Family & Friends gathered in original officesFamily & Friends gathered in original offices

"Let's start a foundation, different from all other foundations in Atlanta," said businessman and entrepeneur Greg Simmons to Tom Roddy one evening in 1984. The idea was that instead of serving as a reservoir for assets, ARF would serve as a conduit to bring people with resources, both monetary and time together with those who are not as fortunate. "People will be the assests: we won't make grants. A person's involvement will be the grant."

ARF shall be a conduit, not a reservoir. It is the task of ARF to stay closely involved with both the giver and the recipient, in order to assure meeting the needs of both parties. ARF may serve as a conduit for start-up, nonprofit ministries that meet our mission goals, such as Quest Atlanta '96, Young Atlantans, Buckhead Fellowship and East Lake Commons.

"Two or Three Together in My Name." Tom felt that they needed more business people involved, so he went to see Billy Mitchell. Tom and Billy had been in the same fellowship group since the early 1970's. ARF was seeking a place to hold meetings and Billy Mitchell gave the new Foundation a place to meet at the offices of Carter and Associates on Spring Street.

Glencastle and Family Consultation Services, in 1984, was an early initiative of our friend, Bob Lupton, in East Atlanta.Glencastle and Family Consultation Services, in 1984, was an early initiative of our friend, Bob Lupton, in East Atlanta.

Business Ministry Mix: Tom wanted to have a mix of ministry and business, so he invited Bob Lupton and Neil Shorthouse, both who had extensive ministry experience, to get involved.

Partnerships:"Let us partner with whomever we can." Alicia Philip of the Metropolitan Community Foundation, (now The Community Foundation), allowed the still unnamed ARF to come under their foundation as a designated fund. They could make grants to projects the ARF was involved in, but could not pay salaries or expenses. Tom and Greg turned to the Christian Council of Metropolitan Atlanta and its then director Don Newby. Tom Roddy became a staff member on the Council with responsibilities to the still unnamed group.

A Name: Tom and Greg, still looking for a name for their new foundation, thought about the name "Atlanta Leadership Foundation". They really wanted to work with both leaders and followers. They wanted to be a conduit for resources. Therefore, they decided upon "Atlanta Resource Foundation".

Encouraging Friends By Getting Together

CityLights is a loose fellowship of Atlanta business, professional and ministry persons. It meets six times a year for morning coffee in different locations around Atlanta where new life and energy are stirring and seeks to bless, encourage, and help locate resources for people and organizations who are making a difference in Atlanta.

Participation is by invitation and is based on interest, motivation and balance (we cannot have more ministry people than professionals). If you want to learn about CityLights and/or encourage and support those who are making a difference, please call Allen Bell at (404) 842-7878. We are looking for a few more business and professional individuals who want to know what is going on in the City and can offer their creativity, expertise and contacts to encourage these urban projects. 

Community leaders share ideasCommunity leaders share ideas

Some of the People and Places visited by CityLights in the past 20 years: Villages of East Lake (community redevelopment), Blood n' Fire (homeless men), Interdenominational Theological Center (theological education), Communities in Schools (high schoolers at risk), Chamblee Doraville Ministry Center (new immigrants), Beulah Heights Bible College (training for urban ministry), Christian Council for Metro Atlanta (unity in fellowship and mission), Georgia State Capitol (praying for our leaders), Safe House Urban Center (reclaining lives), New Covenant Community Center (rebuilding community).

Experience, insight and encouragement are best exchanged through relationship.Experience, insight and encouragement are best exchanged through relationship.

CityLights has also visited: The Friendship Force (friend to friend), Heart of Atlanta Network (celebrating downtown Atlanta), Create your Dreams (following grade school children through High School) Atlanta Community Food Bank (food distribution), The Church of the Apostles (Ray Bakke of International Urban Association) , Georgia State University (long term plan), Christian Council & World Relief (refugee resettlement), Love in Action Ministries (making a difference in public housing). Swayze Avenue at East Lake (activities for children), South Atlanta (neighborhood redevelopment).