Articles by Maria Saporta


Health care bill could harm CDC, Atlanta

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on March 17, 2017

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could lose nearly $1 billion in annual funding under the Republican proposal to replace Obamacare.

Such a move would hit Georgia especially hard because it would translate into local job cuts as well as impact multiple relationships the CDC has with universities and public health organizations.

Victory Fund pushing to elect Cathy Woolard and Alex Wan in November

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the politican action committee dedicated to increasing the number of LGBTQ public officials in the country, brought its political might to Georgia Sunday.

The organization held a Victory Fund brunch at the Wimbish House with an expressed goal of electing Cathy Woolard as the next mayor of Atlanta and Alex Wan as the next president of the Atlanta City Council. Both of them received a Victory Fund Leadership Award.


Column: Cristo Rey surpasses goal, raises $30 million for downtown school

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on March 10, 2017

The Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School must be receiving help from above. The unique high school has been able to exceed its $25 million fundraising by more than $5 million.

It’s an amazing story considering that in December, Cristo Rey was $2 million shy of its $25 million goal. The final amount raised was more than $30.23 million.

TransFormation Alliance celebrates $1 million grant for Atlanta

Atlanta’s TransFormation Alliance on Thursday night celebrated its recent designation as one of six groups from around the country awarded with a $1 million grant to help advance more equitable transportation and housing initiatives.

The Strong, Prosperous And Resilient Communities challenge is providing a three-year, $90 million in grants to support local groups and their leaders who are working to ensure that major new investments in transportation are equitably in their efforts to improve health and environmental outcomes for all residents.

Underground Atlanta sale likely to happen by end of March

After several deadlines have come and gone, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and WRS Realty said they are working to close the sale of Underground Atlanta by the end of March.

“We are just working really hard to bring it to a conclusion,” Reed said Monday morning. Asked if it would happen by the end of March, Reed said: “We are working as hard as possible to close by the end of the month.”


Column: Families First CEO Anderson stepping down, interim CEO named

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on March 3, 2017

After eight years at the helm of Families First, CEO Kim Anderson is planning to step down on May 1. She will serve as a consultant to the organization through Aug. 31.

The Families First board has appointed Dr. MiShawna Moore, the nonprofit’s chief program officer, as its interim CEO. The organization plans to conduct a nationwide search for Anderson’s successor.

“On behalf of Atlanta’s families and children, we are incredibly grateful for Kim’s years of service,” said Marybeth Leamer, chair of the Families First board who is also executive vice president of Cox Enterprises. “She has transformed the organization through her leadership and vision, gaining the trust of philanthropy, corporations and community. We know her passion for service will continue to change lives by furthering the hard work required to break cycles of generational poverty, in Atlanta and beyond.”


Underground Atlanta master plan heavy on parking and light on preservation

An updated masterplan for the redevelopment of Underground Atlanta was presented Thursday to a committee of Invest Atlanta.

Although it is labeled as a “conceptual” plan, several members of the public were concerned about the number of new parking spaces – 2,189 – that are envisioned to be part of the Underground development. That is in addition to the two existing Underground Atlanta garages.

Speaker David Ralston talks transit, religious liberty and a possible run for governor

In a talk to the Atlanta Press Club Wednesday, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston spent a great portion of the speech talking about transit.

Ralston had already made news in January when he proposed setting up a House Commission to study transit. He also made a point that the Commission was not being put together to “take over” any existing transit agency (a point that was welcomed by MARTA officials at the time).

Now the state is well on its way to establishing the transit commission, which Ralston told the Press Club that it would not be another “study committee,” but a “real effort” to advance the development of transit in Georgia.


Center for Civil and Human Rights faces monumental issue

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on March 3, 2017

A proposed “comfort women” memorial at the Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta has set a potentially explosive rift within the city’s business and international circles.

The memorial of an Asian woman sit- ting in a chair next to an empty chair was proposed by the Atlanta Comfort Women Memorial Task Force, a diverse group of leaders from the Atlanta and Asian-American communities.


Column: John Lewis honored at Hyatt celebration

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Feb. 24, 2017

The Hyatt Regency Atlanta, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in May, honored Congressman John Lewis at its annual Heritage Celebration on Feb. 20.

Peter McMahon, the Hyatt’s general manager, said it was an opportunity to “honor a living legend” on the eve of his Feb. 21 birthday. (See related photos on Page 6A, The Insider.)

ARC hires two new directors – Susan Chana and Sam Shenbaga

The Atlanta Regional Commission has hired two new members to its executive team – Susan Chana and Samyukth Shenbaga.

Effective March 13, Chana will become the regional planning agency’s director of its Center for Strategic Relations, succeeding Julie Ralston, who has just retired after 31 years with the organization.

Shenbaga has been named manager of the agency’s Community Development Division, succeeding Dan Reuter, who recently left the ARC.