THE VISION

Woodlawn Foundation serves as a catalyst and facilitator for the transformation and revitalization of Woodlawn in Birmingham, Alabama, into a vibrant and sustainable community in which its residents have an opportunity to thrive. 

The Vision of the Woodlawn Foundation is to grow a safe and healthy community where children learn and play, families live in quality housing, parents work in stable jobs, businesses thrive and everyone contributes to the growth of Greater Birmingham.

a community quarterback

In 2010, Mike and Gillian Goodrich started Woodlawn Foundation, the lead organization or “community quarterback” of Woodlawn United – a comprehensive collaboration of partners committed to breaking the cycle of poverty in Woodlawn.

By working with residents and local stakeholders in the community, Woodlawn Foundation identifies needs within the neighborhood and leverages resources to fill those gaps with high quality services and programs.

WHAT WE BELIEVE IN

Integrity: Transparency in our work and mission, honesty and trustworthiness.
Equity: We embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion and use this as the basis of our decision making.
Passion: We are energized by our work and are fully immersed in our community and residents.
Humanity: By taking care of one another, we consistently strive to make Woodlawn the best it can be for ourselves and its residents.
Creativity: We seek new ways to be more effective in furthering our mission to the
greater good of our community.

THE FOUNDATION follows
A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO
COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION

PURPOSE BUILT COMMUNITIES

The Purpose Built Communities model for holistic community revitalization was crafted from the successful transformation of the East Lake community in Atlanta, Georgia, in the mid-1990’s. Led by local real estate developer and philanthropist Tom Cousins, Atlanta Housing Authority President and CEO Renee Glover, local resident Eva Davis and key business leaders, the partnership took the community from a poverty-stricken, crime-ridden public housing development into a thriving community with quality mixed-income housing, a top-rated school, 95% reduction in crime rates and substantial investments in commercial and residential real estate.

By utilizing lessons learned through the East Lake transformation via high quality, mixed-income housing, cradle-to-college education pipeline and community wellness programs, Purpose Built Communities is helping to make a positive impact in some the country’s most challenging neighborhoods through organizations such as Woodlawn Foundation. To date, their Network Members lead comprehensive redevelopment initiatives in more than eighteen communities across the country.

Click HERE to learn more about Purpose Built Communities

EDUCATION PIPELINE
EDUCATION PIPELINE

In the Spring of 2013, several partners joined Woodlawn Foundation in a collaborative effort to create a model school feeder pattern …

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MIXED-INCOME HOUSING
MIXED-INCOME HOUSING

Providing high quality, mixed-income and single family housing options to Woodlawn residents has been the primary real estate strategy for Woodlawn Foundation since its inception …

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COMMUNITY WELLNESS
COMMUNITY WELLNESS

We believe community wellness is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being …

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REVITALIZING A COMMUNITYTHROUGH A PROVEN MIXED-INCOME HOUSING STRATEGY
The Park at Wood Station
The Park at Wood Station is a townhouse-style development comprised of 64 homes designed to fill the need for high-quality affordable housing in the Woodlawn community. The homes are designated for families meeting the desired income levels. These apartment homes are equipped with both two and three-bedroom floor plans to meet individual needs. The Park at Wood Station is currently operating at a 100% occupancy rate with a substantial waiting list.
The Cottages at Wood Station
The Cottages at Wood Station are twelve single-family homes designed after bungalows that are original to the area. Developed by Woodlawn Foundation, ARC Realty, Design Initiative, and Drake Homes, these three bedroom / two bath homes are offered in three different floorplans and include a common green space that will be maintained by a Homeowners Association. The community is located three blocks from the Woodlawn Business District and just minutes from downtown Birmingham.
The homeowner
rehabilitation program (HRP)
The Homeowner Rehabilitation Program continues to provide much needed repairs to homes in the Woodlawn community. The program supports existing homeowners by providing renovations that address health and safety issues and enhance the quality of life for residents whom otherwise might not be able to afford the repairs. Typical repairs may include roof replacements and floor stabilizations as well as plumbing and electrical system upgrades. The program helps reduce foreclosure risk and protects the equity in residents’ homes. Thanks to several corporate, community and national funding partners, HRP has invested over $1.2 million and served over 100 families to date.
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CREATING ACRADLE-TO-COLLEGE
& CAREER PIPELINE

Woodlawn Foundation’s education efforts address the entire cradle-to-college and career continuum. Our goal is to transform the Woodlawn feeder pattern into a dynamic, 21st century system of school options and create a seamless cradle-to-college and career education pipeline through which students can move seamlessly.

