Begun in 2011 as a community project organized by a group of neighbors, the Madison Ave Derby has helped many area nonprofits serving the needs of children. Through local business sponsorships, participation by racers, and community giving, the event has raised nearly $250,000 in its first ten years, including $40,000 raised in 2021 for the Decatur Student Center.
Featuring creatively-themed race cars, food vendors, and entertainment, the event has grown from 20 competitors in 2011 to more than 100 racers in recent years, with an estimated 1,000 spectators lining Madison Avenue to cheer them on and dozens of volunteers working behind the scenes.
We are an all-volunteer organization and welcome any support you have to offer. If you are interested, even if just to volunteer a few hours of your busy schedule, we would love to have you.
(By the way, the Madison Ave Derby is in no way affiliated with the All-American Soap Box Derby.)
Friends of Refugees empowers refugees through opportunities in education, employment, and well-being. Last year, they positioned more than 1,840 new Americans for success through mother and child education classes, comprehensive support for expecting moms, employment training, and a community garden. Friends of Refugees has walked hand-in-hand with Atlanta’s refugee community for more than 25 years, and they are proud that more than 50% of their staff are new Americans.
This year, the U.S. will resettle ten times more refugees than in 2020. Friends of Refugees expects a similar increase in refugees settled in Metro Atlanta, creating an urgent need to increase services so that new Americans are able to thrive.
Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby is partnering with Friends of Refugees (FOR) and their Refugee Family Literacy (RFL) program to support the mother and child education classes, serving over 250 students and 125 adult learners through a family literacy approach.
Decatur Student Center
Decatur Student Center provides wrap-around services beyond the scope of the school counseling program. Through the DSC, students can receive individual and small group counseling for social-emotional concerns, as well as support for academics and post-secondary planning.
Decatur Robotics is a STEAM organization (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) based in Decatur, GA devoted to inspiring youth to be science and technology leaders and innovators. Decatur Robotics engages elementary, middle and high school students in exciting programs and competitions that build 21st century skills and foster life capabilities including self-confidence, communication and leadership.
FOCUS helps families cope with the overwhelming struggles of parenting a child with special needs. Through the years, FOCUS has grown to offer comfort and hope to parents and fun programs for children with disabilities. FOCUS reaches almost 3,000 families in metro Atlanta and surrounding areas.
GiGi's Playhouse Atlanta
GiGi’s Playhouse Atlanta is dedicated to providing free therapeutic programming, resources, and support to families of individuals with T21/ Trisomy 21/Down syndrome. Programs at GiGi’s Playhouse Atlanta address the developmental needs of children with T21/Down syndrome, including the areas of gross motor, fine motor, intellectual, social, and communication development.
Global Village Project
Established in 2009, Global Village Project (GVP) is an innovative school for refugee young women from more than 12 different countries. The school's curriculum equips refugee newcomers with the academic and social skills they need to succeed in high school and beyond.
Reading is Essential for All People
Reading is Essential for All People (REAP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving reading proficiency in public school students through teacher training and enrichment. REAP provides public school teachers with specialized training that reinforces the foundations of reading. These training approaches are helpful for any child, in any classroom, small group, or one-on-one situation, and are especially critical for struggling readers.
DEF and SEPTA
In 2018, the Madison Avenue Community Fund selected two organizations that support student achievement. Decatur Education Foundation (DEF)’s “Lighten the Load” initiative provides food, clothing, and other resources to families of students living in need. City Schools of Decatur Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA) exists to serve families and educators of children receiving special education and gifted services in the district.
Hagar's House is an emergency night shelter and assessment center with support services for women with children. While participating in the program, families receive thorough assessment and crisis intervention, two meals per day, laundry facilities, MARTA fares, computer training opportunities, employment counseling, a support group, and referrals to other services, such as free child care, legal assistance, and health care. Hagar's House is a Decatur Cooperative Ministry program.
The mission of Our House is to end the cycle of homelessness for families. They provide shelter for families experiencing homelessness to live and education for children experiencing homelessness to thrive. Their interrelated programs address the root causes of homelessness and ensure every family that leaves Our House has the tools needed to achieve lasting self-sufficiency.