Atlanta-Based Nonprofit to Develop Roadmap to Eco-Friendly Future

DEKALB COUNTY, GA (July 31, 2023) -– As part of widespread efforts to improve sustainability in DeKalb County under the Clean Energy Transition Plan, Southface Institute, an Atlanta-based sustainable building nonprofit, has been selected to steer the county towards a future of 100% clean energy, defined as energy produced through means that do not directly pollute the atmosphere. Southface will develop an extensive energy transition plan to be presented to county leadership by August 2024 and will partner with four other organizations – Atlanta-based Cherry Street Energy, Atlanta-based Clean Cities Georgia, Atlanta-based IB Environmental, and Maryland based Energetics.

“Southface is excited to continue working with DeKalb County to set and achieve ambitious goals that benefit residents, businesses, community services, and the environment,” said James Marlow, President of Southface Institute. “With county staff, Clean Cities Georgia, Cherry Street Energy, and other sustainability leaders collaborating, this outstanding team has what it takes to make a real impact.”

Components of this transition plan will include recommendations on how to enhance the use of solar energy in municipal buildings, increase the number of clean energy vehicles, increase equity, and address “energy burdens” (the percentage of gross household income spent on energy costs) within the county. It will also include strategic opportunities for public education, which will begin as early as fall 2023. The funding for the plan came from the 2022 Fiscal Year General Fund Budget, an agenda item sponsored by District 6.

This partnership and plan development is another step towards making DeKalb a 100% clean energy county, a commitment the Board of Commissioners made in 2021 via unanimous vote. The 2021 resolution calls for the county to transition to use 50% renewable energy by 2025, and 100% by 2035. By 2045, the county would be using 100% clean energy community-wide.

DeKalb County Commissioner Ted Terry, a longtime environmental activist, champion of the Clean Energy Transition Plan, and leader of the DeKalb Green New Deal movement, says the partnership with Southface is a thrilling development that he’s been eagerly awaiting.

“Passing our transition plan in 2021 was a historic achievement. I knew even then that Southface was the right group for the job,” Commissioner Terry said. “Now and future generations need an action plan to save our planet, and that is exactly what we are developing with Southface and other tremendous environmental leaders. Together, we will make DeKalb a greener, more equitable place for all.”

Work on this yearlong project has already begun, partnering first with Energetics and IB Environmental to inventory greenhouse gas usage by government facilities and vehicles. Southface Institute will announce its initial public education and discussion sessions in August, allowing community members to get involved in this monumental process for the county.

Additional Partner Quotes:

As a small, local firm, IB Environmental is excited to be part of this project. Assessing and promoting energy equity for DeKalb County residents resonates deeply with our mission to increase the appreciation for water and energy resources, while promoting sound environmental policy through research, education, and action. We are looking forward to working with our partners Southface, Energetics, and Cherry Street to improve energy efficiency and low-emission strategies in DeKalb County.

-Stacey Isaac Berahzer, Founder and CEO, IB Environmental

“Energetics has a long history of supporting energy resilience planning and the development of clean transportation solutions, and we’re looking forward to working on solutions that impact the citizens of DeKalb County. We are equally excited to partner with Southface, Clean Cities Georgia, IB Environmental, and Cherry Street Energy to contribute our expertise to the development of the County’s Clean Energy Transportation Transition Plan.”

-Walt Zalis, Program Director, Energetics Inc.

“Clean Cities Georgia is excited to partner with DeKalb County on their Clean Energy Transportation Transition Plan. We have assembled knowledgeable partners with Southface, IB Environmental, Cherry Street Energy and Energetics. DeKalb is leading in developing sustainable buildings and transportation infrastructure. We think this is a model that can be replicated with other municipalities.”

 -Frank Morris, Executive Director, Clean Cities Georgia

“The Cherry Street Energy team is thrilled to support DeKalb County in its pursuit of this meaningful 100% clean energy goal. This project shows the leadership and commitment necessary to find impact for the community in the transition to renewable energy.”

-Michael Chanin, CEO, Cherry Street Energy

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ABOUT Southface Institute

ABOUT DeKalb County Super District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry

Contact: Kelly Cato, Chief of Staff, DeKalb County, District 6,

Press Contact: Kae Holloway, Publicist,

DeKalb Passes Non-Discrimination Ordinance

On July 11, your DeKalb County Board of Commissioners passed a Non-Discrimination Ordinance, strengthening protections for vulnerable residents in unincorporated areas of the county. 

The ordinance, along with a proclamation by DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond and the Board of Commissioners recognizing June as Pride Month and our official raising of the Pride Flag, illustrates our county’s support for its LGBTQIA+ citizens.

