Column: Atlanta Ballet awarded $2 million by Goizueta Foundation

By Maria Saporta
Friday, December 30, 2011

The Atlanta Ballet is enjoying this holiday season, and it’s not just due to its annual crowd pleaser— “The Nutcracker.”

The Goizueta Foundation has awarded the Atlanta Ballet a $2 million grant — the second-largest single gift that the company has received in its 82-year history.

Arthur Jacobus, executive director of the Atlanta Ballet, said receiving the Goizueta gift was “a shining moment” for the organization.

The Goizueta gift will help the Atlanta Ballet implement two primary objectives of its strategic plan — $1 million will go towards helping support the Ballet’s internal capacity initiative to help pay for emergencies as well as routine maintenance; and the other $1 million will establish a cash reserves fund, which will serve as a line of credit for the company.

Jacobus was personally touched because he received the congratulatory call from Olga Goizueta, the widow of Roberto Goizueta, the late CEO of The Coca-Cola Co.

The Goizueta Foundation has been a longtime supporter of the Atlanta Ballet. In 2002, it gave the Atlanta Ballet a grant to create a Hispanic outreach initiative with the Latin American Association. More than 1,000 students have been served by that program.

The financial stability of the Atlanta Ballet is much stronger today than it was five years ago when it had to resort to taped music rather than having a live orchestra

Jacobus said the Ballet now has $3 million in its endowment fund, of which $2 million is managed through the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and $1 million that it controls.

The Atlanta Ballet has been quite successful at raising money in its latest capital campaign. It started out with an initial campaign goal of about $14 million, and then it raised that goal by another $4.5 million.

“With this $2 million gift from the Goizueta Foundation, we are virtually on the cusp of reaching our goal,” said Jacobus, who moved to Atlanta two years ago to become the Ballet’s executive director.

While Jacobus is pleased with the progress that the Atlanta Ballet has made in recent years, he said more needs to be done.

“It’s never easy in the performing arts world, especially in these tough economic times,” Jacobus said. “We have been able to put ourselves on a trajectory which we think will serve us well in the future.”

JA to honor Imlay, de la Vega

Junior Achievement of Georgia, Atlanta District, has selected two Atlanta technology leaders as the inductees to its 2012 JA Atlanta Business Hall of Fame — John Imlay and Ralph de la Vega.

The selection was made by Junior Achievement and the Atlanta Business Chronicle. They will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Imlay is chairman of Imlay Investments, a private investment firm which manages capital and provides venture funds for small technology companies. Imlay has been regarded as pioneer in the software industry, serving as chairman of Management Science America, which became a top 10 global software company at the time.

Imlay also has been a minority owner of the Atlanta Falcons for 22 years.

De la Vega is president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. In 2008, de la Vega was inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s Alumni Hall of Fame. He currently is chairman of Junior Achievement Worldwide and chairman of Hispanic Initiatives for the Boy Scouts of America.

The event will be held at the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead.

High standards

Mendal Bouknight, vice president of Piedmont Philanthropy and executive director of the Piedmont Healthcare Foundation in Atlanta, has been appointed to the Health Care Philanthropy Standards Council of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP).

The seven-member council was recently established to foster high practice standards for health-care fundraising.

“As North America’s leading association of development professionals working on behalf of nonprofit health-care institutions, AHP has a responsibility to implement performance measures that will enhance the accountability and credibility of charitable fundraising, and foster public trust and transparency,” said William C. McGinly, president and CEO of AHP. “Mendal Bouknight’s impressive record of philanthropic expertise will add immeasurably to that effort through his service on the council.”

Bouknight, who joined Piedmont Healthcare in 2004, has been instrumental in empowering Piedmont’s philanthropic support. The overall pace of giving has doubled with 12 gifts of $1 million and three gifts of $5 million.

Distinguished Woodward alumnus

Mary Moore, owner and founder of the Cook’s Warehouse is the recipient of the 2011 Woodward Academy Distinguished Alumni Award. Moore graduated from Woodward Academy in 1987.

The Distinguished Alumni Award has been presented annually since 1966 to graduates who have had professional success and have served the community.

Moore is being honored not only for building her own business but also for her volunteer work. She serves on many local boards including the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

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