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H. Scott Young is Turning Atlanta Around

ATLANTA TRIBUNE — Spending a lot of time researching his properties at the Atlanta History Center, meeting subcontractors, and honoring an internal compass that constantly led him back to community connection put him in conversations with the small businesses owners in the areas where he was dealing which crystallized his next pivot in energy: leasing to small business owners. In 2015, he created the fully independent Seryus Property Group, headquartered in Waterlab.

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By Kamille D. Whittaker

In Waterlab, a workspace for small businesses, where Castleberry Hill’s Walker and Fair Streets meet, H. Scott Young recalls the plight of Buttermilk Bottom, an African-American neighborhood that was razed in the 1960s to make way for urban redevelopment projects, most notably the Atlanta Civic Center. There’s also the Lenox Mall corridor, the city of Lightning, where the Mercedes-Benz stadium was erected, and others. But in the late 1980s, when Young moved to the city from the northeast where his mother was a real estate entrepreneur and his stepfather and father both showed him the diligent dignity of blue collar work, there was a holdout that coalesced these foundations in the form of a cultural hub that he called the 125th street of the South: The West End.

“Things were a bit different in the early 1990s there. There was a little bit more blight early on that I think it still suffers from now, but it was thriving – it was a multi-contextual black environment and that made a massive impression on me.”

In the year he moved down, alongside the steady migration of black middle class professionals to the city, illicit real estate practices were rampant. “In the same way block busting was happening in Atlanta in the ‘60s, steering was happening in the late ‘80s. Our realtor was purposely only showing us homes on the East side. So I had no idea that the West End and all these cultural centers actually existed. For me culture was everything. I just didn’t have a name, or language for it.”

He encountered a version of the phenomena again when he began purchasing and historically preserving multi-family units, first, a dilapidated apartment building in Grant Park, one of the last remaining apartment buildings on Atlanta Avenue.

“Atlanta Avenue was once full of apartment buildings and they tore most of them down partly because they wanted to segregate the neighborhood and they felt that apartments would attract black folks. I pulled the original deed from 1919 and it read, ‘must not allow to purchase, lease, board, occupy anyone of African descent for 70 years.’ There’s a reversionary clause, so if you go against that deed ownership reverts back to the seller.”

Spending a lot of time researching his properties at the Atlanta History Center, meeting subcontractors, and honoring an internal compass that constantly led him back to community connection put him in conversations with the small businesses owners in the areas where he was dealing which crystallized his next pivot in energy: leasing to small business owners. In 2015, he created the fully independent Seryus Property Group, headquartered in Waterlab.

Read the full story: https://bit.ly/2TWGE3O

This article originally appeared in the Atlanta Tribune

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PRESS ROOM: SunTrust Foundation Awards $2.7 Million in Grants to Winners of the 2019 Lighting the Way Awards

ATLANTA TRIBUNE — The SunTrust Foundation announced the winners of the 2019 Lighting the Way Awards, giving a total of $2.7 million in grants to 36 nonprofit organizations across the South and Midwest, including four in Atlanta. The awards support the work of the organizations to build self-sufficient families and more financially confident communities through financial education, financial counseling, career readiness/workforce development and small business/entrepreneurship. Each nonprofit was awarded a $75,000 grant.

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(From left to right) Bill Rogers, Chairman and CEO, SunTrust Bank, and Chairman, SunTrust Foundation; Monica Kaufman Pearson, renowned Atlanta television broadcast journalist; and Stan Little, President, SunTrust Foundation, honor the winners of the SunTrust Foundation’s Lighting the Way Awards. (Photo by: newsroom.suntrust.com)

By The Atlanta Tribune

The SunTrust Foundation announced the winners of the 2019 Lighting the Way Awards, giving a total of $2.7 million in grants to 36 nonprofit organizations across the South and Midwest, including four in Atlanta. The awards support the work of the organizations to build self-sufficient families and more financially confident communities through financial education, financial counseling, career readiness/workforce development and small business/entrepreneurship. Each nonprofit was awarded a $75,000 grant.

“Every one of these nonprofits has created impactful programs to support specific needs of their communities, and it is a privilege to recognize their efforts,” said Stan Little, president of the SunTrust Foundation. “The Lighting the Way Awards illustrate our commitment to Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being in partnership with organizations that make a difference in the lives of those who need
help the most.”

The SunTrust Foundation also is committed to helping nonprofits improve their organization’s financial well-being by providing workshops, case studies and training on organizational economic sustainability. Following the Lighting the Way Awards event, winners participated in collaborative sessions about using the power of storytelling to engage their stakeholders better and demonstrate their impact in the community. Speakers included Kate Atwood, founder and CEO, B.Essential, and founder, Kate’s Club; David Eidson, president and CEO of Coxe Curry & Associates; Lucy Hall, founder and CEO of Mary Hall Freedom House and Grant Millsaps, lead consultant, The Frontier Project.

There were four Atlanta nonprofits included among the winners: Start: ME, Trinity Community Ministries, North Fulton Community Charities and Communities In Schools of Georgia.

This article originally appeared in The Atlanta Tribune.

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Morehouse College Launches Student Success Program As Strategy To Improve National Student Loan Debt Crisis

ATLANTA TRIBUNE — Morehouse College is launching a ground-breaking program that will enable graduates to pursue advanced degrees, start careers, and build wealth without being tethered to undergraduate student loan debt.

