The City of Atlanta aims to become the number one city in the country to raise a child. To achieve this goal, key City initiatives need to catalyze resilience – individuals’, families’, and communities’ ability to withstand unanticipated shocks and chronic stressors. The FUSE Executive Fellow will design a strategic action framework to catalyze cross-departmental and cross-sector collaboration on resilience, particularly focused on chronic stressors that exacerbate long-standing equity gaps.

Fellowship Dates: April 22, 2024 – April 21, 2025

Salary: Executive Fellows are FUSE employees and receive an annual base salary of $80,000. Fellows can also access various health, dental, and vision insurance benefits. Compensation for this year of public service is not intended to represent market-rate compensation for the experienced professionals in our program.

ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP

FUSE Corps is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.

When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.

Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.

PROJECT CONTEXT

Atlanta has a long history of centering equity and sustainability, even pre-dating the dawn of its membership in 100 Resilient Cities (“100 RC”), pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation. In 2017, the City unveiled its inaugural resilience strategy, which defined “resilience” as “the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and thrive no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.” The plan centered structural racism, equitable housing and youth development, and climate change, reflecting that resilience is at the nexus of equity and sustainability.

Much has changed over the past six years in City operations and structures, community assets and needs, and, indeed, even in the connotations of resilience. Today, as a member of the Resilient Cities Network (“R-Cities”), Atlanta continues to be at the global forefront of promoting resilience. These changes in City organizational structure and cross-functional partnerships necessitate an intentional, cross-departmental and cross-sectoral approach to building a more resilient Atlanta.

Mayor Andre Dickens has declared a bold goal – make Atlanta the best place in the country to raise a child. To reach that goal, we know that we must serve youth, their households, and their communities right now – removing barriers for youth and their families, adopting 2-generation development strategies, and increasing access to quality programs and services. And we know that we must also transform the places in which our youth and their families live.

Atlanta is a tale of two cities. From crime to education to housing and workforce development, health, and economic mobility, the outcomes that most concern us are rooted in place – racially segregated neighborhoods of concentrated poverty – people living in some of our neighborhoods can expect to live twenty-three years fewer than people living just a few miles away from them. The city has the largest wealth gap in the country. The median wealth of White families in Atlanta is $238,000, and the median wealth for Black families is $5,000, 46 times less. Atlanta is the second most segregated city in the country. Generations of public policies and private actions have divided us by race, and we are left to face the consequences: generations of children growing up in neighborhoods with no obvious path to happy, healthy, and productive lives.

To address these long-standing equity challenges and to reach our goals, business as usual won’t work. Mayor Dickens established a new office, the Office of the Chief Policy Officer, in early 2023. This team leads catalytic, large-scale mayoral priority initiatives, all with the ultimate aim of reaching our goal of becoming the best place to raise a child. This team utilizes proven public-private-philanthropic partnership models to make “at scale” investments in housing, education, youth development, health, greenspace, transit, and economic development in targeted geographies within the city. The team’s current focus areas include: affordable housing, youth development and education, neighborhood revitalization, neighborhood empowerment and community engagement, economic development and economic mobility, community safety, resilience, and strategic partnerships and strategic initiatives.

In short, the City of Atlanta believes that the neighborhood is the key unit of change for a city, and every neighborhood in Atlanta should be healthy, connected, safe, and thriving. This initiative aims for nothing short of transformed, thriving communities – while avoiding economic or cultural displacement. Work with institutional stakeholders is well underway, and the private, philanthropic, nonprofit, and public sectors have united in unprecedented alignment. A pragmatic resilience framework and strategic action implementation plan are required to strengthen and sustain this place-based agenda.

The City of Atlanta will partner with FUSE Corps to build the City government’s capacity to integrate resilience into its policies and programs. The FUSE Executive Fellow will develop a resilience framework to ensure that Atlanta’s approach to equity through resilience is organized and impactful. In addition, they will put the framework into practice by advancing the mayor’s high-priority initiatives and by building partnerships that enable resilience at all levels.

PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES

The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.

