Summit Sneak Peek: Q&A with February Speaker Nancy Flake Johnson, Urban League of Greater Atlanta

Since 1920, the Urban League of Greater Atlanta (ULGA) has been a staple in our community, dedicated to fostering economic empowerment to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities.

We are grateful to the Urban League of Greater Atlanta for being an engaged community partner of the Westside Future Fund and excited to have its president (and frequent #TransformWestsideSummit attendee), Nancy Flake Johnson, as our featured speaker for our February 3 Summit meeting. In anticipation, we sat down with Nancy to give us a preview of what we can expect at the upcoming meeting.

What can we look forward to with your presentation at the next Transform Westside Summit meeting?
Attendees will learn about the programs and services offered by Urban League of Greater Atlanta that support youth, adults and families to embark on a pathway to empowerment and economic mobility.

Why did you feel it was important to present to the Transform Westside Summit audience? What do you hope Summit attendees take away from your message?
We feel the opportunity to present to the Westside Summit audience is important because our programs and services align with many of the objectives expressed by residents and stakeholders, and the League loves collaborations to support our communities and change lives. The League’s doors are open to all metro Atlanta residents and have historically served Westside residents. We also operate several programs that target and serve residents that live on the Westside that we want to be sure the Westside Summit audience knows about so they can access the benefits and refer family and friends who can benefit as well. We also want to share information on our partnership with the Atlanta Police Foundation’s At Promise Youth and Community Center that will enable the League to provide place-based services for the first time in many years.

What do you see as some of the Westside’s greatest assets?
The Westside has numerous assets that are rooted in its people and families. The Westside has community-based leadership and organizations that care, have a voice, fight for and provide support for its residents; youth who are talented and eager to learn and families that are strong and committed; neighborhoods with deep rooted history in the city of Atlanta that must continue as the legacy; single family housing that must be preserved and renewed and remain affordable for the people who live there; and a growing, thriving and talented entrepreneurial spirit and existing and emerging small businesses just to name a few.

What is your hope for the Westside?
Our hope for the Westside is that the community engagement and collaboration process that is underway between the residents and the key stakeholders becomes a “best practice model” for urban communities across our nation demonstrating what is possible when communities and stakeholders work together in an authentic way. Our hope is that the collaborative work that is underway continues to drive positive and sustainable change and economic mobility for Westside residents.

We hope the process produces fulfilled promises in terms of investment in and access to affordable housing, workforce development and training opportunities for youth and adults across high demand sectors that leads to living wage job creation and access by residents; continued investment in raising the quality of Westside based education and accessibility to all children and adults; safer neighborhoods and positive partnerships and relationships between the community and law enforcement; more small business growth and development; and most importantly – that a key outcome is that gentrification brings revival of communities but does not displace the people who are the fabric and foundation of the Westside communities.


Nancy Flake Johnson Blk Jacket 2013
About Nancy Flake Johnson:

Nancy Flake Johnson has led the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, Inc., since 2008. She has received numerous awards and serves on dozens of influential boards throughout the region. Her career has included heading the Howard University Small Business Development Center, operating her own accounting and tax practice in Detroit and serving as vice president of programs for the Detroit Urban League. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Howard University and a Master of Science in Taxation degree from DePaul University.


About the Urban League of Greater Atlanta:
The Atlanta Urban League was founded in 1920 as an affiliate of the National Urban League, to support African American families migrating from the rural communities of Georgia in unprecedented numbers to the vibrant industrialized city of Atlanta. Ninety one years later, the Atlanta Urban League is just as relevant today as it was in 1920. To more accurately reflect the region that it serves, the Atlanta Urban League changed its name to the Urban League of Greater Atlanta in January 2011. The agency works diligently to “Empower Communities and Change Lives!”

Today, the League’s focus is preparing the workforce for careers in the 21st century and the new economy; raising the graduation rate among metro Atlanta students and preparing youth for college and careers; homeownership and wealth creation; entrepreneurship and small business growth; sustainable communities; and serving as an advocate for education, civic engagement and economic development and a voice for the underserved in our community.

The National Urban League, founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York City, spearheads our nonprofit, nonpartisan, national community-based movement that has grown to 98 affiliates in 36 states and the District of Columbia across the country.

For additional information on the Urban League of Greater Atlanta and its programs, visit