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Overcoming Hardship: The Story of The Elizabeth Foundation

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After finding a path out of her own struggles with homelessness and addiction, Tracy Thompson found her calling. She committed herself to helping people who the world has forgotten. Having experienced life from their perspective, she is uniquely qualified to build connections and rapport with the people who are in fragile living situations. She can empathize with them in ways most others cannot, because she was one of them for many years. Not only does this connection allow her to recognize the value of things as simple as a clean pair of socks, it also promotes a level of trust. This trust is essential when someone is ready to move up – to get into rehab, to seek treatment, to find their own way out of their struggles.

After finding a path out of her own struggles with homelessness and addiction, Tracy Thompson found her calling. She committed herself to helping people who the world has forgotten. Having experienced life from their perspective, she is uniquely qualified to build connections and rapport with the people who are in fragile living situations. She can empathize with them in ways most others cannot, because she was one of them for many years. Not only does this connection allow her to recognize the value of things as simple as a clean pair of socks, it also promotes a level of trust. This trust is essential when someone is ready to move up – to get into rehab, to seek treatment, to find their own way out of their struggles.

As part of her journey, Tracy has sought out, built, and nurtured partnerships with a number of agencies that serve the community in different ways. From housing referrals to syringe-exchange services, from food donations to legal assistance, Tracy has built a strong network of resources to assist the people most in need. This led to the creation of the Elizabeth Foundation, an organization whose mission is to support and empower these outreach efforts. The Elizabeth Foundation was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2018, and has continued to build the networks and infrastructure to support the work. The Elizabeth Foundation’s board now consists of social workers, people in recovery, committed community members, politicians, and activists. The Board is made up of people who are committed towards helping the Elizabeth Foundation serve as many people as possible.

At the core of the Elizabeth Foundation’s mission is the inherent worth and dignity of every human being. Regardless of the circumstances of their life, regardless of the mistakes they may have made, or the misfortunes that may have befallen them, we don’t judge. If someone is ready to take a step towards a better life, we will help. If they’re not ready yet, then we will do what we can. We will keep them fed, clothed, and healthy. We will remind them that they are human beings, and we will be there for them when it’s time to try and turn things around.

Elizabeth Foundation Clients
About - The Elizabeth Foundation

BOARD MEMBERS

Tracy Thompson

Founder

Tracy is the soul of TEF. She is the main outreach organizer, case manager to clients in need, develops trust with clients by spending quality one-on-one time with each of them; learning their stories, where they come from, and where they wish to go. Being a recovering alcoholic and experiencing homelessness herself, she has qualifications that make her a true leader at TEF. Tracy is our main spokesperson with local county authorities (Dekalb and Chamblee Police Departments, other non-profit cross-collaboration).

Every waking minute outside of her job is poured into TEF. She founded TEF in 2018 but her heart has always been for those in need. Her networking skills to obtain resources is excellent, but what she truly shines at is loving our clients “where they are” and developing trust to move them further into recovery and a “good life.”

Marie Hurt

Lilly Marie Hurt

Board Chair and Director of Client Services

Marie manages many aspects of The Elizabeth Foundation programs including coordinating donations/meals, enlisting volunteers, client engagement, outreach, and temporary-to-permanent housing. Marie and her husband Mike’s philosophy is a desire to be the hands and feet of God by serving those in need.

Marie has learned many things watching Tracy’s interactions with those in need. Some of the more important points are building strong ties with clients, spending time with clients, and developing trust which creates a win-win environment for a path to success.

Allen Welty-Green, LMSW

Board Member

Allen oversees The Elizabeth Foundation ’s Board, coordinates resources for clients including harm reduction, counseling, resources for mental health issues. He also builds relationships with other agencies to reach The Elizabeth Foundation ’s goals and bonds with our clients on a personal level based on his social worker background.

Allen works as a primary therapist at Southeast Addiction Center in Norcross, GA, and sees individual clients at Heartwork Counseling Center in Decatur. He is also a musician, playing in various bands around Atlanta.

Donald Smith

Treasurer

Donald oversees the operational activities for The Elizabeth Foundation. He is mission driven and growth focused with 15+ years of success strategizing sustainable organizational growth and enhancing enterprise-wide performance.

Donald and his wife Kristi have a passion for those in need and his background serves him well as The Elizabeth Foundation Treasurer.

Bob Hurt

Secretary

With 20+ years in the U.S. Air Force, Bob brings a great discipline to the Foundation. As Secretary, he is responsible for all things administrative of board management to ensure each meeting is smooth and productive. Bob is also very active as a Foundation volunteer and serves each week in program outreach. Organizing donation drives with his church and local non-profits, Bob is a great asset to our team.

John Lawrence

John Lawrence

Harm Reduction Management

John manages weekly outreach of harm reduction supplies to provide for clients, research new opportunities for agency partnerships, and conducts research for new resources for The Elizabeth Foundation. John is a devoted intern at The Elizabeth Foundation and is working on his degree in social work. He is excellent at building relationships with The Elizabeth Foundation clients, learning their stories and providing basic harm reduction supplies on a weekly basis.

Jennifer Kelly, LCSW

Jennifer Kelly is a licensed clinical social worker based in Georgia with years of experience in providing mental health services. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Georgia, where she gained the skills and knowledge needed to work with individuals, families, and groups in a clinical setting. Jennifer has worked in various settings such as state social service programs, the felony judicial system, hospitals, and individual therapy providing counseling, mitigation, advocacy, and support to people struggling with mental health, substance abuse and social/resource inequity issues.

Sarah Harrington Cross

Sarah H. Cross, PhD, LMSW, MPH

Currently faculty in the medical school at Emory University, Sarah previously spent several years as a social worker in hospice and palliative care. Her research focuses on identifying, understanding, and improving the experiences of people facing structural inequities at end of life. She is especially interested in research efforts to address the serious illness needs of people who live on the street. Sarah began volunteering with The Elizabeth Foundation’s weekly outreach program, providing food and hygiene supplies, and supporting harm reduction efforts. Truly moved by the dedication of The Elizabeth Foundation’s volunteers and the organization’s recognition that simply showing up for people can save lives, Sarah has kept coming back.

Fletcher Cline, DIY Pest Control

Fletcher and his father own Do-It-Yourself Pest Control which has developed a strong relationship with the Elizabeth Foundation and helps in areas such as community outreach, jobs and funding. Fletcher brings an eager drive to help the Elizabeth Foundation continue its successful path forward. Fletcher is new to this type of social work but has developed a quick passion for the cause and follows the footsteps of Tracy and the other members of the board.

In Memoriam…

Michael David Rucker
1960 ~ 2022

Mike Rucker was a beloved member of The Elizabeth Foundation family. His tireless work, exuberant joy, and endless compassion for the homeless community of Atlanta was incomparable. TEF and the Atlanta Metro is better for the time Mike was with us on this journey and he is sorely missed. If we could have but a fraction of the generous spirit and servant’s heart we would, or world would, be better for it. God bless you Mike…until we see you again!

IN THE NEWS

The Elizabeth Foundation was featured on CBS 46 Atlanta as they discussed “The Hill,” Atlanta’s largest homeless camp.