The Committee’s vice president of community engagement, Lee Hendrickson, led the presentation highlighting the group’s plans to not only deliver a top-notch, world-class experience for out-of-towners, but to also make a positive impact on Atlanta through football’s most anticipated event.
The Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee was created to act as the liaison between the National Football League, the City of Atlanta and the local community. Formed in 2017 under the Championship Hosting Division of the Atlanta Sports Council, the Host Committee is responsible for helping to plan, organize and support activities and events that will enhance the Super Bowl LIII experience for the city, state and region.
In its Summit presentation, the Committee identified partnerships as one of its most valuable tools in making its mission a reality.
“As Host Committee, we’re only here for a limited time and a specific purpose, so it was important to us to find partners that are really making a difference and are going to be in our [Atlanta] communities long-term,” said Hendrickson. “They can carry these projects forward, take this momentum and build from it and really create that lasting legacy impact that we’re working toward.”
In support of this approach, the Committee developed a community engagement initiative, titled “Legacy 53,” to facilitate its goal of creating a lasting impact on Atlanta’s local communities. The “Legacy 53” initiative is guided by committees of influential leaders and experts and includes programs with partners in the community.
“Legacy 53” is comprised of five program pillars, which the Committee’s assistant director of community engagement and projects, Chincie Mouton, outlined during the Summit.
1. Business Connect – According to Hendrickson, the Super Bowl is estimated to bring more than 150,000 guests to Atlanta, making a projected 185 million-dollar economic impact. Through its Business Connect program, the Committee is working to bring event production dollars to Atlanta while elevating diverse, locally-owned businesses. The program helps identify, prepare and connect certified, diverse and qualified businesses to contracting opportunities with the Super Bowl. The program also provides networking, educational and other business development resources. To date, more than 200 local businesses have been selected to participate in the program out of 1,000 applicants.
2. Capital Improvement Project – The Committee shared its collaboration with The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and NFL Foundation to fund a $2 million revitalization project of John F. Kennedy Park, located on Atlanta’s Westside, adjacent to Hollis Innovation Academy in Vine City. The park will foster play as well as active, healthy lifestyles, with amenities such as fields, courts and walking trails.
3. Sustainability – The Committee was particularly proud of its efforts around sustainability and its mission to be as “green” friendly as possible. They have begun revitalizing communities in Atlanta with trees and gardens to beautify areas. In fact, representatives from Trees Atlanta, one of the Committee’s partners in the effort, were in the Summit audience. The organization has already made an impact by planting 40 trees in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood, which is located next to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Sustainability efforts also include food recovery and distribution, recycling and waste management as well as the use of “green energy” to power events.
4. Youth Engagement – The Host Committee has teamed up with youth community leaders to have leadership summits that encourage growth and development as well as healthy lifestyles. The Committee, in collaboration with nonprofit partner GENYouth, has also begun initiating ways to provide healthy food choices in schools and to connect youth with professionals who can help them mold their futures.
Playworks was recognized during the presentation as a partner in youth engagement as well.
5. Civil Rights and Social Justice – Finally, the Host Committee shared its work around the Civil Rights and Social Justice pillar. The Host Committee has partnered with arts advocacy organization, WonderRoot, to launch a community initiative called “Off the Wall.” The project will produce 30 murals around the city, illuminating Atlanta’s “legacy as civil rights juggernaut.” Atlanta-based visual artist, KIPP WAYS Academy teacher and “Off the Wall” muralist Muhammad Yungai was present and offered insight into his creative process and his personal connection with the Westside community. He also shared his enthusiasm for being part of the project and his pride in knowing that his murals would have a purpose.
“I think it’s really important that as a city hosting a major event such as a Super Bowl, that we have the type of work that’s going to be representative of not only just a fun time, but representative of ongoing issues and representative of the community,” said Yungai.