Community Improvement, Capacity Building

Focused Community Strategies

empowering neighborhoods to thrive

Atlanta, GA

Mission

Focused Community Strategies partners with under-resourced neighborhoods to provide innovative and holistic development that produces flourishing communities where God's Shalom is present.

Ruling Year

1978

President

Jim Wehner

Main Address

PO Box 17628

Atlanta, GA 30316 USA

Keywords

community development, holistic, mixed-income housing, neighborhood, economic development, jobs, food security, training

EIN

58-1330830

 Number

0709077789

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Decades of highly-concentrated need have created some unique challenges in our target neighborhood of Historic South Atlanta. Nearly 20% of our neighbors do not have consistent employment, half live below the poverty line (twice the Atlanta average), 66% do not own the home that they live in, and every single person in our neighborhood has at least one vacant house on their block. That being said, residents of South Atlanta are very committed and focused on making their neighborhood a great place to live again. The neighborhood association, the South Atlanta Civic League, has excellent leadership and high levels of resident participation. FCS is partnering with its neighbors to create a flourishing community that serves both new and established residents.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Mixed-Income Housing

The Lupton Center

Economic Development

Neighborhood Engagement

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Focused Community Strategies pictures flourishing Atlanta neighborhoods where houses are no longer dilapidated and abandoned, but instead renovated and called home; where families have regular access to fresh and affordable foods; and where city streets are home to thriving communities. This is the vision of FCS, and it is already becoming a reality in Historic South Atlanta.

Our ultimate goal is to find and build upon healthy community initiatives that preserve the strengths of these Atlanta neighborhoods while providing tangible, holistic solutions to ending poverty in our great city.

Focused Community Strategies (FCS) partners with under-resourced neighborhoods to provide innovative and holistic development that creates flourishing communities where God's Shalom is present. FCS' ultimate goal is to foster Atlanta neighborhoods that are healthy, safe, and thriving. We achieve this goal through a holistic approach that includes mixed-income housing, economic development, neighborhood engagement, and training & consulting.

Mixed-Income Housing: create affordable and workforce home ownership opportunities, and affordable rental opportunities.
Economic Development: create small businesses that will be a source of goods and services, jobs, and overall economic sustainability.
Neighborhood Engagement: foster positive relationships among neighbors and forge partnerships to bring in needed resources and expertise.
Training & Consulting: help others gain a better understanding of material poverty, its causes, and ways to address it.

FCS operates under the belief that all people have value, dignity, and something to offer to the community. This translates into programs that are based on honest exchange in which each recipient's contribution is valued and needed. As a result, our neighbors have ownership of their transformed community, and they are empowered to sustain and continually improve it long after FCS' direct involvement has ended.

For the past forty years, FCS has been partnering with under-served neighborhoods to provide innovative and holistic development that produces flourishing communities where God's Shalom is present. Our ultimate goal is to foster communities that are real, sustainable, and restorative. We immerse ourselves in one neighborhood at a time to fully understand its unique strengths and needs. In 2001, we began a partnership with residents of Historic South Atlanta. Together with South Atlanta's 1,922 residents we have transformed abandoned houses into beautiful homes, opened a grocery store in a former food desert, and experienced the true joy of belonging to a community that resiliently weathers life's storms and joyfully celebrates its blessings.

FCS measures its effectiveness by combining internally collected data with data compiled from external sources. Internally, we evaluate each program by tracking changes in attitudes and behaviors among neighbors (ie. change in healthy eating habits among Carver Market customers as measured by year-over-year comparison of monthly produce purchases in Carver Market). We also collect qualitative data to get deeper insights into why an intervention was or was not effective. (ie. neighbor participation and feedback in every board meeting and surveys) We overlay that information with data collected through the Neighborhood Nexus, American Community Survey, and The Atlanta Police Department. By combining these sources, we wind up with a better understanding of South Atlanta residents who participate in our programs and South Atlanta as a whole.

FCS has been working to develop a comprehensive list of factors and attributes that describe a healthy, flourishing neighborhood and could be used for initial assessment, strategy development, and ongoing monitoring of progress. The Flourishing Neighborhood Index will establish a baseline of neighborhood health, identify neighborhood strengths, provide additional insight into what interventions have or have not been effective, and help identify areas of concern. It will be a great asset for FCS and other organizations that engage in holistic community development.

In 2016 FCS transformed 14 vacant properties into beautiful homes for new neighbors - this includes both affordable rental and homeownership opportunities.
Since beginning our work in South Atlanta, we have constructed, rehabilitated, or partnered with builders to re-establish 160 homes in the neighborhood.
FCS rental houses are $600 below the Atlanta average.

Nine community members are employed through Community Grounds and Carver Market and three have full time positions. Carver Market and Community Grounds serve 175 South Atlanta neighbors each day.
Young people are learning transferable skills at Carver Market, Community Grounds, and the South Atlanta Bike Shop including timeliness, communication, initiative, and interpersonal skills. In 2016, Carver Market customers who shop using food stamps purchased 317% more produce, and there was a 50% increase in produce purchases overall. Neighbors learned how to prepare healthy foods in our new 6-week cooking classes.

South Atlanta residents have represented the neighborhood's interests in 100% of FCS Board meetings. Pride for Parents brought joy to over 600 families this Christmas. The average toy price was $4.67 - less than half of the average toy price at conventional toy stores.

The Lupton Center has guided over 2,000 individuals and 300 organizations towards charity models that identify and build on community strengths, preserve dignity, and allow individuals to take part in creating their own success.This past year we worked closely with three established nonprofit organizations to guide them through the design and implementation of healthy charity practices.

External Reviews

Financials

Focused Community Strategies

Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

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  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2015 and 2014
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2015 and 2014
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Not Applicable

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable