Transforming places. Improving Lives

Purpose Built Communities

In Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood, the local Drew Charter School consistently ranks among the Top 10 schools in the district, and has done so for over a decade with one of the largest populations of low-income students in the city. It’s just one of the ways the Purpose Built Communities model has helped transform this high-crime neighborhood, and others like it across the country, into places to call home. They’ve done it by focusing on housing, education, and wellness simultaneously, using an integrated and sustainable approach to community revitalization.The process starts with a singular non-profit designated to coordinate all aspects of the revitalization and to leverage the expertise of established local partners. In Atlanta, the East Lake Foundation served as this “community quarterback” and coordinated the redevelopment of affordable housing, partnerships for health and wellness programs (with the YMCA and a nearby golf course), early learning centers, a new charter school, and a range of other educational programs.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of East Lake Foundation


Focused in a well-defined neighborhood. By changing the place, we change outcomes for the people who live there.


Established a “community quarterback” non-profit organization to lead the revitalization. The East Lake Foundation brings together community members, builds partnerships, and secures funding to ensure the implementation of all aspects of the community vision


Developed high-quality, mixed income housing, with safe, walkable streets and community engagement programs for residents


Created an “education pipeline” with a cradle-to-college philosophy, including early learning, K-12 charter school, afterschool programs, scholarships, and college readiness coaching.


Brought programs and facilities to promote healthy lifestyles and create jobs, including micro-entrepreneurship programs, a full-service YMCA, the Healthy Connections support program, and a grocery store.

Outcomes in the East Lake Neighborhood of Atlanta

residents living in
542 best-in-class mixed
income apartments.
reduction in violent crime
in the Villages of East Lake
Community since 1995.
high school graduation rate in 2017
at Drew Charter School in East Lake,
with 100% college acceptance rate.
reached goals for recommended
treatment among individuals targeted
for disease management.
of 3rd-8th grade students meet
or exceed state math standards, and
99% meet or exceed reading standards.