James Rushton Early Learning and Family Success Center
To ensure a true pipeline, Woodlawn Foundation is focused on providing an early childhood education experience that is closely linked to area elementary schools. In partnership with the James Rushton I Foundation, Woodlawn Foundation recently constructed the James Rushton Early Learning and Family Success Center, a high-quality early learning center in Woodlawn that will be at the heart of a comprehensive child development system ensuring that children are ready to learn when they enter pre-kindergarten. The 16,000 square-foot facility accommodates up to 100 students, ages six weeks to four years old, with enrollment priority given to Woodlawn families. Tuition is based on need, with scholarships available to those meeting the criteria.
i3 Academy
New to the Woodlawn community is i3 Academy, an innovative public school opportunity that will provide rigorous academic expectations, a nurturing learning environment and a highly prepared, resourced and supported teaching system. This charter school will build upon a strong foundation of reading and math, social-emotional learning, a response-to-intervention program, project-based learning and STEAM, as well as offer wraparound services for the whole child. Serving K-5, i3 Academy will serve 420 students and open in Fall 2020.
Woodlawn Innovation Network (WIN)
In the spring of 2013, Birmingham City Schools (BCS), A+ Education Partnership (A+) and Woodlawn Foundation joined in a collaborative effort to create a model school feeder pattern to serve children living in the Woodlawn area of Birmingham. The result was the Woodlawn Innovation Network (WIN) and its vision was: that every child is college and career ready when leaving high school, that every child has an intentional path forward upon graduation, and that every child graduating from Woodlawn High School has the opportunity to earn up to 60 hours of college credit during their high school years. Although the partnership came to an end at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 school year, Woodlawn Foundation remains committed to the children, families and schools in the Woodlawn community.

Schools included in WIN:

  • Woodlawn High School
  • Hayes K-8
  • Putnam Middle School
  • Avondale Elementary
  • Oliver Elementary
Community Navigator

The new Community Navigator is the evolution of our former Managers of Community Partners. Navigators will collaborate with a wide array of community partners to meet the learning readiness needs of all residents, to create safe and supportive learning environments, to strengthen families in support of education and to support community advancement. The Navigator is charged with interfacing and planning with community partners and integrating programs and services into the community. Working with a community-based team, the Navigator facilitates activities within five domains of focus: youth development, comprehensive wellness, family support, education, and community engagement.

Summer Programming

I3 Academy/Camp Invention: I3 Academy, Alabama’s most recently approved public charter school, brings the nationally recognized summer program Camp Invention to the greater Woodlawn community. Camp Invention was created by members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. This camp will serve students from grades K-4, providing them with an opportunity to experience project-based learning in the areas of reading, mathematics and STEM. This camp is being conducted at St. Barnabas Catholic School and will serve as a preview to the academic offerings of I3 Academy.

Summer Bridge: Summer Bridge is a free program designed to help familiarize high school students from Woodlawn with various aspects of collegiate life, both academically and socially. The program’s objectives are to assist students in an academically challenging high school environment; to expose students to, and engage them in, college project-based learning experiences to develop and reinforce academic skills; to provide students with an opportunity to begin building and utilizing community resources while building peer networks; and to acclimate students to a college campus and career planning. Week long camps will be conducted at both UAB and Jefferson State Community College campuses.

Woodlawn Music Tech Summer Camp: The Woodlawn Music Tech Summer Camp is for middle through high school age students and is designed to build awareness of the technology used in music production and recording engineering. Campers are exposed to the latest music and video production tools, such as Garage Band, Pro Tools, Reason, and iMovie. They learn how to compose and record their own songs and gain real-world experiences in the state-of-the-art recording studios and music tech labs at Audiostate 55.

YWCA-Crew

The YWCA Central Alabama annually conducts a summer program called CREW (Creating Responsible Educated Working teens). This eight-week summer enrichment program offers job skill training as well as academic and personal development opportunities. Participants engage in a myriad of sessions which focus on the importance of education, dress code, work ethic, commitment, listening skills, responsibility, team building exercises and professional preparation. The program invites rising 8th through 12th grade students to attend while earning a weekly stipend during the summer.

Healthy Families Initiative

The Healthy Families Initiative is a collaborative effort backed by the District Attorney, working in conjunction with area school districts, to identify resources to assist and prevent the families of students from entering the family court system. There are inter-agency-team (IAT) meetings comprised of different agencies including Birmingham P.D., JBS Mental Health, DHR, Family Court and others where information is shared to provide context concerning the experiences of individual families to discover root causes contributing to various identifiable issues. Community stakeholders work with the families to devise the best course of action to Help the Family resolve various issues and to hopefully avoid any future occurrences.

Workforce Readiness

In response to the need for adult workforce training, Woodlawn Foundation recently launched Woodlawn WORx to holistically address the economic mobility needs within the community. By building key partnerships among best-practice providers, Woodlawn WORx creates an insulated pipeline of wraparound services, allowing our residents to overcome the barriers that have prohibited them from accessing and completing workforce development programs in the past and putting them on a path to economic success.

Woodlawn Foundation recently celebrated the graduation of the inaugural class of a new Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) program. Students completed the twelve-week program in partnership with Christ Health Center and Jefferson State Community College. The graduates will seek job opportunities in the community or with larger medical facilities across the city. The collaborative community-based CMA program is offered at no cost to participants and is the first of its kind in Woodlawn to provide certification opportunities that prepares and equips its graduates with the necessary skills relevant in the current job market as well as for future growth. Most importantly, it provides Woodlawn residents with access to increased financial opportunities. The CMA program will continue with future classes with the addition of new certification programs to follow.

