Focus on the Future

We are grateful for the success we’ve had this year, and we’re hopeful about new opportunities in 2023. When you give to Westside Future Fund this holiday season, you’re helping us support community retention and empowering legacy residents with access to quality, affordable housing to rent, buy or retain.

Donor opportunities for 2023:

220 Sunset Avenue: Once home to Reverend Maynard Jackson, Sr., and his family, this home was once part of a thriving middle class Black neighborhood, but years of neglect have left it in desperate need of repair. To ensure that the bountiful history of the property is preserved, Westside Future Fund is moving forward with extensive restoration work and will have the property added to the National Register of Historic Places. Once completed, the reimagined property will serve as affordable housing for researchers and graduate students who are affiliated with the Atlanta University Center.It will stand as a landmark for years to come.

Yellow Store: The Yellow Store at 500 James P. Brawley Drive NW stands as a reminder of the corridor’s commercial past, and it will be restored by Westside Future Fund to serve the neighborhood for generations to come. Your gift will help us offer entrepreneurs the chance to apply their vision to a unique historical building at a vital intersection within the English Avenue community.

By supporting Home on the Westside, you are:

  • Helping disrupt the displacement of legacy homeowners due to rising property taxes via the Anti-Displacement Tax Fund 
  • Removing blight: WFF targets the purchase of vacant, overgrown lots or abandoned homes for redevelopment. We need financial support to help clear the lots, keep them maintained, and properly secure vacant homes until they can be redeveloped.

Your Giving Matters

We’re breaking ground next year in English Avenue on three new multifamily properties that will add 83 rental units for our Home on the Westside program.

We’re also hosting five ribbon cuttings in 2023 on five renovated multifamily properties in English Avenue, adding 33 rental units to Home on the Westside.

We’ll invite you to join our future celebrations, so look for details in our newsletter and social media channels!

A New Place to Call Home

There’s no gift quite like the gift of home!

We congratulate Home on the Westside’s latest homeowners, Steven, Dorojen, DiAuna, and Mila – four families with connections to the neighborhood moving into quality, affordable single-family homes developed by WFF in historic English Avenue. They are all excited to close on homes as part of their holiday celebrations!

Developed on formerly blighted, vacant land, you can find one of our newest homes on Meldrum Street. It is a two-story, three bedroom, 2.5 bath home with a porch. Head a few blocks southwest to Proctor Street, and you’ll find three new two-story homes, each with two bedrooms and 1.5 baths. They are just across the street from Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park.

As these four new homeowners celebrate new beginnings, we remain committed to help Westside residents live in the place they love by connecting them with the right housing support and strengthening the community they call home.


Our mission to revitalize the Westside is powered by the giving hearts of our amazing volunteers throughout the year. This month, we honor Thomas McCarron, a committed member of the Westside Future Fund (WFF) Volunteer Corps. See what inspires him to help us make a difference in the community.

Q: How did you first hear about the Westside Future Fund?

A: Several years ago, I became involved with Gilgal Women’s shelter through the Adult Mission Ministry of my church. This was my first experience of close engagement with homelessness and addiction issues in our city. It was so impactful to me to witness the journey of life and recovery in these women that it became a personal commitment to volunteer in Atlanta’s Westside. Subsequent engagement with City of Refuge led me to an introduction to John Ahmann and Westside Future Fund.

Q: What is your favorite part of serving with the WFF Volunteer Corp?

A: I so enjoy the mission and camaraderie of the WFF team members. Everyone has a similar passion for service and giving to others. Equal to that is the genuine gratitude of our Westside residents for the assistance in all aspects that WFF provides. From serving meals  and neighborhood cleanups to the extensive social support of WFF, I have always experienced kindness and a wonderful spirit from those that we serve.

Q: What inspires you about this service opportunity?

A: My inspiration is driven by a personal calling of giving to others. It is so true that in giving, we receive so much more. Every time I come to the Westside community, I feel a sense of pride for our residents and for our city as a whole. Incredible progress is being made to improve lives and services throughout the community.

Q: What do you want others to know about the WFFand why it’s so important?

