Communities of Opportunity Initiative
Program Description | Downloads | Contact Information
Launched by Governor Sonny Perdue and the Georgia Rural Development Council in March 2007, the Communities of Opportunity (Co-Op) Initiative is a collaborative, locally-driven community development strategy focused on enhancing the economic vitality of rural Georgia communities.
A 2003 study done by UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government concluded that our nation’s rural communities faced unique economic and community development challenges. Past statewide efforts of technical and financial assistance have produced mixed results. Some communities have prospered, others have not.
In keeping with Governor Perdue’s vision for a growing, healthy, safe and educated Georgia, Co-Op will challenge local communities to engage in a comprehensive and collaborative approach to community development.
Co-Op is administered by the Georgia Department of Community of Affairs (DCA), in partnership with a number of public and private partners. DCA, the Georgia Rural Development Council and UGA-Fanning Institute have worked closely on this initiative.
Participation in Co-Op is optional. Communities that decide to participate will receive an assessment and follow-up discussions will take place to determine focus areas. Based on a positive response by local community leaders, the Co-Op team will offer assistance to develop a community improvement strategy. Incentives for local involvement will also be offered.
In 2007, the Co-Op Team began community assessments in Georgia's Service Delivery Region 7 rural counties of Burke, Glascock, Hancock, Jefferson, Jenkins, Lincoln, McDuffie, Taliaferro, Warren, Washington, Wilkes and Elbert County in Region 5.
Community Improvement Strategies were completed, leading to each community's eligibility to receive a small implementation grant. The communities will work toward addressing their highest priorities, as identified in their improvement strategies, over a two-year period.
Additional information on the Communities of Opportunity Initiative may be found at www.ruralgeorgia.org.
Community Improvement Strategies for Co-Op communities
Communities of Opportunity Initiative Quarterly Reports
Designated Co-Op Communities (Docx)
Governor's Office Announcement (News Release Only) (PDF)
Governor's Office Executive Order (PDF)
REPORT: Dismantling Persistent Poverty In The Southeastern United States (UGA-Carl Vinson Institute) (PDF)
SE US Study Poverty Map (PDF)
SE US Study Economic Vitality Index (PDF)
SE US Study Economic Vitality Index - 2004 (PDF)
REPORT: Dismantling Persistent Poverty In Georgia – Breaking The Cycle (UGA-Carl Vinson Institute) (PDF)
Georgia Study Poverty Map (PDF)
Communities of Opportunity May 2007 Research Report (PDF)
For more information, email Georgia Communities of Opportunity by clicking here.
Patrice Williams, Co-Op Program Coordinator, (770) 968-6584 or click here for email (click here to email)
Cherie Bennett, Planner, (404) 679-0569 or click here for email (click here to email)
Georgia Department of Community Affairs
60 Executive Park South, N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30329-2231