Leveraging Corporate Partnerships to Color Our Communities | Gensler Atlanta, BGCMA, and PCC

Gail Malone, LEED® AP, NCIDQ, RID; Principal, Technical Director, Gensler

David Jernigan, President & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs Metro Atlanta
Joan Price, Director of Corporate Philanthropy, Project Color Corps

You may know the popular Aristotle quote “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” In this episode of the Gensler Design Exchange podcast, a panel of passionate guests explain how this idea permeates a partnership that was formed to empower underserved youth to add color to our world and elevate their voices through the power of design.

With a shared belief that our physical surroundings can vastly improve our lives, the Boys & Girls Clubs Metro Atlanta (BGCMA), Project Color Corps (PCC), and Gensler’s Atlanta office entered a partnership that is changing the trajectory of Atlanta’s youth. Through this conversation, we explore the power of corporate partnerships and youth development programming in strengthening support for our communities.

With 25 Clubs located in 11 counties across metropolitan Atlanta, BGCMA serves nearly 3,000 members (ages 6–18) each day, offering youth development programs during critical non-school hours that promote academic success, healthy lifestyles, and character and leadership. In 2017, Gensler partnered with BGCMA on a new program called Club Ideate, a seven-week engagement with 7th and 8th graders centered around solving design challenges and thinking empathetically.

Exposure is everything for the youth in our programs. Many of our kids have never had any sort of introduction to the architecture and design fields; Club Ideate allows them to learn directly from experts in the field and teaches them how to solve problems and shape communities.” — David Jernigan, President & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs Metro Atlanta

In addition to programmatic support and expansion, Gensler is providing design expertise to help renovate BGCMA’s Chamblee Club outside of Atlanta. What started as a storage room renovation has grown into a building-wide redesign, with plans to allow for more flexible space including revamped employee workspace.

As the Club Ideate program grew, additional partnerships were formed to elevate and expand impact. This is where PCC comes in — as an organization founded from the ideas that color can transform lives and that access to beauty is a basic human right, they engage students and local artists in turning dilapidated facades into colorful celebrations of community. Teaming up with BGCMA and Gensler in 2021, PCC added personal branding, community artwork, and a sense of pride to Club Ideate’s programming. Through this partnership, BGCMA students use color to understand themselves and translate their unique perspectives into artwork that supports their communities.

“Every child deserves a great future, regardless of their circumstances. They each have their own energy and spirit which can transcend any situation and be used to help identify who they are.”Joan Price, Director of Corporate Philanthropy, Project Color Corps

This spring, the students will work with a local Atlanta muralist to create a new mural that transforms a blank wall into a physical representation of the community’s youth, instilling a sense of pride and ownership.

“I’m looking forward to the day where a Club Ideate graduate becomes a new Gensler employee, and that they were inspired and prepared to become a designer because of this program.”Gail Malone, Principal, Technical Director, Gensler

Now more than ever, corporate partnerships are paramount in supporting our communities. We are in the midst of a seismic shift in employee values, where more and more people want to work at companies that care about giving back. We all have the opportunity to partner with like-minded organizations to create a better future. Together, our combined efforts can have an impact greater than our collective sums.

Are you interested in getting involved with or supporting the organizations in today’s podcast? Visit bgcma.org to learn more about BGCMA, and projectcolorcorps.org to learn more about PCC.

Tune in to learn more about Gensler Atlanta’s community impact efforts with BGCMA here.

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As always, thanks for tuning in!



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Gensler Design Exchange Podcast

Gensler Design Exchange Podcast

The Gensler Design Exchange creates a dialogue between design experts, creative trendsetters & thought leaders to discuss how we can shape the future of cities.