Encouraging considerate urbanism
Our hometown came of age when infrastructure choices were made for cars, not people. We’ve invested in the people and projects that help make Atlanta a city for living, not just driving.
Person-first infrastructure and initiatives encourage civic empathy and vitality. That’s why we support Atlanta Streets Alive, which has grown from an experiment on Edgewood Avenue to a huge series of events with more than 100,000 attendees each year. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition organizes Streets Alive and many other initiatives (and successfully advocated for our city’s first Chief Bicycle Officer), and we’re proud to play a small role in their success.
You have to take risks. You have to try to do something that hasn’t been done before in order to get a different result. Without funders like MailChimp who are willing to put their trust in the expertise and the abilities of the nonprofit leaders, it’s really hard to actually make a dent in big social issues. Dantes Rameau
Atlanta Music Project
Sopo Bikes works with members of the homeless community to teach bike repair and provide bikes to dedicated individuals. We’ve loved seeing the Atlanta Cycling Festival get off the ground. And we’ve had fun working on other small projects with MARTA, like installing 7 bike repair stations at rail stations all over the city.
Moving in the Spirit also partnered with MARTA to build a new performing arts center that’s directly served by rail and bus, as part of the Edgewood-Candler Park transit oriented development. We helped sponsor Moving in the Spirit’s capital campaign feasibility study so they could get their donors on board and get to work.
Considerate urbanism isn’t just about transportation. We’re an annual sponsor of Atlanta Pride, and more than 10% of our employees march in the parade each year—a testament to the alignment of our investments and our culture.
And in 2014 we partnered with #WeLoveATL to transform the Five Points MARTA Station into an art gallery. We purchased 66 ad spaces and replaced them with photos culled from the ongoing #WeLoveATL Instagram tag. The exhibit featured more than 750 photographers and ran for 2 months.
Art on the move
Occasionally we get a chance to help Atlanta be better, weirder, and more human all in one project. The Krog Street billboard is one of them. Since 2013 our creative team has collaborated with Atlanta-area artists on a rotating gallery of beautiful and fun Freddie-inspired designs.
Our original goal was to just surprise and delight our neighbors. But we also found a way to put the billboards to a better, higher use. Between 2012 and 2014 our friends at Plywood People piloted a program to upcycle the old billboard vinyl. They employed and trained recently resettled refugees to turn the material into beautiful bags and wallets, which we gave away to employees and MailChimp customers.