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Arthur Blank gives record gift of $50 million to Babson College

Maria Saporta

By Maria Saporta

The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation is making the largest grant in its 25-year history – $50 million – to Babson College in Wellesley, Mass.

Arthur Blank, co-founder of the Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons, attended Babson College and was in the Class of 1963.

The gift will go towards a new collaboration to advance and amplify “values-driven” entrepreneurial leadership on a global scale.

Arthur Blank meets with Babson College students this past September (Special: Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation)

Babson College will establish the Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership. The new school will create opportunities for the entire Babson community to lead change, solve global problems and create sustainable value across business and society through learning, teaching, research, and engagement in entrepreneurial practice, according to a release.

“The best companies provide world-class service to their customers and their communities,” Blank said in a statement. “The next horizon of business education is equipping and connecting more entrepreneurial leaders who create solutions and growth by putting people first, leading by example, and giving back to others, especially to those in need. Values-driven entrepreneurship is good for the bottom line and for society. “

Babson College President Stephen Spinelli Jr. said Blank had transformed business and culture as a game-changing icon of entrepreneurship.

“With this groundbreaking partnership between the Blank Family Foundation and Babson College, Mr. Blank’s investment will dramatically enhance our students’ experience and help them develop the values-based, entrepreneurial leadership skills that will address grand challenges and positively impact any organization, from large corporations and investment firms to nonprofit agencies and new ventures,” Spinelli said.

Earlier this year, the Babson community began a strategic planning process to chart a bold course forward for the College.

The new Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership is a major investment in one of the emerging, key strategic principles that focuses on inspiring and empowering entrepreneurial leaders who can change the world. Babson community’s vision seeks to expand partnerships that enable experiential learning and giving back to the community, increase access and diversity, and amplify the impact Babson’s people, programs and research have on businesses and communities from Boston and Atlanta to cities and regions around the world.

“As a world-class leader in business education, Babson College is perfectly positioned to blaze this new path,” Blank said. “I’m continually inspired by Babson students, faculty, and its global alumni network. I’m excited to see how they will continue to change businesses and communities for the better.”

Spinelli said people at all stages of their lives and careers need the mindset and skills of an entrepreneur to thrive in rapidly changing environments and provide leadership in a way that has impact and generates growth.

“At Babson’s Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership, every member of Babson’s global ecosystem will have the opportunity to build and practice advanced skills so that they change the world through the innovations they introduce, the problems they solve, the jobs they create, and the sustainable values they instill in the organizations they impact,” Spinelli added.

The collaboration between Babson College and the Blank Family Foundation will provide:

  • Need-based scholarships that increase access and affordability for low-income students who show promise as entrepreneurial leaders but would not otherwise be able to afford college
  • Creation of the Blank Chair in Values-based Entrepreneurial Leadership to shape entrepreneurial leaders who are inclusive, innovative, and prepared to be community caretakers who change the world
  • Experiential learning that offers real-world problem-solving opportunities to enable learners to make an immediate impact in uncertain, rapidly changing, and technology-driven conditions
  • The development of an Entrepreneurial Village that will dramatically expand and enhance dedicated space for Babson community members to come together to create solutions and growth opportunities through collaborative learning and experimentation
  • Greater access to Babson’s renowned entrepreneurial centers and institutes for award-winning cocurricular activities and global networks
  • Funding for applied research that generates practical, actionable outcomes to expand global understanding of entrepreneurship and address societal challenges

“For five decades, Arthur Blank has inspired countless Babson students, faculty, staff, and alumni,” said Marla Capozzi, chair of the Babson College Board of Trustees. “As the College embarks on its second century, the collaboration with the Blank Family Foundation will define the next chapter in entrepreneurship education. This powerful relationship will fuel the passions and capabilities of future generations of business leaders who will change companies, communities, and the world for the better.”

Entrance to Babson College (Special)

In 1995, Babson College inducted Blank into its renowned Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs® in recognition of his entrepreneurial achievements to include his current family of businesses: AMB Sports + Entertainment in Atlanta, Georgia (National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons, 2016 NFC champions; Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United, 2018 MLS champions; and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, host of the 2019 Super Bowl); the 41-store, nationwide PGA TOUR Superstore, America’s leading golf retailer; and AMB West in Paradise Valley, Montana (Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, West Creek Ranch, and Paradise Valley Ranch).

With a diverse portfolio of sports, entertainment, retail, and hospitality interests that serve a broad range of customers, the Blank Family of Businesses are guided by six core values: Put people first. Listen and respond. Include everyone. Innovate continuously. Lead by example. And give back to others.

Blank started his Family Foundation in 1995, and he has since invested more than $425 million of his personal fortune in causes that directly benefit local, national, and global interests.

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Maria Saporta
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.

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