Social Ventures

Social Entrepreneurship initiative

What is Epiphany?

Epiphany is a social entrepreneurship initiative of First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta (“FPC”), created to promote individual economic empowerment and live out our identity as the Atlanta church that balances spiritual conviction with tangible compassion. Epiphany is an incubator for entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to address social challenges. Our goal is to transform how we participate in God’s mission for the world by serving people in Atlanta and beyond in fresh and effective new ways.

Give us your feedback!

Thank you to the many volunteers who brought Epiphany to life! We are working on incubation steps with our 5 grant recipients, building community partnerships and a list of resources for all applicants, launching our first Social Ventures Council, and planning for another round of Epiphany!

If you participated this year, take a moment and give us your feedback about the experience here: 

Presenting

Our Epiphany 2019 Grant Recipients

Scroll Down and learn more about OUR EPIPHANY 2019 Grant Recipients

Entrepreneur: Larry Witherspoon

AUTOMOTIVE TRAINING CENTER

Automotive Training Center is a program in Atlanta, Georgia that provides young men with technical training so that they may obtain entry-level employment in the automotive repair industry. The majority of our students are at-risk, from low-income neighborhoods where unemployment and high school drop out rates are both high. ATC was founded on the principle that all of its students have untapped potential that has not developed because of their specific life circumstances. ATC gives its students opportunities to grow the technical and entrepreneurial skills they already possess. We instill these values through a positive, encouraging, and challenging learning environment. ATC’s training produces graduates thatare more likely to maintain stable employment, become business owners, and have stable family lives when compared to their peers.

Entrepreneur: Andrew Thompson

EVICTION ASSISTANCE MOBILE APP

Over one in five Fulton County renters are served with an eviction notice every year, many of which can be avoided with access to basic information about Fulton County housing court. The Eviction Assistance Mobile Application (“Eviction Assistance MAP”) is a mobile phone app for renters that will help reduce evictions by delivering easy-to-understand information about housing court, reminders for court dates, and tips on how to successfully mediate a case to every tenant facing eviction precisely when they need it– all while saving courts significant time and money.

Entrepreneur: Frank Furman

PadSplit

PadSplit’s mission is to solve the affordable housing crisis, here in Atlanta and beyond. PadSplit residents are employed, but earn only $20-25k/year on average and simply cannot afford housing costs in Atlanta. Forty percent of their residents have experienced homelessness in the past year, despite employment. PadSplit takes one unaffordable home and creates a shared living environment that makes it more affordable for more people. This model creates holistic affordability by bundling the (shared) costs of furnished rooms, utilities, wifi, and laundry, while also moving people closer to work. PadSplit works with homeowners to transform rental properties into safe, energy-efficient, and respectable co-living housing in the Atlanta metro area. After only one year, PadSplit has created housing for about 100 singles, couples, and single parents with children, with 2,000 people on their waitlist. Just as Airbnb made hosting normal for people, or Uber normalized hitching a ride with a stranger by making it convenient and accountable, PadSplit is building a technology platform to do the same for homeowners and residents.

Entrepreneurs: Todd Holcombe, Jason Tucker, and Hilary Baker/Meals-on-Wheels-Atlanta

PURPOSEFUL PECANS

Purposeful Pecans is a new initiative to support the mission of Meals-On-Wheels-Atlanta (“MOWA”). MOWA serves over 300,000 meals yearly to seniors in need, and its near-term goal is to grow to serve over 500,000 meals per year. Financing this growth will require expansion of the donor base and pool of volunteers, and some outside-the-box thinking, like Purposeful Pecans. Purposeful Pecans are cooked in MOWA’s kitchen after the day’s meals are prepared, using gourmet recipes (“Sweet & Hot” and “Cinnamon Star Anise”) developed by the former executive chef at The Four Seasons Hotel. These delicious treats are sold directly in pop-up markets, on the internet, and through a distribution network in Atlanta’s hospitality industry. The profits from Purposeful Pecans will help fund MOWA’s mission to feed low-income and homebound seniors. Purposeful Pecans is in its start-up phase, and Epiphany funding would help finance investments in equipment, facilities, and marketing needed for growth.

