Column: Woodruff Arts Center campaign passes the halfway point

By Maria Saporta

Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Friday, February 1, 2013

The Woodruff Arts Center’s annual campaign is more than halfway there.

The campaign has raised more than $4.8 million in the first four months of its eight-month effort. The campaign goal is $9.2 million.

The Coca-Cola Co. and the Georgia Power Foundation have each donated $500,000.

Other top donors so far are the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and the Cox Interests (AJC, James M. Cox Foundation, Cox Radio Group Atlanta, WSB-TV and Anne Cox Chambers) at the $250,000-plus level; and AT&T, the Rich Foundation and SunTrust Bank Trusteed Foundations at the $150,000-plus level.

“Georgia Power is committed to the preservation of cultural arts and the important role they have in developing and enhancing our communities,” said Paul Bowers, CEO of Georgia Power Co. and chair of the Woodruff’s 2012-2013 annual campaign, which has more than 140 volunteers.

Georgia Power and Coca-Cola also are donors to what is now known as the Beauchamp C. Carr Challenge Fund, which offers a 1-to-1 match for all new and increased gifts of more than $1,000.

Kurt Kuehn, chief financial officer of United Parcel Service Inc. and the returning chair of the Carr Challenge Fund, recently announced that the fund will offer a 2-to-1 match for all new and increased gifts of $5,000 and above from Feb. 15 through April 15.

The annual campaign, which will continue through the end of May, is a key part of the $35 million raised annually by the Woodruff Center and its divisions — the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Young Audiences.

“We are so fortunate to have the leadership of Paul Bowers and his impressive campaign committee,” said Virginia Hepner, president and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center. “These volunteers are the heart and soul of our fundraising efforts and help ensure that the arts are accessible to the entire community.”

The origin of AirWatch

A missed airplane from Charlotte to New York was an economic development game-changer for Atlanta.

Alan Dabbiere, founder of Manhattan Associates, an inventory management software company, was looking to move the company’s headquarters out of California in 1995.

“We could have moved anywhere,” Dabbiere said. “We almost moved to Charlotte, N.C.”

So Dabbiere was in Charlotte finalizing the move, and a meeting ran long, which caused him to miss his 6:30 p.m. U.S. Air flight out of town.

“There was nothing I could do,” Dabbiere said, adding that he was forced to take an 8:30 flight the next day, which meant that he missed a half-day of work in his office.

That’s when he decided to move Manhattan Associates to Atlanta.

“I knew that everybody who would have to go out of town would want to get home at night,” Dabbiere said.

Moving Manhattan Associates to Atlanta was one of the best decisions he ever made, Dabierre said. The convenience of the airport, the workforce and the research and technology work being done at Georgia Tech were key advantages. So when the technology entrepreneur began another company — AirWatch — the headquarters inevitably was metro Atlanta.

On Jan. 25, Dabierre announced that AirWatch, a mobile software company, will be adding 800 jobs in the next two years. At a press conference with Gov. Nathan Deal, Dabierre said that is only the beginning for the fast-growing company.

AirWatch is located in the former headquarters of Mirant, an energy trading company now part of GenOn Energy Holdings.

Southern Center for Human Rights

The Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights has received a $1 million gift from entrepreneur and business law professor James Kwak.

The gift will establish the Noah Parden and Styles Hutchins Fellowship for young public interest lawyers to work at SCHR.

Kwak, an associate professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law, became familiar with SCHR when he was a student at Yale Law School and took a class from SCHR President Stephen Bright.

“The Southern Center for Human Rights is doing the most important work that lawyers can do today: protecting people whom no one else will represent, fighting for access to justice for all people, and of course, saving people from death at the hands of the state,” Kwak said.

Atlanta Business League

The Atlanta Business League has a new “Madam Chair.” Mary Parker, president and CEO of All(n)1 Security Services, was sworn into her new role Jan. 29 by “officiating” Judge Glenda Hatchett at a ceremony at Georgia Power Co.

She succeeds Tommy Dortch, president and CEO of TWD Inc., who has served three different terms as chairman of ABL (two one-year terms and one two-year term).

Dortch was given a bronze sculpture of one person lifting another titled: “He who lifts others builds strength.”

After Parker laid out her “to do” list for her two-year term, ABL President and CEO Leona Barr-Davenport jokingly repeated a line that she shares with her office staff: “Oh Lord, what’s we gonna do?”

ABL, which celebrates its 80 year fostering African-American businesses in Atlanta, is now debt-free. In December, it was able to burn the mortgage on its new headquarters on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive thanks to a $250,000 gift from Delta Air Lines.

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