“Academic achievement opens opportunities for success, but you can’t expect schools to consistently outperform the health of their neighborhoods,” says John Majors (MBA 2000). “The reality is that some employers and educators automatically lower their expectations when job applicants or students come from low-income neighborhoods.”
While his background is in commercial real estate and corporate finance, since 2012 Majors has served as a vice president at Purpose Built Communities, an Atlanta-based, nonprofit consulting group. Established in 2009 with backing from philanthropists, the organization shares with other cities the three-pronged, neighborhood-based development strategy of mixed-income housing, a cradle-to-college education pipeline, and effective community wellness programs that helped to revitalize Atlanta’s troubled East Lake neighborhood in the early 2000s.
Majors and his colleagues work pro bono with 501c3 “community quarterback” organizations in cities such as Omaha, Rochester, Orlando, and Philadelphia, to bring together components necessary for comprehensive revitalization. Each neighborhood’s context and assets are unique, says Majors, “so there is no cookie-cutter approach. Many of our partners have been battling poverty and crime in their cities for decades. Our job is to listen and offer advice that will help them get the results they want.”
(Published March 2018)
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