Our Roots


13 Jul: The Three Pronged Approach

Tom and his partners at East Lake came up with a three-pronged approach to work with the community to overcome its challenges. They introduced high-quality housing options that integrated various income levels, developed a cradle-through-career pipeline to ensure residents were provided high-quality options at every step along their educational pathway and introduced community wellness programs to build healthy outcomes for East Lake.


13 Jul: Helping the Whole

Tom wanted to do something about this. So he joined forces with resident leaders, community stakeholders, and the Atlanta Housing Authority to invest in a holistic vision. Together, they focused on helping the WHOLE of the community rather than on any one part.


13 Jul: Amazing Results

Well, Tom and his team were onto something, because the results were amazing! A new charter school now ranks as one of the top performing schools in Atlanta, crime rates went down by 97% and employment increased dramatically. Twenty years later, East Lake continues to evolve and thrive as a community for all.


17 Jul: Success Elsewhere?

Tom told his two buddies, Warren Buffett and hedge-fund manager Julian Robertson, about the efforts in East Lake and they were intrigued by the possibilities. They wondered if this three-pronged approach could work in other communities where a little help (like creating fair policies) and a little hope (like dreaming of good job opportunities) were needed to give families a new chance.


17 Jul: Purpose-Built Communities

In 2009, Tom, Warren, and Julian founded Purpose Built Communities, a non-profit aimed at spreading this holistic approach to bring about community success in other U.S. neighborhoods. To learn more about the Purpose Built model, visit: https://purposebuiltcommunities.org