Community Connectors Kickoff: Key Takeaways from the Atlanta Convening

Community Connectors Kickoff: Six Key Takeaways from the Atlanta Convening

In November 2023, the 15 Community Connectors grant program teams convened for a workshop in Atlanta, where they discussed values, goals, stakeholder networks and technical-assistance and capacity-building needs for their infrastructure projects. Here are the key takeaways.

This blog was initially published in its entirety on Smart Growth America here and was authored by Eric Cova.

Last month, more than 100 participants from the 15 communities selected to participate in the Community Connectors program convened in Atlanta to start building trust and relationships, plan out the scopes for the capacity-building grants they’re receiving from this 18-month program and lay the groundwork for their ambitious projects to reconnect their communities.

Community Connectors is a program to support leaders in small and mid-sized communities — in and out of government — to repair the damage of divisive infrastructure. 15 teams from communities across the country have been selected to receive a capacity-building grant to advance these projects. Learn more about the teams here.

Joined by our program partners from America Walks and Equitable Cities, and designed by the New Urban Mobility Alliance, the two-day Atlanta convening was organized as a series of facilitated workshops to help each team create a roadmap for success and featured inspiring speeches from Nathaniel Smith of the Partnership for Southern Equity, Atlanta DOT Commissioner Solomon Caviness IV, Mariia Zimmerman from the Office of the Secretary at USDOT and James Hardy from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among others.

Among the many takeaways from the convening, six (listed below) stand out most prominently. Read about them in full here.

  1. The Community Connectors cohort brought plenty of energy and excitement, both during and outside of the program
  2. The importance of strengthening team infrastructure
  3. The power of bringing folks to the table
  4. There’s an incredible appetite for projects that truly repair and reconnect communities 
  5. Moving at the speed of trust
  6. This road forward will be long and hard, but these teams are poised for success


Header image: Ziwei Liu/Equitable Cities

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