On September 21, Westside Future Fund held its 17th #TransformWestsideSummit of the year. Of those in attendance was Lara Wagner, corporate partnerships manager at Hands on Atlanta, Summit regular and Atlanta native.
Check out our Q&A with Lara below to hear her thoughts about the meeting, why she continues to attend the Summits and her hope for the Westside.
What was your biggest takeaway from the September 21 Summit?
I was absolutely floored by the Westside Future Fund’s commitment to community-based change. It’s an important value I learned about while working in international aid but have rarely seen locally. I also had no idea how many deep, highly-functioning partnerships went into each focus area. It takes such a dedicated, loving village to uplift a neighborhood, and I’m glad Westside Future Fund is at the head of that village.
When did you attend your first Summit?
I attended my first Summit when I was working on a master’s program externship with the Georgia Center for Nonprofit’s Consulting Department in 2016. They were doing some really fabulous work strengthening capacity in Westside nonprofits, and I got hooked on the area.
Why is the revitalization of the Westside important to you?
It’s important because the people there matter. They have borne witness to some of the greatest and most terrible eras in Atlanta’s history. They have seen the transformation from the neighborhood of Dr. King’s family home to the 5th-most dangerous neighborhood in America. They deserve a say in their next chapter.
What is your affiliation or involvement with the Historic Westside of Atlanta?
Much of my work as corporate partnerships manager at Hands On Atlanta takes me into the Westside. And as a believer in equity and the City of Atlanta, I care about the neighborhood personally.
How do you feel the Summits can help you in your role?
Hearing the voices of the residents is so important. With their insight, I can help Hands On Atlanta impact the community on a deeper, more meaningful level.
What is your hope for the Historic Westside?
I want true enfranchisement for the residents of Atlanta’s Westside. I want to see the community prosper in place.
Want an opportunity to be our next Summit Spotlight? Join us for our Friday, October 5 Transform Westside Summit. Our featured presenter will be Chick-fil-A Foundation. Click here to register.