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Column: AID Atlanta seeks permanent CEO as health plans shift

By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on September 13, 2013,

AID Atlanta, a 31-year-old organization with national stature, is in the midst of a major leadership transition.

The board is conducting a nationwide search for a permanent CEO to steer the organization through the potentially bumpy period of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — and the future medical funding of treating people living with HIV and AIDS.

Cathy Woolard, the former president of the Atlanta City Council who has been serving as the interim CEO of AID Atlanta since January, said the organization has just completed a new strategic plan to position itself for long-term sustainability. Woolard will continue to serve until a permanent CEO is on board, which is expected to be no later than the end of the year.

“We are going into unknown territory in Georgia with the Affordable Care Act,” Woolard said. “The person who comes on board needs to have a background in nonprofit health care, some one who has the qualifications to guide us into the future, which would not be me. I will be there fully through the transition and as long as they need me. But I’m really happy to go back to working for myself.”

At the same time as there is a change at the staff level, Mark Rinder, who has served as AID Atlanta’s board chair since 2009 and on the board since 2003, has decided not to stand for re-election in January. So AID Atlanta will have a totally new leadership team in 2014.

Meanwhile, the issues facing AID Atlanta are serious. In an email seeking to raise support for the Oct. 20 AIDS Walk Atlanta, Rinder said that Atlanta has the eighth-highest incidence of HIV/AIDS in the country.

AID Atlanta has about 90 employees with an annual budget of $7.6 million. About 80 percent of that is government funding. The rest is raised privately through events like the AIDS Walk and charitable contributions. AID Atlanta provides services to more than 50,000 individuals throughout the state — from education to case management medical services and testing at multiple locations.

If HIV is detected and treated early, it is possible for someone to live with the disease for many years. But the challenge is for people to get tested and then treated to a point where they are not at risk of infecting others.

Every year, about 3,000 people test positive for HIV/AIDS in Georgia — and that number could multiply if funding to treat HIV dries up.

“One of the things the Atlanta region needs to address is that compared to other cities in the United States, there exists a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS,” Woolard said. “The sooner you find out and get treated, the better off you are going to be.”

Fontaine Huey to lead CVI

The Center for the Visually Impaired has named Fontaine M. Huey as its new president beginning Oct. 1. She will succeed Subie Green, who is retiring from the organization.

Huey is leaving the Atlanta Botanical Garden, where she has served as its vice president for institutional advancement since 2006. In addition to her work at the Garden, Huey also served as director of museum advancement at the High Museum of Art; as director of development for the College of Fine Arts at the University of Florida; and at the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra.

“The board is very excited about the selection of Fontaine Huey to lead CVI,” said Susan Hoy, chair of CVI’s board. “The search committee was initially impressed by Ms. Huey’s successful experience with fundraising in the Atlanta community. However, we quickly came to appreciate the skill and sensitivity she brought to all her interactions with the diverse populations she met with during the interview process.”

Home Depot helps ToolBank

The Home Depot Foundation is making a $150,000 grant to ToolBank USA to help the Atlanta-based nonprofit expand its national network.

The grant is the third investment by the Home Depot Foundation since the founding of ToolBank USA in 2008. ToolBanks currently exist in Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte and Cincinnati. The nonprofit also is developing ToolBanks in Houston, Portland, Phoenix, Richmond and Chicago.

“Each community’s ToolBank serves hundreds of nonprofit organizations that are preserving green spaces, building affordable housing and putting volunteers to work with hands-on projects,” said Kelly Caffarelli, president of The Home Depot Foundation.

In 2012, the four operating ToolBanks loaned more than $1.6 million in tools to charities, equipping more than 73,000 volunteers for use in service projects. With four additional ToolBanks projected to open in 2014, ToolBank impact is growing rapidly.

“We are working toward a nation in which there is no longer a shortage of tools for those organizations that are transforming communities,” said ToolBank USA CEO Mark Brodbeck. “The American volunteer spirit is indomitable, and tool scarcity is a real problem to which the ToolBank is a simple and affordable solution.”

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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