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Morehouse College (Photo by: atlantatribune.com)

Gift fund is established to pay loans, offer scholarships, and provide financial freedom for graduates

By The Atlanta Tribune

Morehouse College is launching a ground-breaking program that will enable graduates to pursue advanced degrees, start careers, and build wealth without being tethered to undergraduate student loan debt.

The new Morehouse College Student Success Program, a fund-raising and research initiative, was established by the Board of Trustees as a national investment strategy to curb student loan debt and help graduates to prosper faster. Under the Student Success Program, Morehouse will solicit and accept donations made specifically to reduce or eliminate the student loan debt of Morehouse Men, thus creating an opportunity for greater financial freedom for new alumni and their families.

Morehouse will study the impact of the cost of higher education on Morehouse Men, and the freedom of choice that alumni experience in their careers when their student loan balances are paid in full or reduced to manageable levels.

According to UNCF research, 80 percent of HBCU students use federal loans to fund their education, compared to 55 percent of their peers at other private and state institutions. HBCU graduates also borrow nearly twice as much—$26,266 on average—than non-HBCU students. And one in four HBCU students borrows $40,000 or more to attend college. At Morehouse, the student loan debt threshold at graduation is between $35,000 and $40,000.

“The Morehouse College Board of Trustees believes that student loan debt can be an obstacle in the path of Morehouse Men that can cause them to delay enrolling in advanced degree programs, working as K-12 teachers, or pursuing other interests that they are passionate about,” said David A. Thomas, President of Morehouse College. “The Morehouse College Student Success Program will provide students with a liberating gift that will wipe away or greatly reduce their student loans, allowing them to pursue their dreams and lead lives of leadership and service immediately after graduation.

“We, at Morehouse, see the Student Success Program as an important step toward improving outcomes for our graduates and addressing the income disparities that people of color experience when they are overburdened by debt.”

America’s student loan debt—now more than $1.5 trillion, according to the U.S. Department of Education (more than the nation’s $1.3 trillion in auto loan debt)—can exacerbate the wealth gap that exists between black families facing generational poverty and other groups. Black households nationally have the lowest median net worth, lagging behind Asian, white, and Latin Americans respectively, according to the U.S. Census.

In its study of student loans in the HBCU community, the UNCF’s Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute found that HBCU students are more likely to seek loans from more costly sources and encounter more difficulties in repaying their loans in the seven years after leaving college. Repayment of student loans can be aggravated by the economic status of borrowers, labor market conditions, and factors such as a student’s educational program choice.

The Brookings Institute projects that based on current trends in student loan defaults, two in five of all borrowers—nearly 40 percent—will default on their loans by 2023.

UNCF officials agree that offerings such as Morehouse’s Student Success Program could become a new model for HBCUs and other liberal arts institutions seeking strategies to offset the stress of student debt on alumni and their families.

“Morehouse’s program to provide debt relief to new graduates is a fund-raising opportunity that should be studied and duplicated nationally,” said Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund. “The impact of such a gift, particularly for minority or economically disadvantaged families, could accelerate the growth of a more diverse and robust middle class.”

The Morehouse College Office of Institutional Advancement is in talks with a number of philanthropists, corporate partners, and other supporters who have expressed interest in donating to the new Student Success Program. Gifts are tax-deductible and will be disbursed directly to designated students or graduating classes.

“We look forward to charting the progress of those who receive generous support from the Student Success Program,” Thomas said. “We encourage those who receive gifts to pay it forward and help upcoming classes to enjoy a significant level of financial independence from student loan debt.

This article originally appeared in The Atlanta Tribune.

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Atlanta Tribune

On Our Radar: Leadership Conferences in Atlanta

ATLANTA TRIBUNE — According to a 2017 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey, 93% managers need training on coaching employees. Consequently, many surveyed said they felt ill-equipped to lead their peers because they were never properly trained. Studies suggest that when an employee is being led by someone who lacks efficient leadership skills, productivity in the workplace decreases and the likelihood that an employee will leave the company increases.

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By Kadejah Brathwaite, Editorial Intern

Fine-tuned leadership skills in the workplace are what separate the good from the great in business.

According to a 2017 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey, 93% managers need training on coaching employees. Consequently, many surveyed said they felt ill-equipped to lead their peers because they were never properly trained. Studies suggest that when an employee is being led by someone who lacks efficient leadership skills, productivity in the workplace decreases and the likelihood that an employee will leave the company increases.

Perhaps you are in this same boat and want to develop better administrative skills to boost your business. Atlanta will host some leadership summits that you should attend.

Boost Leadership with Ian Cron

Best-selling author of “The Road Back to You,” Ian Cron, will discuss the usefulness of the Enneagram personality test and how it can help professionals learn about themselves and their development as leaders. This free function will take place at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel and Convention Center on July 17, 2019.

Building Better Organizations One Individual at a Time

This one-day seminar is created for new managers who need guidance and tips on how to make a smooth transition from a successful team member to a successful manager. Attendees will discuss ways to give constructive criticism to their peers and how to effectively add value to their teams. The event will be at Cobb Galleria on July 25, 2019, and tickets can be purchased here.

Management and Leadership Skills for First-Time Supervisors and Managers

Attend this workshop on July 30-31, 2019 and learn the ropes on successful leadership techniques. This highly interactive event will provide feedback on how to build supervisory skills through self-assessment tools, checklists and a Leadership Style Analysis. Register here.

This article originally appeared in the Atlanta Tribune.

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