, MARTA board elects new leadership

Business Metro ATL Trending

Biz bits: Goodwill partnered with Lyft, MARTA board elects new leadership

Photo provided by Goodwill of North Georgia.

Atlanta, GA — Here’s a look at business news in our community.

— Goodwill of North Georgia worked with Lyft to support jobseekers with no-cost transportation services throughout the month of December 2022. 

Jobseekers had access to free transportation to get to interviews, job training or work. Those who registered though Goodwill received codes that could be used when scheduling rides in the Lyft app, according to a press release.

To get the codes, jobseekers had to visit a Goodwill of North Georgia career center. The number of free rides per person depended on individual circumstances.

Goodwill offers training programs in a wide range of industries, including construction, healthcare, hospitality, medical billing, technology, and more. While the training programs are available at no cost, they are not free. Goodwill works to cover the cost of training through their retail stores, fundraising, and strategic community partnerships.

“One barrier to employment can be a lack of reliable transportation,” Goodwill President and CEO Keith Parker said. “Goodwill is not just about helping you get a job. We connect our jobseekers with a wide range of support services, including transportation, that will help them thrive in their career. Working with Lyft will expand those services to an even greater level this holiday season.”

Anyone interested in registering in-person can do so through one of Goodwill’s 14 Career Centers located across North Georgia, or by calling the contact center at 844-344-WORK. Visit www.goodwillng.org to find a career center.

MARTA Decatur Transit Station, Downtown Decatur. Photo by Dean Hesse.

— MARTA board elects new leadership and board members from Atlanta and Clayton County depart. 

Here is the press release:

ATLANTA – The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) board of directors recently recognized long-serving board members from Atlanta and Clayton County who stepped down or reached their end of their term and elected new board officers for 2023.

Atlanta board members Robbie Ashe and Reginald Snyder announced at the December board meeting that they will be stepping down from the board, and Clayton County member Roberta Abdul-Salaam’s term is ending, effective in January. Ashe, a former chair, served on the board for 12 years, Ms. Abdul-Salaam for seven, and Snyder for two.

“MARTA would not be the system is it today without the leadership and passion of these board members,’ said MARTA General Manager and CEO Collie Greenwood. “Their contributions are many, but I want to specifically mention the expansion of service into Clayton County and the More MARTA Atlanta referendum and expansion as highlights. They have selflessly invested thousands of hours into improving this agency and the service we deliver. We thank them for their commitment to public transportation and they will be missed.”

The new Atlanta and Clayton board members will be welcomed at the January 2023 board meeting.

Also, beginning in the new year, Governor appointee Thomas Worthy will serve as board chair and Clayton County representative Katie Powers will serve as vice-chair. The 2023 MARTA Board Officers are as follows:

— Thomas Worthy is elected Chair

— Katie Powers is elected as Vice-Chair

— Al Pond is elected as Secretary

— Rod Frierson iselected as Treasurer

— Rita Scott will serve as Immediate Past Chair

The MARTA board of directors is comprised of 13 voting members representing Clayton, DeKalb, and Fulton counties and the City of Atlanta, as well as two ex-officio members from the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority. The policy-setting board meets monthly to address challenges and opportunities facing the Authority, while exploring ways to innovate and expand the system.

Board calendars and meeting minutes can be found at MARTA (itsmarta.com).

— Paws Between Homes has raised about $40,000 through social media and is making one last push to get pets into foster homes heading into the new year.

Cole Thaler, with his dog Midnight, launched Paws Between Homes in late 2019 with the goal of providing temporary pet foster care for people facing housing crises and reuniting them with their pet. Photo submitted by Cole Thaler.

The local nonprofit animal rescue launched in late 2019 to help individuals facing housing challenges find temporary foster homes and care for their pets.

“We are a nonprofit animal rescue that provides temporary foster homes to the pets of people who are being evicted or otherwise losing their housing,” Paws Between Homes Founder Cole Thaler said. “We take care of their pets for up to 90 days while they’re looking for new housing and then when they get back on their feet after eviction and sign a new lease, we reunite them with their pets.”

Thaler is a tenants’ attorney with the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. He has had a front-row seat to the eviction crisis in metro Atlanta, he said.