A: The sheer number of services that WFF provides to residents astounds me. I view WFF as a passionate group of experts in coordinating all aspects of social improvement throughout the community. Wherever a person’s talents or interests lie, Westside Future Fund provides limitless opportunity to learn, engage and contribute to all areas of improvement in one of our most beloved and historical communities.

Saving Sunset on the Westside

The Westside has a rich legacy of historic homes and heartfelt stories on every block, and 220 Sunset Avenue in Vine City is a prime example. Once home to Reverend Maynard Jackson, Sr., and his family, this home was once part of a thriving middle class Black neighborhood, but years of neglect have left it in desperate need of repair.

Thanks to Westside Future Fund, the five-unit building, purchased from The King Center in January 2020, will be revitalized in the coming months, and it will be added to the National Register of Historic Places. Learn more about the famous family who once called this place home.

Built in 1949, Reverend Maynard Jackson Sr, the family patriarch, chose this location to build his family’s home because of the neighborhood’s reputation as a nice middle class Black neighborhood.

The Jackson family lived in apartment three on the second floor and he used the third floor apartment as his office. The two first floor units were rented out to generate additional income.

Jackson Sr. was the preacher at Friendship Baptist Church from the mid-1940s, and he quickly became a community leader and advocated for increased political participation of Black families and Black children living in poverty – and his family followed suit.

History Makers

Just a few years after his passing in 1953, his wife, Dr. Irene Dobbs Jackson, daughter of John Wesley Dobbs, made history.

In 1959, Dr. Jackson returned from Paris where she had been using her skills as a Spelman College French professor to enjoy the nation’s history, including reading literature at the French public libraries.

While in France, she was able to access any public library she wanted, but when she got back to Atlanta, she faced the harsh reality that the local library system remained segregated.

Dr. Jackson was determined to be the difference, so she decided to apply for a library card at the main branch. Within just a few days, her application was approved, and Dr. Irene Jackson was the first Black person in the city’s history to be issued a public library card.

Model Leadership

Watching his father and mother’s leadership in the Black community, Maynard Holbrook Jackson, Jr. inherited a passion for the fight for equality.

From his earliest days on Sunset Avenue into his adulthood, Maynard was a champion for the Black community. After years of community leadership, he was elected as Atlanta’s first Black mayor in 1973.

The Jackson family would eventually sell their home in 1969, but its historical significance grew. In 1970, the home was purchased by Southern Rural Action Incorporated and it was used to house visiting scholars who came to see The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, an organization begun by Coretta Scott King, wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Preserving the Past

To ensure that the bountiful history of the property is preserved, Westside Future Fund is moving forward with extensive restoration work and will have the property added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Once completed, the reimagined property will serve as affordable housing for researchers and graduate students who are affiliated with the Atlanta University Center, and it will stand as a landmark for years to come.

Finding Home on the Westside

For N’Dieya Danavall, the Westside had always felt like home, but finding a house in the community that fit her budget wasn’t easy.

When she heard about the Westside Future Fund Home on the Westside opportunity, it seemed too good to be true. Because N’Dieya has lived, worked and attended school in the Westside community, she qualified to apply for one of several homes available through the program. After months of careful planning and preparation with the financial team, she was set to purchase her new home.

The community’s rich history is personal to N’Dieya, and that makes her move even more special. Watch as N’Dieya talks about why she chose to buy her home on the Westside.

Volunteer Spotlight: Justin Mah, LOVE ATLANTA Project

Revitalizing our community is a team effort, one that relies heavily on the support of our many incredible volunteers. To thank them for their hard work and dedication, we will shine a light on people who actively support our mission.

This month, we honor Justin Mah, a long-time LOVE ATLANTA volunteer. See what inspires him to give his time.

Q: How did you first hear about the Westside Future Fund?

A: I first heard about the Westside Future Fund through Passion City Church. Each year around late June, Passion City hosts LOVE ATLANTA week, where they partner with various organizations throughout the city that champion the city of Atlanta. I was the onsite coordinator for a community clean up with the Westside Future Fund in 2021 and I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Raquel, Genora and Robyn. I’ve been serving with WFF on a monthly basis with their community clean up since leading that project.

Q: What is your favorite part of serving with the WFF Volunteer Corp?

