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Demystifying Grant Park’s Nonprofits

Part 5: Grant Park Neighborhood Association

By Ashley Zhu

This article is part five of six detailing the major nonprofits operating in Grant Park. Ashley Zhu is a current student at Emory University. 

According to former Grant Park Neighborhood Association (GPNA) President Catherine Manci (2022-23), the organization is composed primarily of residents and business owners. Founded over 50 years ago, the organization came together for the purpose of strengthening the community and addressing issues in the Grant Park area. 

In general, GPNA works together to improve their communities through advocacy, community building, and philanthropy.

One of the committees within the organization works to advocate around land use, zoning, public safety and transportation within NPU-W (which is also this newspaper’s coverage area). They also make yearly donations to other nonprofits in the area that are doing important work within the Grant Park neighborhood, and work to improve communication within the city, such as adding new stop signs in the neighborhood.

“On top of most street signs, you’ll see little sign-toppers and they say ‘Historic Grant Park,’ and that was put together through the NPU and its neighborhood associations to put together that project and replace and expand all of our sign-toppers,” Manci said. “The goal is to give all of our neighborhoods a sense of place.”

The Grant Park Neighborhood Association also works to preserve historic buildings in the area. It does so by advising and informing residents on the neighborhood’s historic design regulations, often in collaboration with the City of Atlanta. Their preservation efforts are not just for homes, but also businesses and other historic buildings.

GPNA also recently launched a legacy committee, which is now working to include newer Grant Park members and connect them with residents who have lived in the neighborhood for a long time (typically, over 25 years). 

“Grant Park has been perpetually transitioning. In almost every city neighborhood you can see a transition,” Manci added. “And with that transition, there are different needs for different groups of people. Our Legacy Neighbors committee supports residents through programming and providing them with resources.”

To get involved, Manci recommended that people attend at least one general body meeting. After a period of time, they can join a committee and see a project through, which is a great way to get involved. They are also very open to new ideas and are excited and willing to allow people to spearhead new projects to support their community.

“The Historic Oakland [Cemetery] Foundation, the Grant Park Neighborhood Association, the Grant Park Security Patrol, the Zoo, and the Atlanta Preservation Center – we all meet together quarterly,” Manci added. “So we try to work together and figure out how we can share the work that we’re doing with each other and amplify all of our efforts. When people think about nonprofits in the neighborhood, they don’t think about them working together, but this often happens. And I think that that’s something that has made the nonprofits in our community really strong – it’s our amazing collaboration.”

As of the start of this year, and since this interview was conducted, many of the officers of GPNA’s steering committee have changed. See the updated roster and more at

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