How Chattanooga Partied to Way to a Better City

Walter Cronkite called Chattanooga, Tennessee, the “dirtiest city in America” in 1969. For 30 years, the city struggled with how to literally clean up its act and somehow retain talent—-sound familiar?

In 2007, Helen Johnson and Jeff McManus launched CreateHere, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering creative culture and nurturing small businesses in unconventional ways. We wanted to put creative processes to work and connect locals around pressing issues, including safety, education, jobs, and talent retention. Their projects included a leadership development fellowship, a small business planning course, a grants program for creatives, and Stand, the world’s largest community visioning effort. Notably, the organization threw all-night parties. See Slideshow created by FastCompany.