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Column: Charlie Loudermilk gives to inspire homeless youth to succeed

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on May 12, 2017

The Loudermilk family turned out May 3 for the naming ceremony of the Loudermilk Family Gymnasium at the Covenant House Georgia.

But Charlie Loudermilk Sr. showed up with a special surprise – one that even caught some members of his family by surprise.

Loudermilk Covenant House

Loudermilk celebration at the Covenant House. (From left to right) Allison Ashe, Jeffery (CHGA), Jamesdelishia (CHGA), Lisa and Michael deGolian and grandchildren, Katherine deGolian and Coley Loudermilk, Demetrius (CHGA), Frances and Robin Loudermilk, Jr. and Justin (CHGA) with Charlie Loudermilk (front row. (Photo by Joy Hmielewski on behalf of Covenant House Georgia)

The senior Loudermilk already had donated $250,000 towards building the 8,536-square-foot gymnasium. But he didn’t stop there.

During his remarks, Loudermilk, who founded Atlanta-based Aaron Rents Inc., announced he was donating an additional $500,000 to the Covenant House. He told the homeless teens attending the naming ceremony that he had come from nothing and worked hard to make something of himself – and they could as well.

“Charlie Loudermilk and the Loudermilk Family have been instrumental to our ability to serve Atlanta’s homeless youth,” said Allison Ashe, executive director of Covenant House Georgia, in a statement,

“Their generous support of Covenant House has not only allowed us to expand our overall capacity to serve more than 1,000 homeless teens per year, the Loudermilk Gymnasium affords us the ability to provide a much needed recreational therapy program,” Ashe continued. “Recreational therapy is a highly effective intervention for youth who have experienced the trauma of street life and sexual exploitation.”

Covenant House Georgia is a subsidiary of Covenant House International, the largest, privately funded nonprofit service organization serving homeless young people in the Americas.

Covenant House Georgia has been providing food, shelter, counseling, education and vocational training to homeless, runaway and trafficked youth in the Greater Atlanta area since 2000. Last year Covenant House Georgia served over 1,000 homeless, runaway and trafficked youth.

Woodruff Arts Center board

Civic leader Phil Jacobs has been elected as the new board chair of the Woodruff Arts Center, succeeding Doug Hertz, who will continue as immediate past chair.

Phil Jacobs

Phil Jacobs

Jacobs, a retired BellSouth/AT&T executive who is now a senior consultant with the Coxe Curry fundraising firm, has been involved in numerous civic initiatives, including the CDC Foundation, the Georgia Aquarium, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Historical Society, the East Lake Foundation, the Emory Global Health Institute, the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Teach for America-Atlanta, the United Way of Greater Atlanta as well as the Woodruff Arts Center and the High Museum of Art.

The Woodruff board also elected eight new trustees and two new life trustees.

The newly elected trustees are: Heath W. Campbell, regional president of BB&T’s Northern Georgia Region; Jack Markwalter, chairman and CEO of Atlantic Trust; Suzanne Tucker Plybon, a partner of Arnall Golden Gregory; Mike J. Sivewright, Atlanta director Atlanta of Jones Lang LaSalle; and Stacey Tank, head of corporate communications and external affairs for the Home Depot.

“We are fortunate that these distinguished leaders will be joining our board and contributing their time and resources to support the Woodruff Arts Center,” Jacobs said. “The Arts Center is a critical asset for our city and a central part of a vibrant arts community in Atlanta.  All of us on the Board look forward to building on that success in the years ahead.”

Lynda Bradbury Courts and Solon Patterson were elected Life Trustees, a designation given to extraordinary Board members as recognition for their outstanding dedication and service to the organization.

“Lynda and Solon have been a critical part of the success of the Arts Center over many years,” Hertz said. “We will always be grateful to them for all they have done to support the Arts Center and the arts in general.”

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.

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