PAMA is a volunteer group established in 1938 composed of businesses owners within the local district. There are 257 merchants on Piedmont Avenue, and barely a handful of them were members of PAMA prior to TOLA’s involvement.
Along with increasing membership in PAMA, TOLA has worked to organize festivals as a tool to gain merchant confidence in PAMA through successful events. PAMA puts on holiday festivals throughout the year, but recently these festivals and parades have lacked the power, enthusiasm and creativity they were once renown for. Organizing these events acts as the vehicle to engage and demonstrate to Piedmont Avenue merchants the benefits of joining PAMA.
TOLA’s first project with PAMA was in the summer of 2010. At the time PAMA had 7 active members and a host of members whose dues had not been paid in years! Since TOLA began organizing for/with PAMA, membership is now up to 56 dues paying members. Along with a number of successful holiday festivals organized and an 800% increase in PAMA membership, TOLA has bolstered the PAMA affiliated “Clean Sweep” program.
The “Clean Sweep” program is a volunteer run street cleaning service that occurs bi-weekly and is solely funded by the merchants who contribute to the “Clean Sweep” program. In recent years the dues paying members have lapsed (from 56 to 3), but the service continues because of the dedication of a few incredible volunteers. Through TOLA’s organizing efforts the “Clean Sweep” program has been revitalize. Their current dues paying membership is back from 3 to 62 – a 20+ fold increase!
All of this progress was completed in a matter of weeks with the dedication of a few young organizers, and while much work remains, the foundation that TOLA has laid for PAMA is invaluable and creates a climate for further success, independent of TOLA.