April 27, 2015

The East Lake Neighborhood in Atlanta: Needle-Moving Collaboratives Three-Year Follow-Up

Revitalization of the East Lake community in Atlanta has incorporated mixed-income housing, cradle-to-college education, and community wellness. Largely funded by a single source, golf-related events like the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola held in East Lake, the collaborative continues to evolve to address developing challenges and opportunities. 

We've seen remarkable changes take place in the East Lake community over the last 20 years. As a result of tremendous collaboration between many supporters and public and private partners, the East Lake Foundation, focused on mixed-income housing, cradle-to-college education, and community wellness, has helped transform the East Lake community from a place once filled with despair to a place filled with possibility

Daniel J. Shoy, Jr., President, East Lake Foundation

Focus areas: Revitalization of the East Lake community in Atlanta, incorporating mixed-income housing, cradle-to-college education, and community wellness. Tracked metrics have included violent crime rates and fifth-grade education standards.

Founding date: 1995

Leadership (backbone): East Lake Foundation

Results at time of 2012 study: From 1995 to 2011 violent crime rates dropped by 95 percent in East Lake; percentage of fifth graders that met or exceeded standards in 2011—reading 100 percent, language arts 98 percent, mathematics 95 percent, science 93 percent, and social studies 96 percent.

Most recent results: Crime rates have held steady since 2011; percentage of fifth graders that met or exceeded standards in 2013—reading 98 percent, language arts 99 percent, mathematics 99 percent, science 97 percent, and social studies 98 percent.

East Lake's experience over the last three years: As East Lake Foundation was three years ago, it remains unique among the 11 collaboratives in our study in that it is largely funded by a single source—golf, including the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola held at the historic East Lake Golf Club. Golf-related events supply approximately one-half of the East Lake Foundation's budget each year.

East Lake continues evolving in its quest to address developing challenges and opportunities. In 2000, the collaborative founded the Charles R. Drew Charter School, the city of Atlanta's first public charter school, which enrolls more than 1,500 students, pre-K through tenth grade. While the school had been a much-heralded success, in 2012 it only ran through eighth grade, so rising ninth graders ended up in traditional high schools, some without the supportive services and programs that Drew provided. In 2014, the collaborative opened the Charles R. Drew Charter School Junior and Senior Academy at the Charlie Yates Campus, a grade 6–12 school that will have its first graduating class in 2017. Looking at the front end of the cradle-to-college pipeline, East Lake and its early learning partners (East Lake Early Learning Academy, East Lake Family YMCA, East Lake Sheltering Arms Education and Family Center, and the James M. Cox Foundation Pre-K Program) now serve 315 students from birth to pre-K.

In the area of housing, The Villages of East Lake provides residents a mix of affordable and market-rate housing in what had been one of the nation's most violent public housing projects. Today, occupancy rates in its market-rate housing have risen to almost 99 percent, and there are constant waiting lists for the subsidized units—suggesting that the collaborative is achieving its vision of a truly mixed-income community where people want to live.

More from Needle-Moving Community Collaboratives Revisited


Creative Commons License logo
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license are available in our Terms and Conditions.