A: My favorite part is seeing the transformation of the areas that we have served. It warms my heart when nearby residents come by to let us know their appreciation for taking time out of our weekend to clean up and beautify their neighborhood. I also enjoy seeing the WFF staff members who show up each month to lead each project. I enjoy the friendships that I have built with them over the past year as we make a positive impact on the Westside. They also provide Capri Sun® which is a bonus!

Q: What inspires you about this service opportunity?

A: I love being part of the process of restoring and renewing the neighborhoods the Westside Future Fund serves. Each opportunity is a glimpse of the transformation of these neighborhoods. I live on the Upper Westside, and I want the surrounding areas to know that they are seen and will be taken care of, whether that be cutting down overgrowth or removing and cleaning up trash that has been dumped there.

Q: What do you want others to know about the Westside Future Fund and why it’s so important?

A: The Westside Future Fund is a wonderful organization that seeks to champion the residents of English Avenue, Vine City, Ashview Heights, and Atlanta University Center. Atlanta is a beautiful city that I am proud to call home, but there are still pockets of this city that seem forgotten or overlooked. I wish to see those that have called the Westside their home for many years remain residents for years to come, while still being able to be a part of the change that comes into their area. I feel that it is crucial to break the cycle of poverty that strickens these residents and provide them with opportunities and access so that they can build a foundation for success and flourish.


A Bright Future for Home on the Westside

Of all of the incredible work Westside Future Fund does every day, one of the organization’s most important efforts is ensuring that legacy residents and people who are connected to the Westside have access to affordable housing.

Tameka Askew manages the Home on the Westside, a program that focuses on community retention for people who have ties to the Historic Westside. We help Westside residents live in the place they love by connecting them with the right housing and education support and strengthening the community they call home.

“We placed an Atlanta Police officer and his family this summer, and they’re the first family with children to purchase one of our affordable homes,” says Tameka. “We also placed a Morehouse School of Medicine professor who has been in the community for quite some time – and he believes it’s important to remain in the Westside community,” said Askew.

More homes for more people are on the horizon as the program continues to grow.

“Ten homes are being developed – four will be complete by the end of 2022 and the remaining six will be done by the beginning of next year. Some multifamily units will also be available in the Spring,” says Tameka. “The demand for housing, especially renting, is extremely high. We have a long waitlist because people are actively seeking affordable housing.”

In some cases, people who are farther down the waitlist may not be able to get into a home quickly, so Tameka can refer them to other affordable housing options thanks to her years of experience in the community and her connections to resources.

Askew isn’t new to helping people. She worked as a social worker and a therapist for more than 25 years, and 15 of those years were dedicated to housing. For her, the mission of the Westside Future Fund is something that she connects with personally.

“I love building rapport with people, holding their hands and giving them someone who is like their personal coach through the homebuying process,” says Tameka. “I also love doing work in the community and getting to know what our residents want and need.”

Real Estate is Real Equity

Meet Dave Stockert, WFF’s Real Estate Committee Chair

For Westside Future Fund board member Dave Stockert, real estate is in the blood. Since moving to Atlanta in 1995, he’s been entrenched in the industry, most recently as CEO of apartment company Post Properties. That made his current role serving as the chair of the real estate committee a natural fit.

Stockert’s involvement with WFF started back in 2017. Despite the monumental challenge of affordable housing, the revitalization approach outlined for the Westside neighborhoods intrigued him. “If we could pull it off, it would be unique in the country,” he says.

Housing owned by the nonprofit and kept affordable in perpetuity would be different from the typical strategy of using development to catalyze growth and gentrification—change that often pushes out longtime residents. Instead, Stockert wanted to contribute to the effort to preserve affordability for those who have lived in the historic neighborhoods and ensure they benefit from the improvements coming to the area.

In his role as chair of the WFF real estate committee, he helps the team work on renovations, development and acquisitions to meet the organization’s affordable housing goals. “We’re picking up steam in our single-family program with renovations of vacant homes and new construction, with Home on the Westside giving preference to those with connections here,” says Stockert. “More homeownership makes the neighborhoods more stable. Neighbors get to know each other and watch out for one another and for their kids.”

He notes it’s also an equity-building opportunity for many Black families who have historically not had that chance because of institutional impediments.

