Peterson quickly brought on fashion manager Diana Russell and in December 2013, Rebel Nell — named after Eleanor Roosevelt’s nickname Little Nell — hired three women, one of which was living in a shelter while the other two were in transitional homes. Rebel Nell Team Today, all three women are still part of Rebel Nell’s creative designer team and all are out of shelters and supporting themselves and their families. This year, Peterson and Russell plan to add two more women from shelters to the team. The two co-founders continue working their regular full-time jobs and don’t pay themselves a salary at Rebel Nell so that their employees can make a living wage. In Atlanta, Courtney Hammond and Beth Malone started their company with a noble art mission in mind and ended up transforming entire abandoned neighborhoods into prime real estate. It started in 2009 when Malone, an art journalist, and Hammond, a sculpture, decided to come up with a platform to allow upcoming artists a way to get their work out into the world. The two Georgia State University graduates explored vacant, boarded up buildings around Atlanta for their shows. Unbeknownst to them, their shows attracted so much attention, those abandoned buildings would rent out and neighborhoods would thrive long after the artists left. One of their earlier shows in the historic east Atlanta neighborhood called Edgewood Avenue turned the neglected area into one of the most active nightlife corridors in the city. Since launching their non-profit Dashboard Co-op , Hammond and Malone have had around 20 shows and are now working with city planners. The co-founders plan to travel to other small growing cities in hopes of having a similar effect in developing neighborhoods. “In the past 12 shows that we’ve had, 11 of the spaces have rented out,” says Hammond. “These are entire floors, from high rises in downtown to small store fronts.” As desire for social good increases in popularity, it’s difficult to tell whether businesses that started with this mindset is merely a trend or something that will stick around.
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