Articles from the Atlanta Business Chronicle

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Underground developer asks Atlanta Mayor to ‘stick with us’

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Jan.6, 2017

For four years, South Carolina-based WRS Realty has been pursuing a deal to buy Underground Atlanta – becoming the sole bidder to buy the property from the City of Atlanta.

But now, WRS has until the end of January to close on the sale of Underground, a transaction that has been delayed several times because of the complexities involved in the deal.

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Column: Task Force for Global Health takes No. 2 spot on Forbes charities list

By Maria Saporta As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Dec. 30, 2016 The Task Force for Global Health, based in downtown Decatur, is the second-largest nonprofit in the United States, according to Forbes Magazine’s 2016 list of the largest U.S. charities. The Task Force ranked second only to United Way Worldwide, which had […]

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Talks turning lemons to lemonade at Turner Field

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Dec. 30, 2016

After decades of feeling burned by the false promise of new development, Turner Field community leaders have reason to be wary.

This time could be different.

With the sale of the Atlanta Braves’ former ballpark underway, community members say they are forging a closer relationship with the biggest players behind Turner Field’s planned redevelopment, Georgia State University and Atlanta developer Carter.

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Column: Four regional organizations join to help region’s schools

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Dec. 16, 2016

A collaboration among Atlanta’s four regional organizations – Learn4Life – is going where no other group has gone in the region.

It is working with the eight school systems in the five-county region to figure how to have the most strategic impact on the educational outcomes among the region’s students.

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Atlanta nonprofit First Step Staffing putting hundreds of homeless people to work

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Dec. 16, 2016

For Greg Block, finding jobs for the homeless has become the fight of his life — literally.

Block, 50, started First Step Staffing, a nonprofit employment agency, in 2006. After a career running businesses and a four-year stint with the CIA, Block wanted to dedicate himself to making life better for the least among us.

“When I first started First Step, I wanted to figure out how can you connect homeless men and women with income and get them out of homelessness,” Block said in a recent interview. The question he sought to answer was how one could build a sustainable organization that could fund itself through business revenue.

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Column: Cox’s John Dyer takes helm of Atlanta Committee for Progress

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on De. 9, 2016

The highly influential Atlanta Committee for Progress has a new chairman – John Dyer, president and CEO of Cox Enterprises and a 38-year veteran of the privately-held company.

Dyer is succeeding Paul Bowers, president and CEO of the Georgia Power Co., who chaired his last ACP meeting on Dec. 1.

The organization, which includes many of the top business leaders in metro Atlanta, was formed to serve as a high-powered kitchen cabinet for former Mayor Shirley Franklin, and the ACP was embraced by Mayor Kasim Reed during his administration.

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YMCA plans new Westside HQ, adding to area’s revitalization

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on De. 9, 2016

The YMCA of Metro Atlanta, the oldest nonprofit in Atlanta, will be establishing its new home on the Westside about one block west of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The YMCA, founded in 1858, has been located in the Robert W. Woodruff Volunteer Center (also known as the United Way building) for more than 40 years. United Way of Greater Atlanta has decided to sell the office tower, which has led to its tenants needing to find new quarters.

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Column: Metro Chamber unveils new strategic plan, 2017 leaders

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Nov. 25, 2016

The Metro Atlanta Chamber, which will hold its 157th annual meeting Nov. 30 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, is unveiling its new strategic pillars as well as its 2017 leaders.

Jeff Sprecher, chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), will succeed SunTrust Banks executive Jenner Wood, who served as the 2016 MAC chairman.

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Mercedes-Benz Stadium sets new ‘gold standard’ for minority business participation

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Nov. 18, 2016

In keeping with Atlanta’s tradition, the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium is being built with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The $1.5 billion construction project has contracted with 130 minority-owned and female-owned firms to create the new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United soccer franchise.

When the city became part of the financing plan to build the stadium, the Atlanta City Council stated their desireto have it follow the city’s EqualBusiness Opportunity (EBO) standards. A goal was set at 31 percent minority participation.