“I’m also an animal lover and a pet owner,” Thaler said. “It occurred to me that what Atlanta really needs is a safety net organization that can take care of people’s pets so that they don’t have to experience the trauma of pet loss on top of the crisis of eviction. It’s bad enough when a family has to move into a homeless shelter or motel room or even their car, but before we existed, people would also have to surrender their family pet to the shelter, which is heartbreaking. We were formed to at least alleviate that loss or prevent that loss while the family is getting back on its feet.”

Social media, in particular Facebook, has been key to Paws Between Homes’ success.

“We find fosters through our Facebook page by posting pictures of pets that need foster homes and making pleas for help,” Thaler said. “We have done a huge amount of fundraising through social media, running fundraisers, people making donations on our posts. We have found a number of clients through social media — people doing searches online for help for their pets, someone to take care of their pets while they are moving out of their home abruptly, find their way to us, either our website or our social media pages and message us and ask for help that way too. Facebook in particular has really been a linchpin to our success.”

The organization has received other grants as well, but Facebook has been the most consistent source of small donations.

Going into the new year, Paws Between Homes hopes to find foster homes for as many pets as they can and gain more volunteers.

“We have a waiting list of pets, dogs and cats, who are in urgent need of foster homes, and we don’t have enough fosters to go around to meet the need,” Thaler said. “So we are doing an end of the year push to try to enlist new fosters, and we want fosters to know we pay for everything. We provide all of the supplies. We cover all the vetting costs that the pet may need. All they need to do is just open their home to the pet in need for a maximum of 90 days and provide it with the love and attention that it needs. We do everything else.”

He added that fostering a pet is an easy way to help a family.

“Fostering a pet is a great way to help a family that is in need. A family that is facing the loss of the beloved dog or the cherished cat companion while they are navigating the very demoralizing thicket of housing options in the Atlanta area, one foster can spare that family from the emotional pain of losing their pet for good,” Thaler said.

The organization has only been asked about dogs and cats, but they would also foster other pets like guinea pigs, rabbits or reptiles, Thaler said.

If anyone requires surrendering an animal or is interested in becoming a foster, they can apply through the Paws Between Homes website, or they can message the organization’s Facebook page. Paws Between Homes’ capacity is dependent upon the number of foster homes the organization has. They currently have about 16 pets in foster homes and have a waitlist.

“There’s research out there showing that most renters are pet owners. We know that the number of evictions filed in Fulton County alone is thousands of evictions per month are being filed. That means that most of their families facing eviction also have a pet in their home. The need is tremendous,” Thaler said.

People can also volunteer in other ways or donate to Paws Between Homes.

— Wellroot Family Services partnered with Clark Atlanta University Alumni Association’s DeKalb Chapter to deliver Christmas gifts to over 530 students at Snapfinger Elementary School in Greater Decatur on Friday, Dec. 16. 

Students at Snapfinger Elementary School picked out gifts provided by Wellroot Family Services on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. Photo courtesy of Wellroot.

Students were able to select a new unwrapped age-appropriate toy, arts and crafts kit, science kit, or other fun items provided by Wellroot donors and CAUAA members, according to an announcement. 

Snapfinger Elementary School serves around 530 students in a part of Greater Decatur that is historically under-resourced. Some of the families are experiencing homelessness or live in inadequate housing situations. Many others are experiencing poverty and food insecurity.

The event was a part of Wellroot’s Christmas Celebrations which was more than double the previous year. While foster family recruitment is down by over 50% since before the COVID-19 pandemic, Wellroot’s 2022 Christmas celebration was at its largest, serving over 1,000 children, youth, and families in North Georgia. Christmas plans included:

– Parties for children and families in Wellroot’s foster care program and residential housing in Tucker, Gainesville and Augusta.

– Party for Wellroot’s transitional living and independent living residents at Wellroot‘s new property in Decatur.

– 120 wish lists were distributed

– 40 baby gift baskets were distributed

– 46 new parent gift baskets were distributed

– 61 volunteers helped decorate, sort gifts and host events.

To donate to Wellroot, click here.

— LifeLine Animal Project announced a holiday impact fundraiser earlier this month.

Photo obtained via LifeLine Animal Project

LifeLine Board Chair and Anisa International CEO Anisa Telwar Kaicker donated $50,000 in matching funds to LifeLine. Another anonymous donor pledged an additional $50,000 in matching donations to LifeLine Animal Project, according to a press release.