WIN SUCCESS STORIES

Managers of Community Partners (MCP)
Woodlawn Foundation provides a Manager of Community Partners (MCP) in each of the five schools in the Woodlawn network whose sole purpose is to connect families to support services and coordinate partners in six areas: youth development, health, mental health, family support, education and community engagement. These school-level quarterbacks serve as front line support for parents at each school.

Early College
Early College gives Woodlawn High students the opportunity to earn up to 60 hours of college credit in high school. Early College is a partnership between Birmingham City Schools, University of Alabama-Birmingham, and Jefferson State Community College that gives Woodlawn High students the opportunity to earn up to 60 hours of college credit in high school. To date, Woodlawn High School students have earned more than 1100 college hours through Early College.

Professional Development
Greater Birmingham Math Partnership (GBMP) and WIN are working together to assist teachers in using inquiry-based instruction to increase student achievement. Teachers from Avondale and Oliver Elementary Schools began working with GBMP during the summer of 2017 when teachers took a 4-day inquiry-based mathematics course on “Equations and Expressions” which then modeled the instruction that teachers would implement with their students. During this school year, teachers have been participating in follow-up monthly Professional Learning Community meetings to plan and then observe in-the moment lessons with WIN students. GBMP’s research since 2004 has shown that when teachers implement inquiry-based curriculum, student achievement increases.

Academic Achievement

Our collaborative work led to:

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CULTIVATING PARTNERSTO ADDRESS COMMUNITY NEEDS

We believe community wellness is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. In order to cultivate the healthy and safe neighborhood that Woodlawn’s citizens deserve, we are working with residents and partners to provide access to health services, wellness programs in schools, more green space, walking trails, healthy food, quality retail amenities, and more.

Jones Valley Teaching Farm
In 2016, Jones Valley Teaching Farm implemented working farm labs at all five schools in the Woodlawn network, providing gardens that serve as outdoor classrooms. Students plant, tend and harvest the fruits and vegetables at each farm lab, then sell the produce at student-run markets. Not only do students learn the science of growing fruits and vegetables but also how to run a business.

Most recently, Woodlawn High School students now have an opportunity to develop professional and personal skills through a new, year-round apprenticeship from Jones Valley Teaching Farm. The two-year program allows participants to contribute to JVTF’s overall mission and success by working directly with students at each of the labs. Started in the Summer of 2017 and expanded in 2018, the program employs two full-time and two part-time salaried positions.

JVTF continues to be a valued partner in our mission to revitalize and energize the Woodlawn Community. Click here to learn more about Jones Valley Teaching Farm.
Urban Main
Urban Main, a new program of Main Street America, offers a set of community-driven economic development services to help under-resourced neighborhood commercial districts such as Woodlawn restore economic vitality and promote quality of life. In collaboration with REV Birmingham, Woodlawn Foundation hired three community residents to lead the “Woodlawn Urban Main” initiative and its three committees: promotion, design and economic vitality. Each will play a significant role in the collective path to revitalization and is a step forward to meaningfully engaging and compensating residents for their work.

Still in the early stages, Woodlawn Urban Main seeks to achieve equitable entrepreneurship through the recruitment of new community-based opportunities, including more family-friendly, creative arts and home-based businesses. Specific to Woodlawn, the Façade Rehab Project is geared to spur creativity and beautification in the overall design of Woodlawn’s business district, including façade repairs, window displays, murals, landscaping and more.
Woodlawn Legal Help Desk

Seeking to address the legal needs of residents in the community, Woodlawn Foundation partnered with Birmingham Bar Volunteer Lawyer’s Program to create the “Woodlawn Legal Help Desk”, a place-based program offering pro bono legal services in an accessible and equitable manner. Many estate-related topics are covered during the monthly sessions, including wills, housing issues, insurance challenges and other non-criminal areas.

Woodlawn Neighborhood Associations

In 2019 we saw new leadership emerge in the Woodlawn Community. At the foundation we are seeking to develop and expand leadership capacity for residents and will launch a new leadership program designed to help foster relationships and promote more community lead revitalization efforts. Residents continue to be the central focus of our work and we will continue to support them and amplify their voice.

Current Neighborhood Association Presidents:

  • Ms. Doris Jones – East Avondale
  • Mr. James Hill – Oak Ridge Park
  • Mr. Arnold King – South Woodlawn
  • Ms. Valencia King – Woodlawn

Christ Health Center
Christ Health Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center that provides high quality healthcare to families of Woodlawn and surrounding areas regardless of their insurance needs. Recently, the Center expanded its operations by completing construction of a $2.8 million, 6,300 square foot freestanding facility on land originally owned by Woodlawn Foundation. In addition to providing access to primary care, dental services, professional counseling and an onsite pharmacy, the expansion will now offer six additional examination rooms, more case management space and a training space, all focusing on mental and behavioral health services.

Click here to learn more about Christ Health Center.
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STAY CONNECTED
@woodlawnfoundation