The John Lewis *HERO mural near Auburn Avenue. File Photo

Atlanta leaders came together earlier this month to celebrate the founding of The Same House, a new nonprofit organization aiming to bridge social and economic divides within the city.

The organization derives its name from the words of the late civil rights hero and United States Representative John Lewis, who spoke valiantly about Americans uniting to incite change, despite their physical and personal differences.

“We’re one people. We’re one family,” Lewis said. “We all live in the same house.”

Rodney Bullard, Chick-fil-A’s former vice president of corporate social responsibility, founded the nonprofit and serves as the organization’s CEO.

According to the nonprofit’s website, The Same House will operate within the Atlanta community in three ways: creating programs in partnership with like-minded organizations, designing experiences that help generate funding to be used to incite positive change and using various forms of storytelling to inspire public action. All of these measures will work to bring The Same House’s overarching mission to fruition: reducing the effects of the social and economic challenges plaguing the City of Atlanta and the country.

“We bring together all people to help bridge divides, practice compassion, and collectively tackle our communities’ greatest challenges and needs – particularly around economic opportunity and social connection,” the organization’s website reads. “The Same House is America’s house.”

The Same House traces its roots to an annual fundraising concert called Beloved Benefit, which works to increase economic mobility, particularly within Atlanta’s financially destitute neighborhoods. Organizers held the first Beloved Benefit concert in 2019, and have since raised over $11 million hosting the event over the past four years.

Beloved Benefit attributes its name to another local civil rights icon, paying homage to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message on a “Beloved Community.” In a similar fashion, the event brings together Atlanta’s own Beloved Community for a night of music, storytelling, and motivational speaking.

Decorated and acclaimed singer/songwriter John Legend will headline this year’s benefit concert, scheduled to be held in late August.

Both The Same House and Beloved Benefit are supported by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs and other local organizations.

To learn more about The Same House or to sign up for updates from the organization, visit For more information about Beloved Benefit, visit the event’s website at