Articles by Maria Saporta

Learn4Life releases its second annual progress report

A regional initiative to improve educational outcomes in metro Atlanta’s five core counties – Learn4Life – released its second annual report at a Metro Atlanta Chamber event Tuesday morning.

The “State of Education in Metro Atlanta” report highlights the cradle-to-grave approach to improve outcomes for all students. Learn4Life encompasses eight school districts in those five counties – Atlanta, Fulton, DeKalb, Decatur, Cobb, Marietta, Gwinnett and Clayton.

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Column: Trust for Public Land reaches fundraising goal for Westside park

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Dec. 22, 2017

The Trust for Public Land has reached its $12.7 million goal to build out the Rodney Cook Sr. Park in Vine City, with the hope that it will be open in time for the Super Bowl in February 2019.

George Dusenbury, state director of the Trust for Public Land, said the grand vision for the park appealed to both the community and the philanthropic community.

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Westside initiatives take root, ‘but there’s a long way to go’

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Dec. 22, 2017

During a recent tour of English Avenue and Vine City, Frank Fernandez of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation highlighted numerous initiatives that have begun to take root on the Westside.

A former check-cashing business is being transformed into a restaurant. Several vacant lots have been turned into neighborhood parks. Police officers are moving into the neighborhood thanks to an initiative of the Atlanta Police Foundation. Westside Works has a new home where it is training residents in the fields of construction, heath care, culinary arts and soon childcare.

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Column: Civic Atlanta: Woodruff Arts Center gets $5.1 million grant to extend free arts programs

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Dec. 15, 2017

The Woodruff Arts Center will be able to continue its Family Fun programming over the next three years thanks to a new philanthropic grant.

The Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, which is part of the Robert W. Woodruff family of foundations, has awarded the Woodruff Arts Center an extension grant of $5.1 million to allow Family Fun to continue – offering free access to music, visual arts and theater for another three years.

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Column: City’s affordability now ‘top of the list’ for elected leaders

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Dec. 8, 2017

Atlanta’s housing advocates reminded newly-elected leaders of their commitments during the campaign to address the city’s affordability problems.

“It’s an exciting and challenging time for us,” said Bill Bolling, the facilitator of the Atlanta Regional Housing Forum meeting at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Dec. 6, a day after the election. “We finally got affordability to the top of the list. We need to hold [elected leaders] accountable and be allies” in helping make Atlanta more affordable.

Georgia Supreme Court rules in favor of Clark Atlanta and against Invest Atlanta in Morris Brown land sale

The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Clark Atlanta University over ownership of former Morris Brown College land – virtually exhausting Invest Atlanta’s legal options on the case.

The Georgia Supreme Court reaffirmed last year’s ruling by the Georgia Court of Appeals, which agreed that Clark Atlanta had legal right to the Morris Brown property.

Atlanta developer John Williams – a friend to many – dies unexpectedly

Updated: A memorial service to celebrate the life of John A. Williams will be held on Monday, April 23 at 2 p.m. at Peachtree Presbyterian Church at 3434 Roswell Road NW, Atlanta, Ga. 30305.  A reception will follow the service at the Cherokee Town Club at 155 W. Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta Ga 30305. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Piedmont Heart Institute or a charity of your choice

Atlanta commemorates 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination

It was a day of sad memories as Atlanta marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of its hometown spiritual leader – Martin Luther King Jr. – on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.

At the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, King’s family gathered at King’s crypt to lay a wreath and to commemorate the actual moment of King’s death 50 years ago.

Delta’s Ed Bastian: We won’t ‘let the state run our business’

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian, in a rare public appearance since the airline discontinued discounted fares to National Rifle Association members, basked in the applause during the Global HOPE Forum meeting in Atlanta Wednesday.

Operation HOPE CEO John Hope Bryant initiated the conversation praising Bastian for standing up for what’s right despite having “somebody threaten your balance sheet.”

Guess who’s coming to dinner? Joe Biden

In a major coup, the Center for Civil and Human Rights will honor former Vice President Joe Biden at its fourth annual “Power to Inspire” tribute dinner on May 17 at the Georgia Aquarium.

The event has become the biggest annual fundraiser for the Center, which opened in June, 2014, to showcase Atlanta’s role in the Civil Rights Movement and to serve as a gathering place to shine the light on current human rights struggles.

Cousins CEO Gellerstedt: first ACP meeting with Mayor Bottoms one of ‘best’ ever

In its first meeting Friday morning with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms since taking office, the high-powered Atlanta Committee for Progress pledged to do all it can to help her have a successful administration.

Case in point, Bottoms talked about the cyber security attack the city experienced on Thursday, and several of the executives and professional services firms extended offers to help the city if need be.

Carter Center: South Sudan has stopped the spread of Guinea worm disease

The Carter Center and Dr. Riek Gai Kok, the minister of health for South Sudan, made a historic announcement Wednesday morning – the African nation has officially stopped the transmission of Guinea worm disease.

For many years, the area that is now the nation of South Sudan was the most Guinea worm-endemic nation in the world. Now South Sudan is enjoying 15 consecutive months with zero Guinea worm cases.

Mayor Bottoms names Richard Cox, a loaned executive, to serve as city’s COO for one year

tlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has made one of her first major appointments – Richard Cox as the city’s chief operating officer.

Cox is a loaned executive from Cox Automotive (no relation to the Cox family), who will serve the city for one year before he returns to the privately-held company. Cox, who currently serves as vice president of client advising ad performance for Dealer.com, brings more than 15 years of management experience to the position.

Georgia Trust buys three parcels near Westside BeltLine

It’s a new day for the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, which purchased three properties near the Atlanta BeltLine’s Westside trail in Washington Park and Mozley Park.

The Georgia Trust closed on the purchases Thursday – two houses and a vacant lot – with the intent of renovating the two homes and developing a new house on the vacant lot – all while keeping the properties affordable.