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Beloved Benefit keeps giving – even without a 2020 event

Beloved Benefit Dan Cathy and Shan Cooper at a Transform Westside Summit to talk about plans for the first Beloved Benefit held in 2019 (Photo by Maria Saporta)

By Maria Saporta

Although there was not a Beloved Benefit in 2020 because of the coronavirus, it did not stop the entity from donating $700,000 to seven Atlanta nonprofits.

The Beloved Benefit was able to donate those grants thanks to donations from 2020 donors who had committed to support the second annual start-studded event that would have been held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on June 4, 2020.

The event would have raised millions of dollars that would have benefited numerous nonprofit organizations in metro Atlanta focused on the issues of affordable housing and economic mobility.

Beloved Benefit

Dan Cathy and Shan Cooper at a Transform Westside Summit to talk about plans for the first Beloved Benefit held in 2019 (Photo by Maria Saporta)

When organizers realized they would be unable to hold the 2020 Beloved Benefit, they put together a series of Beloved Conversations to amplify its message and to further its mission, which lead volunteers to continue to raise funds from community donors

“We are deeply grateful to Atlanta’s corporate leaders for continuing to support Beloved and our worthwhile nonprofit beneficiaries in such an economically challenging year,” said Rodney Bullard, co-leader of the Beloved Benefit and vice president of corporate social responsibility for Chick-fil-A, Inc. as well as executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation.

The 2020 Beloved donors include: AMB Group; Ameris BankAT&TBank of AmericaChick-fil-A, Inc.Choate Construction Co.the Coca-Cola Co.Mercedes-Benz StadiumPNCTruistUPS; and Wells Fargo.

The Beloved Benefit is rooted in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of the Beloved Community, and it aspires to build a strong foundation for sustainable change to solidify Atlanta’s legacy as a community at the forefront of eradicating poverty, hunger, and homelessness as well as a community where racism and prejudice are replaced with love and brotherhood.

The seven Beloved Beneficiaries receiving 2020 grants include: Atlanta Habitat for HumanityAtlanta Neighborhood Development PartnershipAtlanta University Center ConsortiumFocused Community StrategiesGrove Park FoundationQuest Community Housing; and Westside Future Fund.

The 2019 Beloved Benefit brought together hundreds of Atlantans from all walks of life (Photo by Maia Saporta)

“We are so grateful to be a beneficiary of the Beloved Benefit,” said Jim Wehner, president of Focused Community Strategies, which partners with under-resourced neighborhoods in South Atlanta to provide innovative and holistic development. “The timing of this gift could not be better. 2020 was a challenging year for all of us and this gift is a reminder to our team that we are not alone in this work. The Beloved Benefit is a great example of how we can come together as a community to build a greater Atlanta.”

In 2021, Beloved Benefit will remain focused on addressing the community’s most pressing needs. In the meantime, the Beloved Conversation series will continue to cultivate dialogue and awareness around Beloved’s focus areas of affordable housing and economic mobility.

It is too early to say whether there will be an in-person Beloved Benefit in 2021. The organizers will monitor the availabilities of the COVID vaccine, social distancing guidelines and the availability of the Mercedes-Benz venue when making the decision to hold the event.

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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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