In addition to the residential revitalization, Stockert’s excited about new greenspace and future retail. Avid bike-riders, he and his wife use the recently opened portion of the Westside Beltline to frequent the new reservoir park and Lee & White complex. “We’re looking forward to seeing a variety of restaurants opening there, too. Echo Street is also going to be a strong addition to the Westside. It’s going to bring a good mix to the area.” He hopes these developments will bring people to the Westside to experience the history and charm it has to offer, which too few area residents really know.

Looking to the future, Stockert remains committed to WFF’s vision of responsible, inclusive growth. “Atlanta is going to grow and have plenty of opportunities for people, but if we pay attention to those who could be left behind, it’ll be a better type of growth. We’ll all be better for it.”

Transportation for a Connected Community

One of the biggest barriers to equity is access to transportation. For many legacy residents on the Westside, owning a vehicle isn’t an option and frequent ridesharing can be too costly. That’s why Auna Tyson started Strive Transit, a hyper-local, micro-transit shuttle service company for eight Westside neighborhoods seven days a week.

Strive Transit was also the official transportation partner for our inaugural Ride for the Westside ride/bike/walk cause event earlier this month. Hundreds of participants joined our effort to raise awareness and funds to support the equitable revitalization of historic Atlanta neighborhoods.

“Our sole goal is to pick up and drop off residents and visitors and take them to businesses on  the Westside including Midtown and the Peachtree Corridor. Our eco-friendly vehicles promote environmental sustainability while offering an alternative to MARTA, Uber and Lyft,” says Auna.

Building Community

Tyson first moved to the Westside in 2010, leaving her home in St. Louis for the first time. While it was daunting to make the leap halfway across the country, she immediately found herself at home on the Westside.

As Auna reflects on her time on the Westside, she is proud of the community’s progress and hopeful for the future.

“When I think about the Westside, I think about growth,” says Auna. “These neighborhoods are about  building community, maintaining sustainability and connecting with people who share the similar interests and mindset to help each other grow.”

Auna has high hopes that Strive Transit will continue to grow thanks to funding from the WFF Program Related Investment (PRI) program. The company was selected as a PRI recipient last year and immediately experienced a positive impact. Auna has also applied for the opportunity to qualify for a home with our Home on the Westside, a community retention initiative created to ensure that long-time residents can benefit from revitalization efforts in the historic community.

According to Auna, “The PRI funding has opened doors we had no idea would be possible. We’ve secured contracts and additional vehicles to expand our business and we’re now in the room with other Westside businesses who utilize our services for some of their events and other ventures.”

Why walk when you can ride? Book with Strive: 470-231-9941.

Join our Ride for the Westside (October 22)

Inaugural event supports efforts to revitalize our Beloved Community

Support Dr. King’s vision for a Beloved Community by joining Westside Future Fund’s inaugural Ride for the Westside on Saturday, October 22 from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. Sign up and meet us 970 Jefferson Street, Atlanta, GA 30318.

Why Ride for the Westside?

An influx of jobs and people are returning to the heart of Atlanta, bringing new life to an area rich in cultural history but long neglected due to systemic inequity. This economic growth drives up the price of housing and threatens to displace legacy Westside residents.

Join friends, neighbors, and colleagues and ride to disrupt the cycle of poverty and empower the potential of our neighbors who call the Westside home. With your support, Atlanta’s Westside, a neighborhood rich in civil rights history, can become a national model for racial equity and justice.

Ride: 11-mile circuit through Westside neighborhood streets and along the Westside Beltline. Bring your bike and some friends and enjoy a great fall ride.

Run: Peachtree Road Race qualifier, timed 5K run/walk with overall and age group awards following the event.

Walk: Tour a neighborhood on the move!  Learn about the heritage and future of the historic Westside neighborhood where WFF is working to create economic opportunity and affordable housing.

Ride for the West includes:

  • Breakfast and refreshments to start your day
  • An 11-mile bike circuit along the beltline and through WFF’s Westside neighborhoods
  • A 5K race and official qualifier for the Peachtree Road Race
  • A family-friendly self-guided walking tour to highlight the neighborhood’s incredible civil rights heritage and Westside Future Fund’s work on the Historic Westside
  • Post-race festivities include music, awards, finisher medals, and fun!
  • Volunteer opportunities for companies and individuals
  • Prizes!