The passage of both of these could not come at a more pivotal time. Many people across the country feel vulnerable to discrimination, notably following the outcome of major higher court decisions. It is critical that we as leaders do everything within our power to make our county inclusive and welcoming.

Here’s a clip from when I introduced this item in June at the BOC.

To say I am proud of the strides we are taking to achieve this would be an understatement. I echo and lift up our CEO’s support of these efforts, too:

“DeKalb County Governing Authority is committed to making the county an inclusive place for all to live, work and play,” CEO Thurmond said. 

I also thank my fellow Commissioner, District 2’s Michelle Long Spears, for her support:

“I thank Commissioner Terry for bringing this matter forward and wholeheartedly support these efforts to create a more inclusive and welcoming county for all residents,” District 2 Commissioner Michelle Long Spears said. “Adopting this legislation codifies diversity, equity and inclusion in the provision of public accommodations, housing and employment in our County.”

– Ted


To schedule an interview with Commissioner Terry, contact Kae Holloway (

About the Ordinance:

The Non-Discrimination Ordinance prohibits “discrimination against any person on the basis of basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, genetic information, familial status, political affiliation, political opinion, sexual orientation, domestic relationship status, parental status, gender identity, or racial profiling in private employment and/or in places of public accommodations.”

Violation of this ordinance can result in a six-month suspension of a business license or, should they drive a taxi or other services, a suspension of their driver’s permit.  

The ordinance was drafted in partnership with Georgia Equality, which has worked with several other Georgia municipalities, including Tucker, to pass similar ordinances.

The ordinance provides in-depth descriptions of the protected classes. This includes adding and updating definitions for gender identity, parental status, and any and all protected classes.



DEKALB COUNTY, GA (Monday, February 13, 2023)  -–  On Monday, February 13, at Georgetown University, DeKalb County Commissioner Ted Terry will join an impressive group of fellow County elected officials from across the country to launch Counties for a Guaranteed Income (CGI). This roundtable and subsequent kick-off for CGI is an expansion of the success of the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), which began in June 2020. 

Currently, MGI has grown to represent more than 29 million and has provided more than $210 million in relief to Americans. CGI aims to expand that, driven by a commitment to advancing a federal guaranteed income – direct, recurring cash payments to the poor and middle class.

“It is a bold idea and will spark conversation about the future of work, the challenges faced by the working poor, and the sad realities of the welfare system in America,” Commissioner Terry said. “I am honored to not only represent DeKalb but also to be the only participant from the entire state of Georgia. It is imperative that we as leaders come together from across state lines to discuss real solutions for all.” 

Like MGI, Counties for Guaranteed Income will consolidate key learning from the pilots taking place in CGI member Counties to address knowledge gaps and allow the organization to layer data with anecdotal evidence through rigorous experimentation and narrative methods.

Participants of the roundtable included MGI Founder Michael Tubbs and CGI Founders: 

DeKalb County Commissioner Ted Terry

Durham Commissioner Nida Allam

President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Susan Ellenberg 

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Lindsey Horvath

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando

Ramsey Commissioner Rena Moran 

President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners Toni Preckwinkle 

Founding members include:

Durham Commissioner Nida Allam 

President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Susan Ellenberg

Harris Commissioner Rodney Ellis

Hennepin Board Chair Irene Fernando

Caddo Commissioner Stormy Gage-Watts

Hennepin Commissioner Marion Greene               

Los Angeles Supervisor Lindsey Horvath

Durham Board Chair Brenda Howerton

Santa Fe Commissioner Hank Hughes 

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando

Multnomah Commissioner Susheela Jayapal

Ramsey Commissioner Trista MatasCastillo

Pierce Council Chair Ryan Mello

Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Holly Mitchell

Ramsey Commissioner Rena Moran

Dane County Executive Joseph Parisi

President of the Cook Board of Commissioners Toni Preckwinkle

DeKalb Commissioner Ted Terry

King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay


DEKALB COUNTY, GA (December 28th, 2022)  -– Decatur Presbyterian Church-Threshold Ministries will extend financial assistance to those in need after receiving a $100,000 American Rescue Plan grant from DeKalb County Super District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry. Threshold is the church’s outreach ministry to the homeless and those suffering other effects of poverty. With this funding, the organization will be able to provide aid to approved applicants in need of housing, transportation and other supportive services, primarily those impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis. The focus of this specific grant will be on those whose life situation has been impacted by physical and/or mental health disability.