LifeLine’s 20th Anniversary year has been a cause for celebration, but also one of the hardest years in LifeLine’s history. Factoring in inflation, it costs about $40 a day to care for each animal. The organization has about 3,000 animals in their care and their length of stay has doubled.

“Every dollar helps us care for over 40,000 animals each year in our shelters, clinics and communities,” said Rebecca Guinn, founder and chief executive officer of LifeLine. “This has been an extraordinarily difficult year for our community and pets. We urgently need people to donate and help make a difference this year. ”

Telwar Kaicker said she hopes individuals recognize the impact they can have with a donation to support the organization.

“I am so proud of the lifesaving work the organization does to keep people and pets together and to stop the euthanasia of healthy and treatable pets,” she said.

All donations to LifeLine will be matched up to $100,000 through Dec. 31 at midnight. To make a donation, visit lifelineanimal.org/holiday-match.

— Georgia United Credit Union adds an experienced compliance leader to the risk management team.

Linda Landis will serve as the vice president of compliance/BSA at Georgia United Credit Union. Photo courtesy of Georgia United Credit Union.

Here is the full press release:

DULUTH, GA (Dec. 8, 2022) – Georgia United Credit Union is pleased to announce the addition of Linda Landis as its new vice president of compliance/BSA. Landis, who brings a wealth of compliance knowledge and experience with her to the organization, joined Georgia United on December 5.

In her new role, she will oversee regulatory compliance and BSA (Bank Secrecy Act) regulation, both part of Georgia United’s risk management business unit.

“We are very excited to add Linda to our extraordinary team as we continue to evolve and grow,” said Sophia Rollins, Georgia United’s senior vice president of risk management. In addition to compliance and BSA functions, Georgia United’s risk management unit also includes fraud, quality assurance, internal audit, vendor management and business continuity.

For ten years Landis served as first vice president enterprise compliance at Kinecta Federal Credit Union, a Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based credit union with assets of $6.6 billion. Prior to that, she worked for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues as a manager of chapters and electronic education and regulatory consultant.

She is also a certified Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE). Landis earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational management and a master’s degree in leadership and management from University of La Verne.

Traveling from the West Coast to Georgia is the latest leg of Landis’ personal and professional journey, which includes sailing across the globe with her husband while on recent sabbatical.

“Although absent from the corporate experience for a little while, I have not been absent from keeping up on regulatory changes in the financial industry,” said Landis. “I am delighted and honored to lead Georgia United’s compliance initiatives while providing the highest level of service that our members have come to expect from the state’s top credit union.”

— Rocket Community Fund Teams Up with Atlanta BeltLine Partnership and Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership to Preserve Affordable Housing

This partnership marks the first in Rocket Community Fund’s expansion of housing stability work to Atlanta. A total $750,000 investment will cover property tax increases for 44 properties under the Legacy Resident Retention Program and help preserve 2,000 affordable housing units through the Closing the Gap Initiative.

Here is the full press release:

December 12, 2022- The Rocket Community Fund, in partnership with the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership (ABP) and Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP), announced a $750,000 investment to remove systemic barriers that prevent safe and stable housing for Atlanta residents.

According to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Atlanta has the highest rate of economic inequality and one of the lowest rates of upward mobility. Many residents face difficulties finding adequate housing that is also safe and affordable for their families due to discriminatory practices, as well as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of this problem, some residents struggle financially, risk eviction or find themselves forced to relocate.

As part of its mission to simplify complex and inequitable systems to ensure that every American has access to stable, healthy housing, the Rocket Community Fund is proud to support two organizations that are working to correct this imbalance. The Rocket Community Fund’s entry to the Atlanta market builds on similarly successful community partnerships in Detroit and Cleveland, which have helped drive greater housing stability by reducing tax foreclosures, preventing evictions, and creating new pathways to homeownership.

“We believe everyone deserves a safe and stable place to call home. These investments with deep-rooted community partners like ABP and ANDP are a critical first step to addressing one of the most urgent needs of the Atlanta community,” said Laura Grannemann, Vice President of Strategic Investments, Rocket Community Fund. “Our work in Detroit has shown us how a
dedicated group of partners can drive systemic change and more equitable outcomes. We look forward to supporting that change in Atlanta.”

