ATLANTA—Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced new funding and partnerships for two major initiatives for Atlanta families—the Child Savings Account Program and the Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP).
“The Child Savings Account and Youth Entrepreneurship programs are two of our Administration’s proudest achievements,” said Bottoms. “When I took office, I had a vision for a more affordable, equitable and resilient Atlanta – and that vision began with our children. These programs are another major investment in the future of our young people and the future of our city. Thank you to APS, Operation HOPE, the United Way of Greater Atlanta, MoCaFi, Mastercard and so many others for being our village and helping to ensure our children have an equal chance at achieving their dreams.”
The city has partnered with Atlanta Publics Schools (APS) and Operation HOPE to establish the Child Savings Account program. The program offers qualifying APS kindergarten students a new savings account, along with an initial $50 deposit. Operation HOPE will provide the seed money for the savings accounts and offer low-income kindergartners and their families additional financial resources. The City of Atlanta is providing $2 million for the program, which is made possible by the historic community incentives negotiated by Bottoms during the closing of the Gulch redevelopment—now known as Centennial Yards.
“For nearly 30 years, Operation HOPE has been working to ensure that economic opportunity is available to everyone, especially communities that have historically been left out and left behind. We are honored to help lead the Child Savings Account Program on behalf of our home city of Atlanta and thank Mayor Bottoms and the City Council for their leadership in this historic investment in our young people,” said John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE.
The City has partnered with the United Way of Greater Atlanta for the expansion of YEP. YEP was initially launched to provide job opportunities and supportive services to youth selling water and concessions to motorists. The Administration recognized the need for a safe and productive way to engage these young people.
Bottoms announced an allocation of $2 million by using a portion of American Rescue Plan funds to fuel YEP. The program offers eligible youth the professional and financial resources needed to steer their focus toward education and workforce readiness. Participating young people will receive a monthly $200 stipend while engaging in mentoring, job readiness training, leadership development and entrepreneurship certification programs.
“Atlanta is one of seven cities where Mastercard is working to close the racial wealth and opportunity gap, taking a concentrated approach alongside local governments, partners and community organizations. Working together, we can advance innovations like the One Atlanta card to sustainably address the most critical issues facing cities over the long term,” said Miguel Gamiño, EVP Enterprise Partnerships at Mastercard. “We are honored to continue our work with the City of Atlanta on this program to foster youth entrepreneurship with education and safety at the core.”
“The Equifax Foundation has been a proud partner of Mobility Capital Finance for the past few years. With our focus on fostering financial capability in Atlanta and other major cities, MoCaFi, and its robust platform and equitable mission, made perfect sense for us to invest in,” said David Stiffler, President of the Equifax Foundation. “Our investment in MoCaFi has been used to help MoCaFi hire Atlanta-based staff and to align MoCaFi’s efforts into our other Atlanta-related investments, including Greater Atlanta Builds Credit and the On the Rise Financial Center. We know the journey from financial exclusion to inclusion is often challenging and complicated, which is why the One Atlanta Immediate Response Incentive Mastercard, with Equifax and other friends backing it, will mean a world of difference in the financial lives of many of the City’s most vulnerable residents.”
“We are inspired and excited to see Mayor Bottoms accelerate the delivery of financial relief and digital equity across the city. This program and the Mayor’s leadership provides a clear path to supporting our most vulnerable. This is also a great example of how public and private sector can come together to do good,” said George Burciaga of IGNITE CITIES.
“We are excited to be a part of this great initiative that supports programs like this that cultivate and encourage safe, positive entrepreneurial endeavors in black and brown communities,” said Wole Coaxum, CEO & Founder of MoCaFi. “I’m happy to see Mayor Bottoms and the One Atlanta team, led by Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim, supporting such a game-changing initiative.”
Bottoms’ commitment to expanding access to opportunities for young people follows the Hire Atlanta Youth program, which she created. The program placed more than 300 young people in paid internships this year, while also providing access to more than 1.000 external jobs.