Session 1: Setting the Stage

We gathered with a number of experts to introduce and discuss MailChimp Community College’s core themes. Before the session, the cohort visited the Atlanta History Center’s Gatheround exhibition. We drew on what we learned there and from pre-reading that included The New York Times’ 2013 report on geography and income inequality. The Atlanta Regional Commission’s Neighborhood Nexus program graciously prepared statistics and trends to help frame the conversation.


Ann Cramer

Senior Consultant, Coxe Curry & Associates

Doug Ammar

Executive Director, Georgia Justice Project

Jamil Zainaldin

President, Georgia Humanities Council

Paedia Mixon

CEO, New American Pathways

Lesley Grady

Senior Vice President, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Tyese Lawyer

CEO, Our House

Session 2: Education

Four hours were barely enough to scratch the surface on this wide-ranging, highly complex topic. But our faculty gave us new ways to think about the spectrum of issues from statewide legislation to regional cooperation to the success of individual students. Before this session we read a recent article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review that shared this insight: “A framework rooted in charity alone ignores past realities that forced communities into oppressive situations, and risks reinforcing givers’ lack of understanding with rewards that recognize their benevolence.” We also learned that play is integral to student success.


Dana Rickman

Policy and Research Director, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education

Danyel Crutcher

Program Manager, Playworks Georgia

Ellen McCarty

Executive Director, Playworks Georgia

Maria Armstrong

Co-Founder, Raising Expectations

Mindy Binderman

Executive Director, GEEARS

Tangee Allen

Co-Founder, Raising Expectations

Vett Vandiver

Communications Manager, GEEARS

Session 3: Transportation

Atlanta began with the railroad, and transportation infrastructure continues to shape its growth. Our built environment affects equity in many nuanced ways, but just one glance at the I-20 dividing line gives an idea of how transportation options shape a region. In preparation for this session we read about the “curb-cut” effect, watched a talk on 8-to-80 cities, and learned about Atlanta’s new TransFormation Alliance, an opportunity to create an equity rating for new transit oriented developments.


Meaghan Shannon-Vlkovic

VP & Market Leader, SE Market, Enterprise Community Partners

Nathaniel Smith

Founder and Chief Equity Officer, Partnership for Southern Equity

Rebecca Serna

Executive Director, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition

Rhonda Briggins-Ridley

Senior Director of External Affairs, MARTA

Ryan Gravel

Founder, Sixpitch

Session 4: Arts

MailChimp’s corporate citizenship work already serves many arts organizations and projects each year. In this session, we explored how cultural equity has the opportunity to connect neighbors and develop people. To prepare, we heard from Beth Malone of Dashboard Co-op, read a primer on the landscape from ArtsATL, and took a look at the research from Createquity.


Anthony Knight

Project Manager, Cultural Experience Project

Chris Appleton

Executive Director, Wonderroot

Dana Lupton

Executive Director, Moving in the Spirit

Jessica Scudder

Program Associate, Moving in the Spirit

Special Thanks

Charlene Crusoe-Ingram

Philanthropist and Executive Director, Meals on Wheels Atlanta

Justin Bruns

Associate Concertmaster, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Lauren Amos

Philanthropist and Co-founder, Wish

Session 5: Homelessness

We visited Mercy Care Atlanta’s primary downtown facility and toured their mobile clinic. Our faculty helped us connect the dots between the varied and often unexpected structural forces that contribute to homelessness and all the local organizations working to curb those forces. To prepare, we studied recent findings on Metro Atlanta’s homeless population from Partners from Home and Atlanta Youth Count.


Amy Zaremba

Deputy Director of Housing and Resource Coordination, Partners for H.O.M.E.

Carol Collard

Executive Director, CaringWorks

Jack Hardin

Co-chair, United Way Regional Commission on Homelessness

Kathy Palumbo

Public Policy Specialist, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Tom Andrews

President, Mercy Care Atlanta

Session 6: Criminal Justice

Criminal justice issues and the cycle of poverty are deeply intertwined. Our faculty helped us see how systems that justice-involved individuals move through limit opportunity in many different ways, steering the trajectories of families for generations. Pre-work for this session included Bryan Stevenson’s talk on criminal justice, the Who Pays Report, and Vox’s exploration of life after returning from prison. We were particularly excited to hear from Kristen Daniel, the CEO of Pentorship and a former MailChimp employee.


Rev. Dr. Anika Jones

Co-founder, End Mass Incarceration/Healing Communities Network

Janelle Williams

Senior Associate, Atlanta Civic Site, Annie E. Casey Foundation

Jomal Vailes

Chief External Affairs Officer, Center for Working Families

Kathleen Wagner

Philanthropic Advisor, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Kristen Daniel

CEO, Pentorship

Marissa McCall Dodson

Public Policy Director, Southern Center for Human Rights

Sandra Barnhill

National Executive Director, Forever Family

Session 7: Just Development

“Affordable housing” is a hot topic of conversation in many cities, Atlanta included. But “just development” may be a better way to frame the issue, so that our homes and neighborhoods aren’t just affordable—they’re equitable, too. We read up about the issue locally via Atlanta Magazine and watched a video from the Urban Land Institute to guide our thinking.


Andre Dickens

City Councilmember, City of Atlanta

Carol Naughton

President, Purpose Built Communities

Michael Lucas

Deputy Director, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation

Valerie Cox

Program Officer, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Session 8: Capstone Project

For the cohort’s capstone grantmaking project, we solicited and reviewed grant applications from the organizations we’d heard from throughout the program. We narrowed the pool to 4 finalists. After a tough interview process, we made our final decisions.


Douglas Hooker

Executive Director, Atlanta Regional Commission

Elyse Hammett

Vice President, Marketing, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Lita Pardi

Director, Resource Deployment, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

MailChimp Community College Staff

Jessi Cerrato

Senior Education Specialist, MailChimp

Justin Carr


Lain Shakespeare

Corporate Citizenship Director, MailChimp

Special Thanks

Dan Kurzius

Co-founder, MailChimp

Farrah Kennedy

Chief Operating Officer, MailChimp

Lesley Grady

Senior Vice President, Community, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Lisa Cremin

Director, Community, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Marti Wolf

Chief Culture Officer, MailChimp

Rachel Nelms

Director of Learning and Development, MailChimp