Why LAUNCH CHA?
I had the opportunity to sit down with Jeff Olingy, Director of Community Engagement at Atlantic Capital Bank who has been a LAUNCH CHA board member for 4 years and served as President for 3 years. I wanted to learn how he became involved with LAUNCH CHA and his reasons for supporting our organization.
How did you and Atlantic Capital Bank become aware of LAUNCH CHA?
In 2015 while working at the bank as the Director of Community Engagement, my team and I decided to increase the bank’s engagement in the community and have a more focused approach. With so many worthy causes in Chattanooga, we strategically set out to choose fewer organizations which allowed for greater support to each. The goal was to provide support that would be transformational.It began by first determining the bank’s areas of focus in the community. We decided to focus on education, affordable housing, and job creation. That last focus area is what brought us to LAUNCH CHA. As a good business would do, we researched and investigated different organizations looking for ones that had evidence of performance.
What made Atlantic Capital Bank decide to support LAUNCH CHA?
In the area of job creation, I kept being referred to LAUNCH CHA. We did our research which looked at the mission, impact, outcomes, and Board of Directors. The bank chose to fund LAUNCH CHA with a large donation, and I joined the Board of Directors which was standard procedure for organizations we supported at a top level.
How did your church become a LAUNCH CHA partner?
As the Chairman of the Missions Committee at Christ United Methodist Church, a donation request was made by LAUNCH CHA. Since I was very familiar with them, I explained the mission and impact and the committee chose to support LAUNCH CHA. I feel what LAUNCH CHA does is part of the Christian philosophy and what we are called to do. LAUNCH CHA gives a hand UP and not a handout. It provides tools to be successful in a competitive and challenging environment.
Why is LAUNCH CHA important for Chattanooga?
Entrepreneurship can change a community. If you look at Seattle, WA and Austin, TX, it was entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos who really changed their cities.
LAUNCH CHA establishes a base of entrepreneurs who aren’t being served by others. The individual benefits by having a viable industry and the rest of the community benefits because the entrepreneur is now a purchaser of other goods and services. LAUNCH CHA helps connect the dots.