Trees Atlanta will receive $13 million in New Markets Tax Credits funding to support its new headquarters at 825 Warner St. SW in Atlanta (adjacent to Murphy Crossing in between Pittsburgh and the West End). Founded in 1985, Trees Atlanta works to protect and expand metro Atlanta’s tree canopy through forest restoration, youth education, and advocacy. The organization impacts 4,200 youth annually through its programming, including workforce development programs aimed at preparing high school students for green careers.
The new 22,000-square-foot facility will allow Trees Atlanta to plant 9,500 trees annually, reach more than 9,000 students per year, directly employ 95 high school students annually, and create 20 full-time equivalent jobs. Trees Atlanta has made a deliberate effort to focus tree planting and youth education in Council District 11 in Southwest Atlanta. With a 20% unemployment rate and median household income of less than $42,000, the district includes many of the city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Equity undergirds all of Invest Atlanta’s efforts—including environmental equity. Urban tree canopies improve air quality by capturing carbon emissions and other pollutants—a single tree can absorb up to 150 kg of CO2 per year. Tree canopies also greatly reduce flooding and mitigate the heat island effect by cooling summer air temperatures by up to 5 degrees, reducing air conditioning needs by 30% and heating needs by up to 50%. Trees have also been found to improve physical and mental health by decreasing blood pressure and stress.
“Trees Atlanta’s new headquarters project aligns perfectly with Atlanta Emerging Markets’ mission to foster job creation and neighborhood revitalization” said Stephen McRae, president, Atlanta Emerging Markets, Inc. and manager of Investment Services. “Equity drives our work at Invest Atlanta and AEMI, however environmental equity sometimes flies under the radar. This project, and the work of Trees Atlanta, will create workforce development opportunities for in-demand green jobs and ensure that all areas of Atlanta have access to cleaner air and a healthier environment.”