by Jim Wehner
Eight houses sit on my block in Historic South Atlanta. Last December, four of the eight were vacant and dilapidated eyesores. Three of the those four homes had not been lived in for more than twelve years!
What a difference a year of community development makes.
This Christmas, all eight homes have families in them! FCS purchased the four empty homes at the end of 2015, completed beautiful restorations throughout 2016, and sold every one of them. In fact, FCS purchased, rehabbed, and sold (or rented) 13 properties this year. Each of these residences represents another family participating in the renewal of the neighborhood. Re-neighboring streets represents the core of what FCS considers healthy neighborhood development. I know Christmas on my block will be an exciting time this year with a new group of neighbors!
FCS’ impact in the neighborhood extends beyond housing. Our economic development team has sold more than 8,600 cups of coffee at Community Grounds in 2016 and more than $250,000 worth of groceries at Carver Market. We celebrated the One Year Anniversary of Carver Market, which was an incredible milestone, representing how these healthy businesses are reconnecting the neighborhood to the greater economy. The market and coffee shop are also a source of prized part-time jobs for our community! We have about fourteen young people who have worked their first jobs in our stores.
We also engaged a new dream this year. It began with one of our board members who shared his vision of a curriculum built by FCS that would highlight the need for the church to reimagine charity. Bob Lupton’s book Toxic Charity, and its sequel Charity Detox, put FCS on the map as a leading voice in this arena. So we are proud to introduce Seeking Shalom, a six week interactive curriculum that includes the voices, thoughts, and expertise of more than 30 friends of FCS who are either providers or recipients of charity. Our hope is this curriculum will spur healthy change in the church across the U.S. and globally.
FCS is committed to finding innovative solutions to poverty and holistic answers that rebuild the fabric of the entire neighborhood. I am continually humbled by the steadfast commitment of our donors to take projects - like affordable housing, Carver Market, and Seeking Shalom - and give them life. Your generosity has enabled FCS to pursue neighborhood transformation in a way that combines strong faith with transformative investment. It takes great tenacity and endurance to re-neighbor a community in a way that preserves justice for the poor and encourages an inclusive, sustainable economy where all can thrive.
It is such a blessing to be surrounded by amazing people who are committed to our community. Your support translates into programs that are based on honest exchange in which each participant’s contribution is valued and needed. Without you, none of this would be possible.
We invite you to join us on this journey! By making a donation, you are ensuring that families in South Atlanta have youth enrichment activities, affordable food, and safe streets.
Thank you for your generosity and faithfulness to the vision!