“Decatur Presbyterian Church has been an integral part of Decatur for almost 200 years,” Commissioner Ted Terry said. “The pandemic hit our communities hard, and many are still struggling to recover from its broad impact. With this grant money, we can help so many in DeKalb get back on their feet, with Threshold as a beacon of hope for those in need.”

A third of U.S. adults say they or someone in their household has been laid off or lost a job since the outbreak began in February 2020. This left and continues to leave many families and individuals struggling to make ends meet. Threshold Ministry’s purpose is to connect those in need with helpful resources and critical funds. This ARP appropriation will strengthen those efforts.

“One of the keys going forward to address poverty and homelessness will be for governments, non-profits, churches, and corporations to collaborate more readily with one another, seeking solutions that make significant, long-term impacts for individuals and for the broader community,” Reverend Todd Speed of Decatur Presbyterian Church said.

To receive assistance, those interested should submit an application that details their circumstances and demonstrates efforts to tap into community resources. Those approved can receive housing and transportation assistance, as well as financial support to assist with hardships or employment issues stemming from COVID-19. Applications will close on January 31, 2023.

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DEKALB COUNTY, GA (Tuesday, December 20)  -– At 2022’s final Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday, December 20, DeKalb County’s Board approved a resolution that unwaveringly declares the county’s support for women and those who can bear children to have safe access to all reproductive healthcare needs, including abortion. The resolution was first introduced by Super District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry over the summer in response to the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe V. Wade on June 24. The overturning of this landmark case made Georgia’s Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act enforceable, which bans abortions after about 6 weeks of pregnancy and limits access to other reproductive care services.   

“Fundamental rights have been taken away from hundreds of thousands of our residents,” Commissioner Terry, said. “In DeKalb County, we want to protect the right to choose and access vital reproductive healthcare services. This is not a decision that a politician should make. It’s a personal decision between the one carrying the child, family and their healthcare provider.”

In light of the overturn of Roe V. Wade and the now-enforceable LIFE Act, there is growing concern that those seeking or providing abortion services could be subject to investigation, arrest and prosecution. Commissioner Terry believes this to be a waste of law enforcement resources, especially as constituents and officers themselves want to see more emphasis put on stopping more violent offenses. 

“We know in DeKalb that violent crime is a top priority. We don’t need to be spending police resources investigating our own citizens, our own communities, our healthcare providers,” Commissioner Terry said. “This is not a priority for our law enforcement or to our community.”

In addition to supporting safe access to abortions, the resolution would also encourage the administration to add verbiage to the county employee benefits system that includes access to vital reproductive healthcare resources.

“I’m proud of the support this has received from my fellow Commissioners, and that DeKalb is willing to take a stand and protect our women and child-bearing individuals,” Terry said.

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DEKALB COUNTY, GA (Sept. 13, 2022)  -– Roughly 6,000 DeKalb County employees can now receive four hours of paid time off to vote in any primary, general or run-off election, either on Election Day or to cast ballots in advance. The resolution was introduced by Super District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry back in May and received unanimous approval during Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting. Commissioner Terry said introducing the VOTE resolution was an easy decision as it aims to support an increase in voter turnout. 

“Our goal should always be to make sure voting is accessible to all,” Commissioner Terry said. “By giving our workers designated time off to cast their ballot, we’re eliminating an obstacle that could keep them from the polls. This resolution also expands language equity and access for future elections.”

DeKalb County joins a growing movement of local governments and businesses who have mandated time off to vote on or close to Election Day, which is not currently recognized as a federal holiday. In Georgia, DeKalb is now one of few governments that offer PTO to vote. Others include the City of Clarkston, where Commissioner Terry once served as mayor, and South Fulton County. The new policy will be in effect by Election Day, November 8, 2022.

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DEKALB COUNTY, GA (August 2022)  -– Tekton Career Training, a DeKalb County-based business that focuses on training refugees in trade careers, is extending and expanding its Empower Clarkston program after receiving a combined $375,000 from DeKalb County Super District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry and the City of Clarkston. Commissioner Terry awarded Tekton $250,000 in American Rescue Plan (ARP) grant funding, and The City of Clarkston provided Tekton with $125,000 in ARP grant funding.

A press conference will be held detailing more about this announcement: 

When: Wednesday, September 7, 10 a.m.

Where: Tekton Training Facilities, 3529 Church St Suite D, Clarkston, GA 30021

Attending: DeKalb County Commissioner Ted Terry, City of Clarkston Mayor Beverly Burks, City of Clarkston Councilmember YT Bell, Tekton Career Training representatives

Empower Clarkston, one of many training programs Tekton offers, is a two-week, paid course that teaches participants how to renovate and incorporate energy-efficient upgrades to existing homes, apartments and other residences. This includes installing window and door sealants that reduce heat and air leaks, repairing structural damage and ensuring air ducts are sealed properly. Upgrades are free to homeowners. Participants in last year’s program saw a 35 percent decrease in their energy and electricity bills.