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Column: 15 Georgia nonprofits make Philanthropy 400 list

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Nov. 11, 2016

The recent ranking of the Philanthropy 400 by the Chronicle of Philanthropy showed little change among the order of Georgia’s major nonprofits.

The largest nonprofit in the state continues to be the Task Force of Global Health, which ranks seventh among all foundations nationally.

The other foundations in the top 25 are the National Christian Foundation (No. 9); the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (No. 16); Habitat for Humanity International (No. 20); and the American Cancer Society (No. 22).

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Women now hold 13 percent of board seats at Georgia public companies

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Nov. 11, 2016

Women now hold almost 13 percent of the board seats at Georgia’s public companies, a new study by nonprofit group Onboard shows. Of the 952 board seats at Georgia’s public companies, women hold 123, according to the group’s “Women in the Boardroom: 2016 Georgia Public Companies Study”. That’s the highest since the study began 24 years ago.

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Virginia Hepner to retire from Woodruff Arts Center

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Nov. 11, 2016

Virginia Hepner, president and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center, will retire on May 31, five years after taking the helm of the third largest arts center in the country.

In an exclusive interview with Atlanta Business Chronicle, Hepner said it is the right time for her to leave the cultural institution.

“It’s a 24-7 job the way I choose to do it,” Hepner said, who had signed on for a maximum of a five-year contract. “I really want more flexibility in my life, and I’m blessed to be able to afford that. These jobs are pretty much all consuming.”

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Column: Momentum of support builds for city’s cultural institutions

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Nov. 4, 2016

It has been a jaw-dropping season for philanthropic giving in Atlanta.

On Nov. 2, the Woodruff Arts Center announced it has raised $110 million for its Transformation Campaign — $10 million more than its goal.

The $110 million includes $25 million to endow 11 chairs for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra musicians, a goal that was reached two years ahead of schedule.

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Philips Arena project could be catalyst to develop ‘Gulch’

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Nov. 4, 2016

The agreement to spend $192.5 million to dramatically renovate Philips Arena likely will lead to the redevelopment of the area between Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Underground Atlanta and Centennial Olympic Park, according to both Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Tony Ressler, the principal owner of the Atlanta Hawks.

The renovation of Philips, announced on Nov. 1, also will include $142.5 million in public financing, a stark difference from the model that built Philips Arena.

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Column: Achieve Atlanta gets $600,000 boost from Kaiser Permanente

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Oct. 28, 2016

Achieve Atlanta, a nonprofit helping graduating high school seniors attend and stay in college, has received an unsolicited three-year grant of $600,000 from Kaiser Permanente of Georgia.

The grant will enable Achieve Atlanta to add a college counselor in four high schools in distressed areas of Atlanta to help students apply and pay for college.

“We really wanted to focus on areas where there were poor health outcomes,” said Madelyn Adams, director of community benefit for Kaiser Permanente of Georgia. “Better education leads to better health outcomes. Achieve Atlanta was the right place for us to be. I really admire how transparent they are and how they know where they want to go. It really appealed to us.”

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Business leaders launch Atlanta Friendship Initiative

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Oct. 28, 2016

Two top Atlanta business leaders have launched a new initiative aimed at healing strained race relations, with hopes it could spread to other cities.

Bill Nordmark, an Atlanta business consultant and former president of the Rotary Club of Atlanta, and John Grant, executive director of the Celebration Bowl and former CEO of 100 Black Men of Atlanta, have formed the Atlanta Friendship Initiative. The concept is to pair up two people from different racial or ethnic backgrounds and have them become friends. They agree to get together once a quarter, and then once a year to bring their families together in fellowship.

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Column: How a chance meeting at a bar helped a nonprofit buy a home

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Oct. 21, 2016

The Lifecycle Building Center has just been able to acquire its 70,000-square-foot warehouse with 3.5 acres — thanks to the Kendeda Fund’s help in facilitating an acquisition loan.

The property includes a historic warehouse and a newer building at 1116 Murphy Ave. in southwest Atlanta — a location the nonprofit has been leasing for five years. The warehouses are filled with construction materials, from cabinets to doors to sinks to anything one can find in homes or office buildings.