This #GivingTuesday, Focused Community Strategies (FCS) encourages people to reach beyond an understanding of charity as a one-way exchange between the haves and the have-nots. FCS believes sustainable, thriving communities are composed of reciprocal relationships which honor the valuable strengths and wisdom everyone, regardless of material wealth, has to offer. The structure and method of our organization reflects the belief that community development needs to be as multi-faceted, holistic, and place-specific as the lives people lead. Below, our fellow employee and friend, Diniah, shares a little about what FCS has meant to her community of Historic South Atlanta.

Creating Opportunities Together

As department manager at the Carver Neighborhood Market, Diniah gets a close look at the transformation taking place in South Atlanta. She’s watched her community gain new opportunities as FCS creates and attracts small businesses and jobs into the neighborhood. “It’s a big deal,” Diniah says. “Instead of people having to catch two buses and a train just to get to work, now they can just walk across the street. That’s one of the biggest ways FCS empowers others to do for themselves.”

Diniah especially enjoys the Christmas season when Carver Market and Community Grounds transform into the Pride for Parents toy shop. Every December, the neighborhood hosts a toy sale with new, brand-name toys sold at reduced prices. Pride for Parents gives parents the opportunity to provide for their own children at Christmastime. “It’s really good for low-income families who have a lot of kids,” Diniah says. “And those funds go back towards the Carver Market, which allows us to continue serving the people of the neighborhood.” Parents get to be generous with their families, children receive gifts that they actually wanted, and all proceeds go towards neighborhood revitalization. It’s amazing how everyone benefits when programs are created with dignity in mind.