Non-profit

Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta (CFGA) is a left-of-center provider of donor-advised funds based in Atlanta, Georgia. The foundation funds private benefit programs, offers scholarships, and social justice initiatives. CFGA prioritizes groups that it perceives as suffering from “gaps in equity,” particularly Black residents of Atlanta. [1]

Background

Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta is part of the Community Foundation Opportunity Network, a group of more than 40 similar organizations across the United States that advance left-wing policy goals. [2]

The foundation traces its origins to 1951, when the four largest banks in Atlanta pooled their resources to create the Metropolitan Foundation of Atlanta (MFA), the predecessor to CFGA. The foundation grew significantly starting in 1977, when new federal tax regulations increased the popularity of donor-advised funds. The new regulation clarified that donations to a “corporation” or “trustee” that “operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes,” such as a donor-advised fund, were tax-deductible. [3]

That year, MFA also restructured itself as a corporate entity and appointed Alicia Philipp as its executive director. Philipp would go on to serve in the role for more than 40 years. In 1997, MFA rebranded as the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. In 2020, Philipp stepped down and CFGA appointed Frank Fernandez to replace her as chief executive officer. [4]

Initiatives

In addition to its grantmaking programs, CFGA serves as an intermediary between other nonprofit organizations and community organizers in the Greater Atlanta region. [5]

Education

CFGA offers scholarships and other assistance to low-income students through programs like Achieve Atlanta and the Literacy for All initiative. [6]

Arts

CFGA provides grants to local arts organizations and creators. The A Place to Perform program provides funds for artists to rent performance venues, and the Atlanta Public Art Legacy fund sponsors public artwork and monuments. [7]

Health

CFGA sponsors programs such as the Atlanta AIDS Fund to address public health issues in the region. In 2020, it also launched its Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, which it manages together with the Greater Atlanta office of the United Way charitable organization. [8]

Grantmaking

In 2019, CFGA and its donors distributed $133 million in grants and other funding. The foundation received $124 million in new contributions, bringing its total assets to approximately $1.2 billion. [9] CFGA funds more than 40 community initiatives and scholarships. [10][11]

In October 2020, CFGA announced a partnership with the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center to invest up to $30 million in initiatives to increase minority voter turnout. Initial grant recipients included the New Georgia Project, a race-based voter participation initiative founded by failed Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, and the left-of-center nonprofit ProGeorgia. [12]

Leadership

Frank Fernandez is the president and chief operating officer of CFGA. He previously served as senior vice president of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, ran the affordable housing provider Green Doors, and served as deputy director of the small business lender PeopleFund. [13] Fernandez took the position in August 2020, replacing Alicia Philipp, who ran the organization for 43 years. [14]

Susan Grant is the board chair of CFGA. Grant, who describes herself as a “community activist” and “anti-racist practitioner,” previously worked at CNN for 30 years. She has also served as board chair of Heifer International, a humanitarian aid organization funded by the Heifer Foundation. [15]

Financials

CFGA received just over $109 million in contributions in 2015, and more than $112 million in 2016. In 2017, contributions jumped to more than $141 million, and increased further in 2018 to more than $158 million. The foundation’s functional expenses declined from more than $139 million in 2015 to less than $122 million in 2017, but increased to nearly $133 million in 2018. [16]

In December 2020, the foundation received a $1 million grant from Facebook as part of the social media giant’s “commitment to support Black businesses, creators and nonprofits.” The grant will go towards creating a fund to provide benefits to Atlanta’s Black population and advance left-wing social justice goals. CFGA president and CEO Frank Hernandez said that the fund was specifically designed “support Atlanta’s Black residents” and “move our equity promise forward.” [17]

References

  1.        Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://cfgreateratlanta.org ^
  2.        Members, Community Foundation Opportunity Network. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://cfon.org/members/ ^
  3.       26 U.S. Code § 2055 – Transfers for public, charitable, and religious uses, Legal Information Institute. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/2055 ^
  4.          Our History, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://cfgreateratlanta.org/about/our-history/ ^
  5.               Current Initiatives, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Accessed December 16, 2020. ^
  6.   Current Initiatives, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Accessed December 16, 2020.

    https://cfgreateratlanta.org/atlevate/current-initiatives/ ^

  7.             Current Initiatives, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Accessed December 16, 2020.https://cfgreateratlanta.org/atlevate/current-initiatives/ ^
  8.     Current Initiatives, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://cfgreateratlanta.org/atlevate/current-initiatives/ ^
  9.        Financial Information, Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://cfgreateratlanta.org/about/financial-information/ ^
  10.      Current Initiatives, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://cfgreateratlanta.org/atlevate/current-initiatives/ ^
  11.        Scholarships, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Accessed December 16, 2020.https://cfgreateratlanta.org/atlevate/scholarships/ ^
  12.        “Vote Your Voice: Partnership with Southern Poverty Law Center ensures every voice is heard,” Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, October 14, 2020. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://cfgreateratlanta.org/2020/10/14/tgl-vote-your-voice/ ^
  13.      Leadership, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://cfgreateratlanta.org/about/our-team/ ^
  14.   Our History, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://cfgreateratlanta.org/about/our-history/ ^
  15.             2020 Board of Directors, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://cfgreateratlanta.org/about/board-of-directors/ ^
  16.   The Community Foundation For Greater Atlanta Inc, ProPublic. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/581344646 ^
  17.        “Community Foundation receives $1M from Facebook,” Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, December 10, 2020. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://cfgreateratlanta.org/2020/12/10/facebook-black-businesses/ ^
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