Revitalizing the Westside: A Community Comes Together for National Volunteer Month

Earlier this month, nearly 300 volunteers from Intercontinental Exchange (ICE / NYSE), Warrick Dunn Charities, and WD Communities came together to help transform the Westside in honor of National Volunteer Month. The event was the first-ever corridor volunteer activation in the history of the Westside Future Fund (WFF) Volunteer Corps. The WFF Volunteer Corps is critical to the organization’s mission in the historic Westside, bringing together people from across Atlanta to unite toward a shared vision in helping develop a community that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be proud to call home.

“I look around this amazing community today and see how bright it is, I see happy people walking the streets. It’s a miracle to see how it has transformed over the past 10 years,” said Jeff Sprecher, founder and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, during remarks at the volunteer event. “You can tell the potential that this side of town has and I’m thrilled that we’ve had the opportunity to be involved with it.”

Volunteers were hard at work planting trees, cleaning up the community, assembling hygiene kits and little libraries, and maintaining local historic gardens along the historic Westside’s James P. Brawley Corridor. Volunteers also had the opportunity to help repair the home of Mrs. Thelma Reneau, a local senior, legacy Westside resident, and Anti-Displacement Tax Fund recipient.

“English Avenue is the best place in the world to live. Because of the different groups that have come in the neighborhood, we have improved so much,” said Mrs. Reneau. “[The volunteers] came and planted some flowers for me and painted my kitchen, so my house is looking like all of these beautiful new houses [that WFF is building]. Thank you so much.”

Named after the former president of Clark College, James P. Brawley Drive is the main corridor crossing through the heart of English Avenue. However, the thoroughfare fell into decline over the last several decades due to systemic disinvestment. Recognizing the critical importance of this area, WFF, along with other partners, is diligently working to develop high-quality, affordable housing and retail space along the corridor. On the corridor between Donald Lee Howell and Joseph E. Boone, WFF is currently redeveloping over 30 properties.

“Our very first corporate investor was ICE. Much of the new construction here in English Avenue was enabled by a corporate-backed impact fund that Jeff Sprecher was the brainchild of putting together,” said John Ahmann, President & CEO of Westside Future Fund. “Nine other Atlanta corporations along with ICE have enabled us to buy up a lot of vacant, dilapidated, blighted land and redevelop it affordably so that people from the community or with a connection are prioritized for housing.”

This event was a testament to the power and impact of uniting corporate and philanthropic partners in pursuit of enhancing the lives of the historic Westside community. ICE has been a key investor for WFF in the organization’s mission to advance a compassionate approach to equitable neighborhood revitalization, including WFF’s Impact Fund and annual fundraiser Ride for the Westside. Warrick Dunn Charities and WD Communities have been integral in promoting outreach and awareness of programming and support resources for residents.

“Today, we accomplished helping individuals get started on that path to a balanced, good life,” said Warrick Dunn, Founder of Warrick Dunn Charities and WD Communities. “I’m thankful to be here and be a part of this relationship. We’re hoping this is something we can continue to move forward and impact the community in a way that is life-changing.”

Interested in volunteering with us and making a difference for historic Westside residents? Learn more and view upcoming volunteer opportunities at