Column: $1 million grant will support homeless programs

By Maria Saporta
Friday, March 19, 2010

Atlanta’s United Way has a new million-dollar donor — Thomas K. Glenn II and the Hilda and Wilbur Glenn Family Foundation.

Glenn’s $1 million gift will be spread over two years and will go toward supporting the Regional Commission on Homelessness’ programs to place people in homes. The programs are Street to Home; Shelter to Home; and Hospital to Home.

“Roughly 10 years ago — a new trend started toward rehabilitating the homeless as opposed to just sheltering them,” Glenn said. “The United Way’s Regional Commission on Homelessness embraces the concept of rehabilitation.”

Glenn said such programs will help the city, county, the state and Grady Hospital save money in the costs of providing public assistance, public safety and public health. It also can become a pathway to turn the homeless into productive, tax-paying citizens.

“That makes for a rather appealing investment for grantors,” said Glenn, adding that this type of giving is “outside the scope of our normal grant-making strategy.”

Atlanta’s United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Inc. President Milton Little said he was introduced to Glenn a little over a year ago by then-Campaign Chairman Ed Heys of Deloitte LLP when they were in the middle of their Critical Needs fundraising drive.

Although the Glenn Foundation did not participate in that effort, Thomas Glenn, who is president of the family foundation, said he welcomed having an open dialogue with United Way about its initiatives. So in January, Little went to visit Glenn and told him about the work of the Regional Commission on Homelessness, and that resulted in the $1 million gift.

“It’s a big boost for two reasons,” Little said. “It’s an important part of our fundraising effort; and because of our Street to Home program, we’ve had some great success.”

Since 2008, the Street to Home/Shelter to Home program has worked with 749 clients through February 2010. Of those, 77.8 percent have remained in supportive housing and off the streets, and 39.2 percent have graduated to independent housing or have been reunited with family or friends. Also, 14.4 percent of those have found employment.

Thanks to the gift, Glenn and his family foundation now join United Way’s Million Dollar Roundtable — individuals and family foundations that have given at least $1 million.

Among those in the Million Dollar Roundtable are: Billi and Bernie Marcus; Ginny and Guy Millner; Madeline and Howell Adams; Peter and Gina Genz; R. Charles Loudermilk Sr.; Stephanie and Arthur Blank; Sue and John Wieland; the Kendeda Fund; the late J.B. Fuqua and his wife, Dorothy; the late Robert C. Goizueta and his wife, Olga; and the late Scott Hudgens.

Todd wins Allen Prize

The legacy of the late Ivan Allen Jr. lives on. On his birthday, March 15, the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at Georgia Tech held the 10th annual Founder’s Day luncheon when it awarded William J. Todd, the 2010 recipient of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service.

Todd is president of the Georgia Cancer Coalition, and he has spent 38 years involved in health care and technology development in metro Atlanta. Todd, an alumnus of Georgia Tech (1971), also is immediate past chair of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association.

This will be the last Prize for Progress and Service that the college will award because Georgia Tech is enhancing its identification with the late Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr.

Starting in 2011, Georgia Tech will launch the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage. The new prize will recognize an individual who has demonstrated moral and ethical courage consistent with Mayor Allen’s values.

The international prize, which is being endowed with a $2 million gift from the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation, will include a $100,000 monetary stipend.

During the Founder’s Day lunch, Todd spent most of his talk describing the leadership that Mayor Ivan Allen displayed during the 1960s, when he was a progressive voice in the South who supported integration.

Todd also responded to Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson’s challenge to imagine what the university could look like in 2035. Todd said he would want Georgia Tech to “create a leadership initiative” that would have a “profound and lasting impact on our nation.”

Royster introduced at Tech

The Ivan Allen College also was able to introduce its dean-designate during a panel discussion before the Founder’s Day lunch.

Most recently, Jacqueline Jones Royster served as senior provost and executive dean of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences at Ohio State University. She also served as chief academic officer from 2004 to 2008.

Royster has been a professor of English and been involved in rhetorical studies, women’s studies and literacy.

In addition to becoming dean of the Ivan Allen College, Royster will be a professor in the School of Literature, Communication and Culture. She’s expected to come on board before the fall semester.

She already has ties to Atlanta, holding a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College (1971). She returned to Spelman in 1978 serving as both an English professor and in administration.

The Ivan Allen College has been without a permanent dean since August 2009 when then-Dean Sue Rosser became provost at San Francisco University. Until Royster begins her post, it is being led by interim Dean Kenneth Knoespel.

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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