Starting in April 2024, the FUSE Executive Fellow will build deep relationships with a range of critical internal and external stakeholders, to include local government leaders (e.g., the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Office of Sustainability and Resilience, the Office of Constituent Services), local civic and neighborhood leaders, philanthropic and nonprofit leaders, and members of the public (with an emphasis on residents of disinvested priority neighborhoods) to understand the strengths, needs, opportunities, and aspirations these partners have for resilience in Atlanta. At the same time, the Executive Fellow will conduct an extensive desk review to identify best practices and innovative approaches to making resilience a standard part of the local governmental cross-functional operations in cities similar to Atlanta.

Next, the Executive Fellow will develop and apply a framework to integrate resilience into the high-priority mayoral initiatives led by the Office of the Chief Policy Officer and to advance the City’s organizational approach to resilience. This framework will identify the key offices and functions to contribute to strengthening resilience at the neighborhood, community, partnerships, and/or systems-level. The framework should include the identification of key stakeholders and the definition of their roles, the identification of the policies and resources that enable resilience in a Southeastern U.S. city, and the analysis of the policy and resource gaps that need to be filled. When implemented, this framework will facilitate organized, cohesive, and impactful cross-sectoral resilience through City of Atlanta initiatives.

Prioritization of the initiatives on which the Executive Fellow focuses will be made collaboratively in real-time with the Executive Fellow and FUSE, based on current states and needs. Whether focused on food security, affordable housing, youth development, neighborhood revitalization, public safety, and violence reduction, etc., the Fellow will focus their efforts on the cross-sector partnerships and collective action required to successfully and sustainably enable equity through resilience.

Finally, the Executive Fellow will apply the framework to developing values-driven partnerships on behalf of the City that further the mayor’s priorities while also enabling grassroots resilience. If successful, the City will be equipped with the practices necessary to embed resilience principles into partnerships going forward.

By April 2025, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:

  • Conduct a Stakeholder Listening Tour – Develop relationships with stakeholders in Atlanta government, community groups, and members of the public (with an emphasis on BIPOC neighborhoods). In addition, conduct a literature review of resilience and local government management practices that have been effective in cities similar to Atlanta.
  • Develop a Resilience Framework and Playbook – Develop a resilience framework and playbook that facilitates cross-department collaboration in a comprehensive, intentional manner both now and in the future.
  • Apply the Framework – Promote uptake of the resilience framework by applying it to the mayor’s priorities and place-based approach.
  • Develop Partnerships – Promote uptake of the resilience framework by applying it to the development of values-driven, grassroots partnerships.

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

The FUSE Executive Fellow will sit within the Office of the Chief Policy Officer, working under the daily leadership and supervision of the Mayor’s Senior Advisor for Strategic Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives.

  • Executive Sponsor – Courtney English, Chief Policy Officer and Senior Advisor to the Mayor, Office of Mayor Andre Dickens
  • Project Supervisor – Megan Sparks, Senior Advisor to the Mayor, Strategic Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives, Office of Mayor Andre Dickens
  • Katie Ward, Director, Strategic Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives, Office of Mayor Andre Dickens

The Executive Fellow will also be expected to work closely with all colleagues within the Office of the Chief Policy Officer, including the senior leadership team. These individuals are:

  • Josh Humphries, Senior Advisor to the Mayor, Housing
  • Janean Lewis, Senior Advisor to the Mayor, Youth Development and Education
  • David Edwards, Senior Advisor to the Mayor, Neighborhood Revitalization
  • Dr. Jodi Merriday, Neighborhood Ombudsman

Finally, the Executive Fellow will require close, collaborative relationships across City departments, especially with:

  • Chandra Farley, Chief Sustainability Officer
  • Candace Stanciel, Chief Equity Officer

QUALIFICATIONS

In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in racial equity, strategic partnerships, philanthropy and cities, place-based development, and/or systems thinking and organizational change is strongly preferred for this project.

  • Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
  • Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
  • Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
  • Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies and other processes.
  • Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing, and excels in both active listening and conversing.
  • Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision making.
  • Establishes and maintains strong relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, and particularly including community-based relationships.
  • Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
  • Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy, while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.

FUSE Corps is an equal-opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.