By Maria Saporta
A gift of nearly $600,000 from Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson and his wife, Susan, helped close out the $12.5 million campaign to fund the Atlanta BeltLine’s Westside Trail.
The private fundraising campaign was crucial in securing an $18 million TIGER V grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which is accelerating construction on the Westside Trail by two to three years.
Funding will support the development of the Westside Trail, land acquisition, and project management and stewardship through the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership’s continuing efforts to enable the transformative project, empower the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, and engage the users and visitors of the parks and trails.
The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, the private fundraising arm for the transformational initiative, announced the successful completion of the campaign on Tuesday. The lead gift of $5 million came from Jim Kennedy through the James M. Cox Foundation/PATH Foundation.
Another critical gift that helped close out the campaign was a grant of $500,000 from Porsche Cars North America.
“The private sector’s support is once again playing a critical role in delivering more of the Atlanta BeltLine – this time to southwest Atlanta,” said Chuck Meadows, executive director of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership.
Meadows went on to say that Kennedy’s generous gift as well as the leadership on the board and fundraising committee “infused the campaign with the momentum to not only meet the tight TIGER V grant timeline, but also to rally other donors to accelerate the completion of the campaign.”
The Andersons donated 13,000 shares of Delta Air Lines’ stock to the Atlanta BeltLine on Feb. 20, according to Trebor Bannister, a Delta spokesman. Based on the price Delta’s stock at that time, the value of that gift was about $598,000.
It was the second major gift Richard Anderson has made to the Atlanta BeltLine since last May when he donated 28,500 shares of Delta stock to the project, according to Bannister, who did not say how much that gift was worth.
Other major gifts to the Westside Trail campaign included:
- a $2.5 million gift from Kaiser Permanente, including $500,000 for health measurement and programming;
- a $500,000 gift from Wells Fargo Foundation to support accessible, vibrant communities;
- a $500,000 gift in memory of Herman J. Russell, Sr.
The Atlanta Committee for Progress also provided critical leadership for the campaign, helping to secure key corporate contributions.
The effort was led by the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership board and a campaign committee led by Honorary Chair: Mayor Kasim Reed; Honorary Co-Chairs: James C. Kennedy of Cox Enterprises, Philip I. Kent, the late Herman J. Russell, Sr., A. Ray Weeks, Jr. of Weeks Robinson Properties; and Co-Chairs Matt M. Bronfman of Jamestown Properties, Michael S. Donnelly of Wells Fargo Bank, Ernest L. Greer of Greenberg Traurig, Michael B. Russell of H. J. Russell & Company, and Jeffrey Sprecher of Intercontinental Exchange.
Here is a list of the Capital Campaign Donors:
James M. Cox Foundation / PATH Foundation
Susan and Richard Anderson
In Memory of Herman J. Russell
Porsche Cars North America
Mr. John Portman and Mr. Charlie Loudermilk
Georgia Power Foundation, Inc.
Ray Weeks, Jr.
Cousins Properties, Incorporated
Richard and Susan Dugas Family Foundation
Morgens West Foundation
Rebecca and John Somerhalder
SunTrust Trusteed Foundations:
Harriet McDaniel Marshall Trust and
Walter H. and Marjory M. Rich Memorial Fund
Douglas J. Hertz Family Foundation, Inc.
Philip I. Kent
Mr. and Mrs. R. Charles Shufeldt
L&C Wood Family Foundation, Inc.
The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership said that when the Westside Trail is completed, it will transform an abandoned rail corridor into a 14-foot wide paved multi-use pathway for pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles.
The project will also include the construction of 14 access points, 11 of which will be ADA-accessible, along with lighting, security cameras, signage, way-finding, mile-markers, and underground utility tunnels. An expansion of the Atlanta BeltLine arboretum will blend hundreds of large, native trees and integrate more than 30 acres of inviting and usable new green space.
The project will be constructed in preparation for future streetcar expansion. The Westside Trail connects four schools and four parks, as well as the residents of 10 southwest Atlanta neighborhoods to public transit, existing community businesses and future economic development sites.
Thanks to the Kaiser Permanente funding, there will be programming to improve the health of the people and communities on the Westside Trail. For more information, please visit the Atlanta BeltLine’s website about the Westside Trail.