Believe. Everyday we have the choice to believe that there is hope for the future, hope for people, & hope for new possibilities in our city. In 2010 a group of servant leaders formed a 501(c)3 organization called the East Lake Initiative (ELI). ELI partners to strategically provide holistic community development within the greater East Lake area. Through the intentional collaboration of the business community, local governments, educational institutions, and churches, ELI seeks to cultivate strategic relationships for the sake of community transformation in East Lake. We have made a 25 year commitment to this effort. Your consideration of support in this initiative is greatly appreciated.

-Paul Lawler

Senior Pastor, Christ Church Birmingham

Want to know what's going on in East Lake? Click to read our 2017 year-end newsletter.

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Introducing the GROW Nutrition Program

How $100 will help a student grow

Consider sponsoring a student in our pilot nutrition program! 

To GROW the impact of  our existing neighborhood garden, ELI is partnering with Samford University, the Community Food Bank, Urban Ministry, and REV Birmingham to show students easy ways to incorporate fresh vegetables and fruits into their diets and providing free produce to encourage this change.

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We believe that the children in this community are the key to generational change.  We currently have close relationships with Barrett Elementary School, Ossie Ware Mitchell Middle School, and Banks Academy High School.  We provide 30+ tutors a week as well as 10+ mentors to their students.  We help with PTA, provide art classes at the middle school, support athletics, help facilitate field day events, and are beginning to work more closely with parents.


We are helping to bring back pride in the neighborhood through house to home transformations.  By acquiring distressed properties and renovating them to be quality homes we are able to offer tenants safe and secure housing options.  Residents enter into a mentoring relationship that prepares them to be homeowners.  The mentorship includes financial counseling and other types of support as they move towards successful home ownership.  We are currently starting a new program, LAUNCH Homeownership Program where families can move into an ELI Owned apartment for 12 months while they begin preparing for the road to homeownership.

Health and Nutrition

Nutritious food and access to quality healthcare are essential to one’s well-being.  We believe that everyone deserves access to these things including our neighbors in East Lake.  ELI is working with other local resources to make this a reality.  This summer we saw the first fruits of these efforts in our East Lake Neighborhood Garden Co-op.

Economic Development

We realize that in order to foster long-term economic development, we need to have multi-income households in the community.  In addition, ELI seeks to work with local entrepreneurs to see positive businesses come to the 1st Ave North business district.  The ultimate goal would be to positively impact the lives of low-income families by increasing their access to goods and services that are essential.

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