Protecting Legacy Residents

The Legacy Resident Retention Program (LRRP) is a resource to help longtime homeowners living in the Atlanta BeltLine equity priority subareas in westside and southside neighborhoods stay in their homes by covering the costs of increases in property taxes through the 2030 tax year.

The Rocket Community Fund’s $500,000 investment will cover the increases in property taxes for 44 homes in these areas. Participating residents have lived in their homes for an average of 23 years. This support will allow more seniors to remain in place and keep their families’ homes.

“We are deeply thankful for Rocket Community Fund’s generous contribution,” said Rob Brawner, Executive Director of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership. “Their commitment to supporting the people of Atlanta and preserving generational wealth will ensure residents are able to live, work, and thrive in Atlanta BeltLine communities.”

Households must make less than 100% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for their respective household size to qualify for participation. Some homeowners earn significantly less. The average participant’s income is less than $37,000 a year.

Applicants can register to become part of the program here. They can also check to see if their house is within the eligibility boundaries here.

Closing the Homeownership Gap

In addition to supporting legacy resident retention, the Rocket Community Fund is committed to helping solve the racial homeownership gap and ensure those who have been historically disenfranchised can build wealth through homeownership.

Homeownership remains the principal way most families build generational wealth. However, nationwide, Black-owned homes are typically worth about 18% less than white-owned homes. Despite efforts to outlaw housing discrimination, a vast divide remains between the rate of white homeownership (75%) and the rate of Black homeownership (44%).

“Access to finance and collateral has reduced people of color's capacity. This has led to a loss of wealth, more debt, and less down payment savings, which can lead to community dissolution,” said John O’Callaghan, President and CEO, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership. “With this investment from the Rocket Community Fund, ANDP will have a greater impact across marginalized areas.”

The Rocket Community Fund’s $250,000 investment will contribute to ANDP’s vision for racial equity. Through its campaign to create and preserve 2,000 units of affordable housing by 2025, ANDP estimates it will be able to invest more than $50 million into Black-owned residential contractors, subcontractors, and vendors in the form of partnership investments, direct contracts, and low-cost loans.

— United States Sen. Jon Ossoff honored Dr. Carlos del Río in December 2022 in the Official Congressional Record for his infectious disease work. 

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff held a press conference on Tuesday, Aug. 16, outside the DeKalb County Police Headquarters to talk about funding for law enforcement and mental health services. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

For over 25 years, del Río has dedicated his career to advancing research on diseases affecting the immune system and expanding access to health care for people diagnosed with HIV, according to a press release. Del Río also recently became president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Here are Ossoff’s remarks honoring del Rio:

“Mr. President, I rise today to honor Dr. Carlos del Río, MD for his outstanding service to the state of Georgia and the entire nation for more than 25 years.

“Dr. del Río, a native of Mexico, is a distinguished and awarded professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Emory University School of Medicine.

“He has been a leader in epidemiology and research on diseases affecting the immune system and issues related to early diagnosis of HIV, access to care, and compliance with antiretrovirals.

“Throughout his years of service, Dr. del Río has worked with underserved populations to improve outcomes of those infected with HIV and to prevent infection with those at risk. His work has been published in multiple books and hundreds of scientific papers.

“The COVID-19 pandemic only sharpened the public’s ability to see Dr. Del Río’s leadership first-hand, with countless Georgians and Americans turning to his expertise and guidance during such unsettling times.

“Dr. del Río continues to excel at serving our country and our Georgia community. This year, he was selected as the new president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, where he continues his commitment to promoting top-tier patient care, education, and research.

“Mr. President, as Georgia’s U.S. Senator, it is my honor to commend Dr. Carlos del Río for his achievements and contributions to Georgia and our country.”

Have business news to share? Send it to [email protected]

If you appreciate our work, please become a paying supporter. For as little as $6 a month, you can help us keep you in the loop about your community. To become a supporter, click here

Want Decaturish delivered to your inbox every day? Sign up for our free newsletter by clicking here.

Decaturish is now on Mastadon. To follow us, visit: https://newsie.social/@Decaturish/.

Decaturish is now on Post. To follow us, visit: https://post.news/decaturish.

Decaturish is now on Flipboard. To follow us, visit: https://flipboard.com/@Decaturish