Entrepreneur: Kitti Murray

REFUGE COFFEE CO.

Refuge Coffee Co. is a nonprofit enterprise that provides living wage jobs, job training, and mentorship to resettled refugees through the business of coffee and hospitality. But our real mission is welcome. Our refugee trainees help to drive that mission, welcoming the world at our coffee shop in Clarkston and from our red coffee trucks all over Atlanta. We do this business of welcome WITH refugees, not FOR them. Our trainees interact daily with people from many cultures, and because we employ locally and work hard to bring worlds together equally, our little establishment has become a town center that stands for hope. “With” is subtle but powerful. It chips away at biases and can transform an entire community’s mindset. Now beginning our 3rd year of operation, we have multiple opportunities to grow, both as a coffee shop and a catering operation, including new catering trucks, new locations, and a kitchen addition to our current location, all of which will create more jobs and training opportunities.

Check out this special " Thank You" video sent from Refuge Coffee.

Get Involved!

To learn more, give, or get involved, please email us at epiphany@firstpresatl.org.

How epiphany works

Epiphany will solicit nascent ideas for innovative business models that address an area of ministry and social concern. We will help refine the idea, equip the entrepreneur, and prepare both for launch and greater impact through access to capital and community resources. Participants will receive hands-on business coaching from experienced mentors recruited from FPC’s membership. Semi-finalists will participate in a workshop with business and city leaders. Finalists will pitch their refined venture ideas to a panel of judges who will select the final Grant Recipients. Grant Recipients will receive start-up funding from a pool of $250,000, as well as financial and business planning assistance from FPC.

Why Epiphany?

We believe God is calling us to a moment of EPIPHANY— an “Aha!” moment when a great idea is brought to life. Epiphany is revelation. Innovation. Guidance. Light. By bringing worthwhile social ventures to life, FPC wants to increase our direct impact on the community in ways we would not otherwise have imagined: new ways of lifting the lowly, feeding the hungry, reconciling people, and sharing love. We believe Epiphany will enable us to have an exponentially broader reach to our vulnerable neighbors and provide a platform for partnerships with civic, commercial, religious, and secular organizations that expand our capacity to show the love of Christ, while maintaining our existing mission partnerships and commitments. Epiphany will also call FPC members to use their skills, networks, connections and experiences to help advance ideas that are incubated. Epiphany is intended not only to successfully launch new ventures and fresh ways to share Christ’s love, but also to create a hunger and appetite among our members to live holistic lives of mission. 

Epiphany Timeline

View our Timeline on the right for Announcements, Application dates and more.

Announce Epiphany to the congregation and community; build enthusiasm and buy-in for this new paradigm for our church. Goal: Attract a minimum of 40 applicants through community outreach and publicity.

Coach and nurture the applicants. Engage the congregation in the work of incubating social ventures.

Final pitches and judging. Reveal Sunday (02/24/19)

Develop the long-term relationship objectives of all launched ideas!

Want More Details?

DOWNLOAD FULL EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Have More Questions?

DOWNLOAD FULL FAQ

Epiphany Semi-Finalists List is Here!

We shared an inspiring celebration of the Epiphany social entrepreneurship initiative on Epiphany Sunday, and our 22 Epiphany semi-finalists are back at work with their navigators and skills coaches to refine their ideas and prepare to pitch them in February. 

Click below to download the list and learn more about this year’s Semi-Finalists.

Be a Volunteer Skills Coach!

Can you offer advice or expertise to a social entreprenuer?  If so, then review the areas below and sign up as a Skills Coach for Epiphany.

Click below to sign-up and help us launch ideas for a better world.

Application Submission Period is Closed

Check back with us for future epiphany submission dates.
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