I can’t wait to see what the future holds

A farewell letter from Canopy Atlanta co-founder Sonam Vashi

Letter by Sonam Vashi
May 22, 2023

To the Canopy Atlanta community of readers, partners, friends, and more:

I wanted to share the bittersweet news with everyone that I have been transitioning out of my role at Canopy Atlanta.

As one of Canopy Atlanta’s six founders, I am stunned by, immensely proud of, and grateful for the organization, team, partnerships, and community that we have built during the last four years. I joined the founding team when I was a freelance journalist struggling with the unsustainable, unrepresentative, and extractive practices that our industry encouraged when it came to reporting on communities of color or lower-income communities, like the one in Norcross, in which I grew up. I saw the disengagement, disconnection, and very real harm that journalism—including, at times, my own—was committing across Metro Atlanta, and I wanted to imagine new possibilities.

That’s why I plunged in headfirst with the group that became Canopy Atlanta. For me, this organization is the culmination of transforming those extractive reporting methods into authentically representing, equipping, and strengthening our communities.

I am baffled by the sheer amount that we have accomplished in a relatively short period of time, and I am honored to have been through this journey with you all, and with the incredible team currently at Canopy Atlanta. Our leadership team launched Canopy Atlanta during the pandemic, finding ways to connect with neighbors even amid great uncertainty. We have deeply partnered with four communities across Metro Atlanta (with more on the way), launched a Documenters program in a region that sorely needs it, and raised more than $1 million to help support it all. We learned how to grow and operate a nonprofit startup (and how to be a fundraiser, contract lawyer, accountant, website builder, strategic planner, event planner, audience analyst, and more). We have celebrated wins and losses and taken more meetings in our cars than we care to admit. I am leaving my role at this organization as a better thinker, manager, journalist, neighbor, and person. Thank you to everyone who played a part.

After four years, it’s the right time for Canopy’s journey, and for my own, to make this transition. Because this organization is so firmly rooted in our core values and in community, I have nothing but optimism and confidence in our current co-leadership team and staff—one of the best in the biz.

I won’t be going far: I am joining the Documenters Network as a director, focused on supporting Network members like Canopy Atlanta from here in Atlanta. In this new capacity, I’m thrilled to continue supporting our shared missions to equip community members to connect and advance their communities through journalism. 

While I will be leaving this specific role, I look forward to staying a forever cofounder and Canopy Atlanta’s number-one fan. (If you want to join me, there’s never been a better time to become a Canopy Atlanta member.) Thank you to everyone who has supported Canopy Atlanta and our mission so far; I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

With gratitude,

Sonam Vashi

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