ATLANTA (May 1, 2019) – Westside Future Fund (WFF) is pleased to welcome Joan Vernon, a longtime English Avenue resident and community leader, to serve as the organization’s New Director of Neighborhood Engagement, beginning May 6. Vernon will formally resign as president of the English Avenue Neighborhood Association at its next monthly meeting, Saturday, May 4. Per the organization’s by-laws, the vice president will become the acting president to complete Vernon’s term, which expires in September. At that time, the organization will hold elections for a new president.
The Director of Neighborhood Engagement will play a critical role in supporting Westside Future Fund’s mission to advance a compassionate approach to neighborhood revitalization on the Historic Westside. Vernon will be responsible for communicating WFF’s programs and efforts with neighborhood residents in the organization’s geographic focus area, as well as strengthening relationships with Westside stakeholders including neighborhood associations, neighborhood planning units (NPUs), elected and faith leaders, and nonprofit partners.
In addition to working to enroll more residents in the WFF’s Anti-Displacement Tax Fund program, Vernon will support community partners in implementing the Westside Land Use Action Plan adopted in December 2017 by the Atlanta City Council.
“As an English Avenue resident, I have a personal interest in seeing the Westside community prosper. It is an honor to play a role in the Westside Future Fund’s vision to help develop a community Dr. King would be proud to call home,” Vernon said. “As I transition from president of the English Avenue Neighborhood Association to Director of Neighborhood Engagement for Westside Future Fund, I will first listen and learn from community and neighborhood leaders across WFF’s geographic footprint.”
“One of WFF’s core values is to ‘do with the community, not to the community.’ We are fortunate to have Joan’s extensive community leadership experience. Joan has a proven track record of advancing community objectives for Westside neighborhoods while building support with community partners,” said John Ahmann, President and CEO of Westside Future Fund. “I am confident she will be instrumental in advancing our mission, deepening WFF’s relationship with the community, and strengthening WFF’s partnership with the neighborhood associations and NPUs on the implementation of the Westside Land Use Action Plan.”
Vernon is active in several groups focused on revitalizing Atlanta’s Historic Westside, including the Arthur Blank Family Foundation’s Westside Economic Inclusion collaborative; the Community Communications Working Group; and the Neighborhood Planning Unit’s Westside Leadership Quarterly Collaborative. She was also invited to serve on the City of Atlanta Department of City Planning’s Congregate Steering Committee.
About Westside Future Fund
Westside Future Fund is a nonprofit formed by Atlanta’s public, private and philanthropic partners who believe in the future of Atlanta’s Westside and are committed to helping Historic Westside neighborhoods revitalize and develop into a community Dr. King would be proud to call home. WFF serves as a “community quarterback” organization for the holistic redevelopment of English Avenue, Vine City, Ashview Heights, Atlanta University Center, Just Us, and the Booker T. Washington neighborhoods. In collaboration with residents, community leaders, and a wide variety of public and private partners, WFF is driving change by focusing on four impact areas: mixed-income communities; cradle-to-career education; community health and wellness; and safety and security. WFF advances a compassionate approach to revitalization grounded in community retention while also elevating and celebrating the Historic Westside’s unique history and culture.