“Empower Clarkston benefits a broad range of people. Refugees seeking employment can get paid to learn necessary trades, and often can graduate with a job offer. Homeowners, especially those in need, can also get money-saving upgrades to their residences free of charge,” Alyson Luzetsky, program manager at Tekton, said. “With this funding, we’ll be able to continue to offer this program for at least an additional two years.”

The new Empower Clarkston program is currently accepting applications for trainees and homeowners. The first training class starts on September 19.

“By funding Empower Clarkston, we can ensure better workforce training, provide energy-efficient improvements for vulnerable residents and strengthen our county’s fight against climate change,” Commissioner Ted Terry said. “I’m thrilled to see this fantastic program continue to spread good throughout our county.”

Commissioner Terry recognized the need to expand this program and its benefits, encouraging Tekton to apply for grant funding last year. He said it’s vital to support businesses and organizations that give back to the county in such multi-faceted ways. Through this and other Tekton programs, refugees are able to secure stable jobs, giving them solid ground to lay roots in their new communities. At the same time, homeowners and renters benefit from lower bills and more energy-efficient, green homes.

Clarkston City Councilwoman YT Bell also saw the community benefit from supporting this programming. Councilwoman Bell advocated for Tekton to receive its grant from the city, introducing the organization’s mission to fellow councilmembers, who later unanimously voted to support Empower Clarkston.

“I’m so excited about this investment in our community, our economy, and supporting residents with burdens that will save residents money monthly,” Councilmember Bell said. “(Through Empower Clarkston), we can provide water and energy efficiency services to reduce cost burdens to residents by the City of Clarkston, while supporting efforts to invest in our workforce and talent pool in our city and meeting the needs of our community.” 

Learn more about Empower Clarkston, here:

ABOUT Tekton

ABOUT City of Clarkston

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DeKalb County District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry Tests Positive for COVID-19

DEKALB COUNTY, GA (Date)  -– On Friday, August 19, DeKalb County Super District 6 Commissioner tested positive for COVID-19 while out of state on a family vacation. According to Commissioner Terry, he began experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and promptly took an at-home rapid test, which came back positive for the respiratory illness. After a telemedicine visit with his Kaiser Permanente physician, the recommended treatment is over-the-counter medication, hydration, and a 5-day isolation. Because of his mild symptoms and age, Commissioner Terry is not eligible for anti-viral tablets. 

Commissioner Terry is fully vaccinated and boosted. He is currently experiencing a mild sore throat, congestion, and a low-grade fever and is isolating for the immediate future (5 days). He is expected to make a swift recovery and looks forward to continuing his work to better DeKalb as soon as possible. For immediate comments and concerns, please contact Commissioner Terry’s Chief of Staff Kelly Cato,

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CPACS Statement

The Center for Pan Asian Community Services has been a vital asset to our community for 40 years. I have been proud to work alongside the organization many times throughout my career. Most notably, I had the honor of partnering with them when drafting last year’s resolution condemning AAPI violence, xenophobia and hate following March 2021’s tragic shootings. I am saddened to learn of these recent developments. I hope the staff and board can weather this storm, but I am most concerned about the people who depend on CPACS services. I encourage our community to rally together during this difficult time, supporting each other and helping to fill the gaps as CPACS determines what I’m sure will be a brighter, better future. 

Clarkston Mental Health Alliance Receives $100k Grant from DeKalb County’s Super District 6 for Pilot Project  to Address Mental Health Needs of Community

New Project Will Enable Early-Stage Mental Health Clinicians to Provide Culturally Competent & Trauma-Sensitive Care for Refugees, Immigrants & Migrant (RIM) Communities.


The Clarkston Mental Health Alliance, which is comprised of the CDC–funded Prevention Research Center at Georgia State University (PRC GSU) in collaboration with the Georgia State Department of Counseling and Psychological Services and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), received a $100,000 federal grant from DeKalb County Super District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry, approved by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, this week for an innovative new mental health pilot project that aims to improve refugee, immigrant and migrant (RIM) communities’ access to much-needed mental health support and services. The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) which helps mitigate COVID-related needs of DeKalb County residents.

“This investment from Commissioner Ted Terry will not only help address the COVID-related mental health challenges for Clarkston residents but will also provide the opportunity for recent GSU graduates to obtain invaluable clinical experience while making a real difference in the community,” said Dr. Michael Eriksen, Regents’ Professor in the School of Public Health and principal investigator of the Prevention Research Center at Georgia State University (GSU).

