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Moving in the Spirit

Geography Georgia

Reinvestment Fund is financing the construction of a new community theater and dance facility for Moving in the Spirit (MITS) in East Atlanta.

Founded in 1986, MITS is a leading operator in the dance and youth development field, serving over 5,000 children and teens throughout their history. Their programming is based on an award-winning curriculum that uses dance to help children and teens develop social, emotional, and cognitive skills they need to thrive. MITS targets youth ages 3-18 living in low-income households throughout the Metro Atlanta region. The majority of their students live in Atlanta’s poorest zip codes and attend Title I schools, and approximately 30% live at or below the federal poverty threshold ($29,000/year for a family of four).

MITS previously operated in a historic (an all-women’s prison in the 1800s) facility known as “The Glencastle” for 20 years. In 2015, The Glencastle was listed for sale, which led MITS to move its programming to temporary space in seven locations.

The new facility will enable MITS to significantly expand their programming to serve an additional 161 children and teens annually, nearly doubling their current enrollment of 257 children. The 21,500 square foot “A Space to Soar” building will include space for MITS offices, dance classrooms and performance. On average, children stay with MITS for 7 years and their holistic approach aids in the prevention of youth incarceration and helps children set personal goals, graduate high school on-time, and gain college acceptance.

MITS’s new facility is part of a larger transit-oriented development (TOD) that includes mixed-income housing, greenspace, parking and community amenities. The project is also part of MARTA’s broader TOD initiative aimed at increasing ridership, generating revenue and supporting both local community development and regional economic development.

Reinvestment Fund is providing a loan to bridge towards capital campaign pledges in support of the new facility. Reinvestment Fund’s loan capital includes resourced from The Kresge Foundation for creative placemaking. Invest Atlanta is providing the New Markets Tax Credits for the project. PNC Bank is the investor and Columbia Ventures is the master developer of the larger TOD development.

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