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Passage Home Earns First Annual Atlantic BT Gives Back Award

Passage Home Wins 1st Atlantic BT $25K Mobile Contest

“It seemed like my only way out was death,” Onia Royster said, sharing her story in a video about finding a way HOME. Jeanne Tedrow, Founder of Passage Home, explains she wanted to find a way to address the debilitating blows of poverty, drug abuse, homelessness and the “cycle of poverty”. Seeing a lack of resources, she set about creating Passage Home to supply them. Tonight, her nonprofit, after more than almost 16,000 votes over two voting events, emerged as the recipient of Atlantic BT’s first annual Gives Back Grant Contest. Passage Home won $25,000 in mobile application work and mobile web development from Atlantic BT.

Giving back is something is in Atlantic BT’s DNA. Founder Jon Jordan’s grandparents Clarence and Florence Jordan founded a “Christian farm” and international community in 1942 in Sumter County, Georgia and called it Koinonia Farm. Koinonia, an ancient Greek word that means deep fellowship, was to be a community based on new testament ideas and values such as:

  1. Treat all human beings with dignity and justice.
  2. Choose love over violence.
  3. Share all possessions and live simply.
  4. Be stewards of the land and its natural resources.
Clarence Jordan, Atlantic BT's founder Jon Jordan's grandfather

Habitat founders Millard and Linda Fuller spent time with Jon’s grandparents. Koinonia Farm became Koinonia Partners and they worked with Koinonia Partnership Housing, the group that the Fullers would use as the inspiration for Habitat For Humanity in 1976. Koinonia’s promise became contemporary tonight as Passage Home, a Raleigh based nonprofit dedicated to a hand up not a handout, won the first $25,000 grant awarded by the company created by the grandson of Clarence (pictured to the left) and Florence Jordan. Over lunch with Jon today I asked if he ever knew his grandfather. “No, he died before I was born,” Jon explained.

One of the strongest feelings I’ve had since starting to work for Jon, Mark and with the great team at Atlantic BT almost a year ago is the presence of living values. I’d wondered where those strong values came from. Reading the Wikipedia page on Jon’s grandfather, hearing about his other grandfather, who is in his nineties and still living in his own home in South Africa while doing volunteer work, and meeting Jon’s parents, it is easy to understand where our company’s values started.

Jim Collins points out the single common thread in his set of Built To Last companies is strong presence of guiding values, beliefs and ideas. Collins’s books is reinforced by Grow,  written by fellow ex-P&Ger Jim Stengel. This message is so strong and dominant that I advised startup entrepreneur Kurt Varner to sit down and write his company values before working more on his “DailyToaster”. Atlantic BT’s values are present, guiding and the reason the company has been growing so rapidly.

Tonight those values included a circle of 12 nonprofits that had a chance to tell their stories to new people in new ways thanks to the first Atlantic BT Gives Back $25,000 Mobile Grant Contest. In addition to Passage home the Atlantic BT Gives Back Grant Contest started with 12 organizations who dedicate themselves to helping others, to Koinonia’s values:

  1. Passage Home (Raleigh, NC) (Awarded Grand Prize)
  2. CCY – CA Coalition for Youth (Sacramento, CA) (Semifinalist)
  3. Fight Colorectal Cancer (Alexandria, VA)
  5. Cornucopia Cancer Support Center (Durham, NC) (Semifinalist)
  6. National Brain Tumor Society (Waterville, MA)
  7. PATH – People Assisting the Homeless (Los Angeles, CA)
  8. Project Renewal (NYC, NY)
  9. Autism Society of NC (Raleigh, NC)
  10. Cat Adoption Team (CAT) (Portland, OR) (Semifinalist)
  11. Ounce of Prevention Fund (Chicago, IL)
  12. Share Our Strength (Washington, DC)

“Your father and mother must be very proud of you,” I said to Jon at the end of our lunch. Jon looked at me shocked by my question then he looked down and smiled a little. I’m proud to work with Jon, Mark, Tonia and the rest of the Atlantic BT team and a tribe that extends to some very cool customers who challenge us to do great things. I’m proud to be part of a tribe formed by meaningful values, a desire to do the great work customers need and selfless desire to help others, to GIVE BACK. Atlantic BT is our Koinonia Farm, our fellowship. Thought about buying my boss lunch today since he was about to give away $25,000. Didn’t but should have (next time boss, lunch is on me and maybe we cure cancer next?).

Thanks to every deserving and creative charity who shared their stories during the last few weeks. Every group was deserving, dedicated and caring. Our lives are better because some are willing to dedicate theirs to helping us. Every nonprofit deserves $25,000 in cool mobile apps to help them stay current with their best customers and our digital revolution times. During any revolution, human values, empathy and care can be easily lost. We won’t lose our humanity as long as heroes like the 12 charities that started a journey that ended tonight with a Passage Home continue to exist, thrive and help.

If I haven’t said it lately, thanks for the privilege of being part of such a special group of people working so hard to save the world one great website at a time. It is my distinct honor and absolute special privilege to join such a group on a hero’s journey.

Thank You,


PS. Great job and Kudos to my fellow “Marketeer” Tonia Zampieri for her passion, hard work and inspiration. Atlantic BT Gives Back was a team accomplishment but we were well led by Tonia’s vision and care.

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