The Phillip Rush Center has become the literal embodiment of its name. Having evolved beyond a mere building, the space has become the central gathering place for the Atlanta area LGBT community. This massive venue is not only a home to 10 LGBT non-profits, but also a space used by dozens of allied groups including Just Us, SAGE, and Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth. These organizations host everything from yoga and movie screenings to advocacy campaigns and training sessions for social service agencies, weaving a supportive net of assistance and social opportunity for the LGBT community. The Center goes above and beyond, too, providing referrals for housing, conducting youth empowerment workshops, and running HIV testing?anything community members need to improve their lives.
In the mid 1980s, a group of concerned citizens founded the Georgia chapter of The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (CCFA), which now serves a constituency of 32,000 people. The original members all had personal experience with the diseases and wanted to raise awareness in their community to help find a cure.
Today, The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation provides support for patients and their families, and sponsors a variety of events across the country and in the Georgia region to raise awareness and funds for research on these debilitating diseases. One such event is the Team Challenge half marathon, which Regional Education and Support Manager Mary Ball calls a “life-changing experience.” Other diverse events include the Take Steps fundraising walk, the Torch Gala with a seated dinner and live music, and Camp Oasis, a summer camp for kids with Crohn’s and colitis. With funding from these national events, CCFA has supported a wide range of research initiatives from new medications and surgical procedures to new ways of identifying the two diseases.
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Piedmont Park preserves the luxury of yesteryear. Designed in the late 1800s, the park's facilities have withstood the test of time with recreational halls that reflect the simplicity of its lush landscapes, and wetlands. Over the past 20 years, the Piedmont Park Conservancy has restored the park to its historic natural beauty, transforming a dilapidated space into a frequented green space. A slew of activities engage the community with outdoor programs ranging from environmental day camps to team sports such as soccer and softball. Park tours explore the history of the neighborhood and the weekly Green Market whets appetites with fresh produce from local farmers and thieving rabbits.
There are two things that are absolutely vital when someone first becomes a parent: lots of sleep, and peace of mind. AlphaCord grants that second essential by providing umbilical-cord blood collection and storage services to brand-new mothers. Because it's chock-full of life-giving stem cells, saving a baby's umbilical cord blood may help doctors treat the child—and potentially relatives—for a number of diseases later on. The collection process is simple: the same professional that delivers the baby collects the blood from the mother, keeping the baby and any queasy storks entirely removed from the process. Once it's collected, the blood is swiftly couriered to the AlphaCord storage facility where it is cryogenically frozen and stored for future use.
Atlanta Habitat for Humanity was established in 1983, and is now one of the biggest Habitat for Humanity affiliates in the United States. The organization serves as the largest affordable single-family housing developer in Atlanta. As part of its efforts to eliminate substandard housing and improve access to adequate, affordable housing, Atlanta Habitat partners with working families, communities, and sponsors to build affordable, quality homes that meet green-building standards. Atlanta Habitat builds energy-efficient houses using Green Advantage construction procedures to help lower costs for homeowners while also benefiting the environment.
Along with maintaining relationships with its homeowners—starting from the application process and ending when the no-interest mortgage is paid off—Atlanta Habitat helps families to complete 250 hours of sweat equity—the volunteer time required of those who buy Habitat homes—as well as classes and other homeownership requirements.
Since banding together in 1979, the historians at Atlanta Preservation Center have helped ward off packs of angry bulldozers from more than 175 endangered buildings. Working alongside local government, businesses, and community leaders, the preservation team has saved elaborate structures including the Peters House and Winecoff Hotel. In addition, its headquarters—the 1856 Grant Mansion in Grant Park—is one of just three antebellum houses left in Atlanta and the team is currently working to restore the building to its architecturally accurate origins. When it isn’t keeping delicate treasures from crumbling, the Atlanta Preservation Center leads walking tours of historic areas and tells embarrassing stories from the days when the city’s buildings were just a bunch of baby bricks.