MEET Melonie: FEED editor-in-chief, nonprofit consigliere and art enthusiast
Need a nonprofit guru and consigliere? Look no further. Melonie aims to learn as much about as many awesome nonprofit organizations as possible. With a Masters in Nonprofit Management, she has spent considerable time working with organizations of various sizes; hosting special events, developing programs, and managing Boards. In addition to her nonprofit work she can be found crafting up-cycled goods for her home or painting away her evenings.
Tell us about your project:
I run the FEED Atlanta, a site connecting those doing good across Atlanta. We want to help people become more connected with all the great stuff happening here- awesome events, helpful resources and great people- in hopes that they will collaborate with others.
What inspired you?
I have been working with small nonprofits for a long time. This past August I left a full time job to think about what I wanted to do and to take on some nonprofit consulting gigs. After meeting with and interviewing people in small and large organizations- nonprofits, social enterprises- I found that they all mentioned the same things. They all said they needed more ways to learn about what other people and organizations were doing. We started with a networking event to spur collaboration, but not everyone has time to attend a monthly event. After talking with a few more friends, we thought a newsletter and website might provide a nice format for people to learn more about each other.
What challenges have you faced?
Starting a project with big ideas and little budget can be hard. Luckily I have a great support group of people who pitched in to help. Additionally, there are lots of newsletters and websites out there. We have the challenge of making something eyecatching and worthwhile. I think having a good product and being confident about it is key.
Who are you collaborating with?
Everyone! No, seriously, I want to work with as many people as possible to make this project a success. Anyone with an idea for a story or a suggestion for who we should interview, contact me! I also have the pleasure of working with Kim Campbel and Mike Lorey. They both bring great talent and energy to the table.
How might this project be expanded or replicated?
We hope this project catches on in Atlanta. If so, we think it could be a great tool to replicate for other cities. Who doesn’t want to know more about the positive things going on in their neck of the woods?
What are some impacts your project is having on the community?
I hope the FEED allows the community to better connect. Being connected and aware is important for growth. I want to be part of growing and improving Atlanta.
What are some issues you see in Atlanta?
Many. Atlanta can be very divided. Whether along racial lines, class lines, East Side vs everywhere else or just between interest groups like the environment, arts, etc. We should all be proud to be Atlantans and should be working together to make our city better. Looking at current issues of contention, I think the debate of graffiti and street art comes from these devisions. No one wants out of control tags and ugly marks on everything, but Atlanta could be harnessing some of this creative energy to improve the look and feel of the city. I think some of the resistance to street art comes from misunderstanding and some of it comes from Atlanta’s image problem. Are we a Southern City of charm and manners or are we becoming a modern mecca for artists and youth? I think it is a combination, but not one that works well currently.
We also have a lack of cohesive planning. Everywhere I look there are unused or underused spaces around the city. In an economy where so many people are loosing their jobs and possibly their hope, it would be nice to make all these spaces into something for everyone to enjoy.
What help does your project need?
We need people to expand our reach. The FEED can only grow with more stories and more readers. Although all of us writers are always out making more contacts and covering more people, places and events, we can’t be everywhere. If you see something awesome, please share it at www.thefeednation.org/awesome. Also, tell your friends to sign up for our newsletter!
What are some of your favorite projects around Atlanta?
Living Walls, Fugee Families, Wheat Street Gardens urban farm, Crop Mob, all of the underground food movements. Atlanta has a very vibrant, creative vibe right now.
Where can interested readers find you?
I can usually be spotted at a few coffee shops around town- Java Vino and Inman Perk especially. Otherwise you can reach me at email@example.com.
What FEED’s your soul?
I FEED my soul with all things good. I also FEED my soul with the FEED!