The Partners for a Prosperous Athens initiative is a community-wide effort to address the underlying causes of Athens, Georgia's 28% poverty rate. PPA is co-convened by Athens' 5 major institutions -- the Athens Clarke County Government, Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, Clarke County School District, Family Connection, and the University of Georgia -- and guided by a broadly representative Steering Committee.

PPA is engaging the entire community in the process of identifying barriers to prosperity, creating recommendations to address these barriers and helping the community enact these recommendations strategically for systemic change.

PPA approaches community prosperity through six focus areas. These focus areas became six working committees:

Because this is a community based initiative, committee members are encouraged to make this work their own. Committees should feel free to add to or subtract from the scope of work. Also, while the intention is for there to be six work sessions, committees can meet as often as they feel necessary and organize in a way most fitting including use of subcommittees.

A committee may also conclude its work earlier if that is deemed appropriate. Finally, the steering committee is committed to receiving recommendations for action throughout the process.

The initial work program involves at least three sets of activities:

  • Define the issue. Take sufficient time to determine the scope of work for the subject area. The focus is, "In what ways does the subject affect persistent poverty?"
  • Measure. To identify bench marks for communicating the problem, measuring progress and ensuring accountability. "What needs to be understood in order to craft meaningful change strategies?"
  • Implementation strategies. To determine the most effective way to address the problem. To determine the most effective way to include considerations of culture, family and race on successful recommendations.

Scoping: Each of the committees includes language intended to reflect the initial scope of the work. It is understood that this initial scope will be refined as deliberations proceed. It is also understood that additional analysis and research may be needed to fully understand the issue.

Each of the committees will develop benchmarks that can be used to measure progress and foster accountability.

Finally, the steering committee has affirmed the need to include in deliberations and recommendations the cross-cutting issues of culture, family and race.