Super District 6 Commissioner Ted Terry, a Clarkston resident himself and a large supporter of the Clarkston Mental Health Alliance and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), believes that investing in mental health resources is paramount, especially for the county’s refugee communities since access and resources are limited.  Commissioner Terry approached the organization and encouraged them to apply for this grant. 

“ARP Grants are a crucial way that we as a Board of Commissioners can ensure the county is investing in improved quality of life for all of our citizens,” Terry said. “This money will be used to directly impact patients’ lives and demonstrates a true investment in economic growth, community and health and wellbeing. Breaking down barriers and making mental health treatment more accessible is one of my top priorities in office, and I will expand that effort at every opportunity. This collaboration not only expands this access, it also minimizes language and cultural barriers that prevent many from seeking the help that they need.

The COVID-19 pandemic shined a spotlight on the financial and resource insecurity of many residents and local nonprofits. The lack of access to mental health care is particularly problematic in Clarkston, where over 40% of those screened at the Clarkston Community Health Center were identified as having at least one psychiatric diagnosis, compared with 20% in the general population. For many populations of color, barriers to mental health care include its cost, prior experiences with systemic racism/discrimination, mistrust of mental healthcare providers, and cultural stigma related to mental illness. Refugee, immigrant and migrant (RIM) communities – such as those who reside in Clarkston – face additional challenges, including those related to a lack of access to transportation, limited English proficiency/health literacy, and lack of availability of culturally-appropriate care. 

Prior to leaving their home countries, many RIM individuals are exposed to traumatic life events (e.g., loss of loved ones, combat, torture); the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder in refugee populations is as high as 86% (compared to 7-8% in the general population). A survey conducted at the start of the COVID pandemic by the GSU PRC found that 61% of RIM community members in Clarkston reported feeling scared, anxious, and worried in the past 7 days. This dire situation is not insurmountable, however. Data collected during a one-year grant from the Atlanta Women’s Foundation to the IRC showed that, among the 80% of RIM women who were identified as needing mental health screening, 100% of the women referred to services after screening consented to accept mental health services with partner agencies. Members of our Clarkston community need – and want – the help, yet resources are woefully inadequate.

“ As we know, there is no community that has a sufficient level of mental health services available. In circumstances when service delivery is limited, we often see communities in which additional cultural and language barriers result in residents gaining access to even fewer of those supportive services,” says Justin Powell, Executive Director of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Atlanta. “This partnership will allow experts and recent graduates to “push in” to a refugee resettlement agency and work alongside caseworkers, social workers, teachers, and after-school counselors to help normalize mental health services. It will allow for early intervention and the chance to provide appropriate and evidence-based support services rather than waiting to intervene with services once a situation becomes an acute crisis. We at the IRC look forward to working with our partners from GSU to ensure these critical services reach community members responsibly, holistically, and empoweringly.”

The Clarkston Mental Health Alliance will consist of 5 Masters-level, post-graduate clinicians who will be based at the IRC headquarters. These supervised clinicians will be part of a collaborative care team working alongside IRC caseworkers to screen for, identify and immediately address mental health problems among IRC-affiliated clients.

Dr. Jonathan Orr, a licensed counseling supervisor and counselor educator at GSU specializing in trauma-related therapies, will supervise the clinicians. “This is an exciting opportunity for graduates of Georgia State University’s master’s program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) to engage in meaningful community work while building their own careers as licensed professional counselors.”

By investing in early-stage career clinicians, the Clarkston Mental Health Alliance will be able to invest in a sustainable mental health workforce for the Clarkston community and be well-positioned to provide culturally competent and trauma-sensitive continued care in the future. 

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About Prevention Research Center

The Georgia State University Prevention Research Center is headquartered on the Clarkston Campus at Perimeter College. The PRC works with community organizations, state and local government, residents and other partners in Clarkston, Ga., to develop, implement and evaluate culturally and linguistically appropriate interventions to address the disparities and determinants of health for migrants and refugees and to disseminate this work at the community, states and national levels. 

For more information please visit

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) provides $5 billion nationwide to assist individuals or households who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, and other vulnerable populations, by providing housing, rental assistance, supportive services, and non-congregate shelter, to reduce homelessness and increase housing stability across the country. Dekalb County received a $3.98 million share of federal American Rescue Plan Act funding. Under ARP guidelines, all the money has to be obligated by December 31, 2024, and completely expended by the end of 2026. In addition to the county’s allocation, the school district and the municipalities are getting their own share of ARP funding.