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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

ChantLanta and Dirty South Yoga Fest Raise Funds for Nonprofits

Nov 01, 2023 06:00AM ● By Staff

ChantLanta. From left to right: Susan Clancy, Jennifer Gorell, Karen Dorfman, Sophia Loner, Lawanda Jordan, Margo Gomes, and Ian Boccio. All except Jordan are with ChantLanta. (Photo: Stan Holt)

Two recent Atlanta events, the Dirty South Yoga Fest, which took place in late August, and ChantLanta, held in early September, raised thousands of dollars for two Atlanta nonprofits, the Dharma Project and Feet of Clay, respectively. 

While attracting somewhat overlapping audiences, the organizations behind the events are very different. Dirty South Yoga Fest is a for-profit business with paid staff, while ChantLanta, a sacred music festival, is an all-volunteer effort. Dirty South, led by founder Jessica Murphy, pledged 20 percent of its profits to Dharma Project, led by founder Rutu Chaudhari, and delivered $4,000 to the yoga nonprofit. 

ChantLanta, led by co-founders Ian Boccio and Karen Dorfman, donated 100 percent of their net income to Feet of Clay, an organization that supports survivors of domestic abuse. 

The founder and CEO of Feet of Clay, Lawanda Jordan, accepted $10,000 from ChantLanta at a recent presentation ceremony. 

“The Atlanta yoga community members are our greatest stakeholders,” says Chaudhari. “They know more than anyone the power of yoga to transform circumstances. As those that benefit from yoga, it is our responsibility to ensure that everyone has access to healing, to be seen and to have a seat at the table.” 

Dharma Project. From left to right : Sarah 

Landrum, Jamaal Davis, Safia Icgoren, Rutu 

 Chaudhari, Ashley Erwin, Nicole Ware, Liz 

Vanderhoff, Sumanah Khan.

Chaudhari will apply the funds to serving 10 incarcerated men by providing them with a 200-hour yoga teacher training program. Dharma Project has served 1,150 individuals in Atlanta, bringing mindfulness and yoga to communities and organizations that experience chronic stress or trauma. It serves incarcerated men, women and youth in five facilities, students and teachers in three low-income schools, seniors in low-income housing, and refugee women and girls. 

Founded in 2019, Feet of Clay’s mission is “to provide survivors of domestic violence with safe shelter and resources to ensure a successful transition to a life free of violence.” In addition to shelter, the nonprofit provides food, clothing, parenting and cooking classes, counseling and life coaching, and training in work skills and resume writing. 

Jordan met Dorfman when the latter called Feet of Clay to request a pickup of items for donation. The two spent time chatting about Jordan’s organization. But when she was informed that Feet of Clay had been selected as ChantLanta’s charity partner, Jordan had to Google “kirtan,” the sacred Hindu music that ChantLanta celebrates. And she found it to be “cool” in that people seem so free in the way they revel in the music. 

Jordan’s reaction to the first night of the ChantLanta festival was emotional. “In order to run an organization, people have to actually believe in what you do,” she says. “So I was emotional because they believed in what we did. Not only that, they created an atmosphere to help others believe in what we did. And that’s like gold.” 

A large portion of the proceeds Feet of Clay received is going toward the purchase of a truck; the rest will help meet client needs, for example, by paying initial deposits and first months’ rent. 

Disclosure: Natural Awakenings is a sponsor of both Dirty South Yoga Fest and ChantLanta.
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