Author Archives: Maria Saporta

About Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

Atlanta’s United Way launches ‘Silence the Growl’ child hunger campaign

As much as we tout the successes of our numerous Fortune-ranked businesses, organizations such as the United Way of Greater Atlanta oft remind us the great work is to lead a life of purpose.

Metro Atlantans are no strangers to service and women in particular are driving charitable change in the region.

Just before Mother’s Day, Atlanta’s United Way presented its third annual “Leading a Life of Purpose” women in philanthropy discussion. Moderated by Terri Theisen, the roundtable included U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates and Lovette Russell of Coxe Curry & Associates and wife of business power broker Michael Russell. The DeKalb Chamber’s Katerina Taylor, also chair of the United Way’s young professionals’ committee, participated in place of retired Novelis CEO Martha Brooks.

The women shared personal narratives of how they have interlaced their professional careers with their philanthropic interests.
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Metro Atlanta’s rising young leaders bring “energy, passion” to charities

Here is a Georgia statistic we can be proud of. The Chronicle of Philanthropy notes the state ranks sixth nationally in charitable giving, with $4.8 billion in total contributions, averaging 6.2 percent of total income given.

As Georgians aged from 20 years to 44 years make up more than 35 percent of the total population, and those under 20 year nearly 29 percent, not-for-profit organizations are actively recruiting younger donors and finding creative ways to tap into their discretionary spending.
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Mandela, apartheid and the movies

The passing of Nelson Mandela has touched us all. For once, media overkill doesn’t seem to say enough about this extraordinary man. I’ve heard or read so many pronouncements over the past few days, I can’t keep them all straight. But  here’s a quote I especially like: “In Mandela we saw what we seek to see in ourselves.”

There is a powerful Mandela movie that’s already in limited release and will open in Atlanta before the end of the year.  Called “Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom,” the film initially seems pedestrian. However, the power of Mandela’s story is such that, by the end, you’re grateful to the director, Justin Chadwick (“The Other Boleyn Girl”), for not getting in the way. Plus, the picture offers expert performances by  Idris Elba in the title role and Naomie Harris as his wife Winnie.
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Atlanta’s other secret: Our technology entrepreneurs live well and contribute

Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of a two-part series that advocates for metro Atlanta as a great place to start a technology company. Part One examined Atlanta’s robust community of entrepreneurs.

By Guest Columnist STEPHEN FLEMING, a Georgia Tech vice president who manages the Enterprise Innovation Institute

As previously noted, most – not all, but most – successful entrepreneurs have experience under their belt before launching into their new venture. At this stage in life, they can benefit from the quality housing and other intangibles that Atlanta can provide.

In Mountain View, you can buy this 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath, 960 square foot, 70-year-old cottage on 1/6th of an acre for $1.1 million. It's a lot better than a São Paulo favela … but, really, is that where you want to raise your kids?
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Solar power industry grows in Georgia — creating jobs in green emerging industry

By Guest Columnist DEBBIE DAY, executive director of the Georgia Solar Energy Association

Taking the reins of the Georgia Solar Energy Association (GSEA) is an exciting opportunity. My recent arrival coincides with the results of GSEA’s effort to amass a comprehensive snapshot of solar development so far in Georgia.  The picture it creates is impressive.
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First Lady Rosalynn Carter continues fighting for those with mental illnesses

By Maria Saporta

Persistence and compassionate dedication describe former First Lady Rosalynn Carter’s tireless efforts on mental issues in our state and nation.

Carter, who spoke Wednesday at the Atlanta Press Club luncheon at the Commerce Club, has now documented all that she has done to support the treatment of mental illnesses as well as to reduce the stigma related to mental health issues.

More importantly, in her new book — “Within our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis” — Carter presents solutions Continue reading

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Charlie Loudermilk and Alex Cooley team up to bring new life to Buckhead Theatre

By Maria Saporta

Walking into the new Buckhead Theatre with Charlie Loudermilk is like walking back in time.

Loudermilk, 82, has invested $6 million in renovating the former Roxy in the heart of Buckhead, and that doesn’t include the $2 million he paid to buy the historic theater and the land it sits on.

Back when he was growing up, Loudermilk said that as a kid, he used to go to see Westerns for a nickel. He also remembered when African-Americans could only sit in the balcony because of segregation.
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Column: 2010 Big Splash at the aquarium to be ‘the party of the year’

By Maria Saporta
Friday, June 18, 2010

Two of Bernie Marcus’ great passions will join forces on the night of Nov. 13 for Big Splash 2010.

On that evening, 1,800 Atlantans will be the first to see the Georgia Aquarium’s new Dolphin Exhibit at a black-tie event benefiting the Marcus Autism Center.
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Southface welcomes summer and the sun with baby goats

By Maria Saporta

The sun has set on the longest day of the year — the Summer Solstice.

Southface, the Atlanta-based organization that promotes green building practices, held its annual ice cream party this evening to celebrate the changing of the seasons and the sunniest day of the year.

With temperatures in the mid-90s, there was no question that summer had arrived and that the sun was burning bright. That’s where the ice cream came in.

This year, there were a couple of special Continue reading

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Atlanta’s Beltline seeking delicate balance between smart design and quicker progress

By Maria Saporta

The magic number on Saturday was 2.5.

Jim and Sarah Kennedy donated $2.5 million to the Atlanta Beltline.

Kaiser-Permanente also donated $2.5 million to the Atlanta Beltline.

And their combined $5 million gift will build 2.5 miles of a multi-purpose trail stretching from Monroe Drive at Piedmont Park to DeKalb Avenue.

On Saturday, there was a celebration to announce both gifts and the latest development plans for the Beltline — a 22-mile corridor that will lasso intown Atlanta.

The long term vision for the Beltline calls for green space with miles of bicycle and pedestrian trails, a transit line and new Continue reading

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