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ATL Business Chronicle Maria Saporta

Column: Andrew Young receives Ivan Allen Jr. Prize from Georgia Tech

Andrew Young

Andrew Young (Photo by Maria Saporta)

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on July 27, 2018

Over the years, former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young has received dozens of awards.

But receiving the 2018 Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage from Georgia Tech holds special meaning for Young – the only Atlanta mayor to receive the prize since it was established in 2011.

“That is a real honor for me,” Young said. “The thing I admired most about him was his Plan of Improvement. Everything we have done in this city was already implied in Mayor Allen’s Plan of Improvement, including MARTA.”

Allen served as Atlanta’s mayor during the 1960s when the city was navigating its way from segregation to integration. During that decade, Young was working alongside Martin Luther King Jr. as part of the civil rights movement. Thanks in part to Allen’s enlightened leadership of the city, Atlanta was able to work through the racial strife that afflicted cities and towns throughout the South.

Andrew Young

Andrew Young (photo by Maria Saporta)

Young really got to know Mayor Allen after King was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968. As soon as he heard King had been shot, Allen reached out to Coretta Scott King – going to her home and arranging a police escort to the Atlanta airport so she could fly to Memphis. The news reel of Allen escorting Mrs. King through the Atlanta airport was a calming image – helping Atlanta avoid the violence that broke out in cities all over the country.

“I got to know Mayor Allen well. He had been so helpful when Dr. King was shot,” Young said in an interview July 24. “I remember going down to City Hall. The mayor was sitting in his rocking chair, and we talked for almost two hours.”

They worked closely together to pull the city through a sanitation workers’ strike, and later they partnered on other city initiatives – through Young’s tenure as a U.S. Congressman, as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and then when Young ran for mayor in 1981.

Allen’s advice to him was invaluable. One of Allen’s closest friends was Jack Tarver, publisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution during the 1960s. Despite their friendship, Allen told Young that he could never get a good story in the newspaper about what he was doing as mayor.

Young said that helped him realize that the adversarial relationship between the press and City Hall was not racial.

“Mayor Allen told me you cannot run a city unless the news media understands what you are trying to do,” Young said. That’s why Young has always been easily accessible to the media – while he was mayor and ever since.

Georgia Tech decided to award Young the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage because his “lifelong dedication to public service and city and civil and human rights helped change the course of history.”

Andrew Young

Andrew Young (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson said Young had earned his place in history for “his efforts to build a more just world” throughout his life as an “eloquent” advocate for human rights.

“He continues his tireless, compassionate work to improve the lot of the world’s challenged communities through his Atlanta-based Andrew J. Young Foundation,” Peterson said in a statement. “As a successor to Ivan Allen Jr. in the Atlanta mayor’s chair, it’s altogether fitting that he will be honored as the 2018 winner of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage.”

Young will be honored during a series of events, scheduled for September 13 at the Biltmore, in Georgia Tech’s Technology Square. Planned activities include a town hall discussion for students.

The Ivan Allen Jr. Prize in Social Courage honors the people who lead efforts to improve the human condition. The award is funded in perpetuity by a grant from the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation, and recipients are awarded a $100,000 stipend.

Young said that he likely will dedicate most of that stipend to his foundation.

The inaugural prize was awarded in March 2011 to former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn. Other recipients include Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, global health leader William Foege, and humanitarian activist Nancy Parrish.

PGA TOUR adds beneficiaries

The PGA TOUR and TOUR will expand its philanthropic impact in Atlanta by adding two new neighborhood-based nonprofits in Atlanta – the Grove Park Foundation and Purpose Built Schools Atlanta.

PGA Tour

Left to right: Daniel J. Shoy, Jr., president and CEO of the East Lake Foundation; Debra Edelson, executive director of the Grove Park Foundation; David Edwards, CEO of Purpose Built Communities; Greg Giornelli, president of Purpose Built Schools; and Shirley Franklin, executive board chair of Purpose Built Communities (Photo: TOUR Championship and the East Lake Foundation)

Since the TOUR Championship was first staged at East Lake Golf Club in 1998, it has benefited the East Lake Foundation. Starting with this year’s tournament, the Tour will benefit the three organizations that are working to create healthy, equitable and vibrant neighborhoods. The three entities partner in providing high quality education for economically disadvantaged children and comprehensive support for families.

The addition of the two new nonprofit partners, the TOUR Championship will be able to connect more communities and organizations engaged in community through the high profile annual sporting event in Atlanta.

“This is the beginning of a new chapter of purposeful investment in strong, healthy neighborhoods in Atlanta that support residents and provide opportunity for all people who reside in them,” said Allison Fillmore, executive director of the TOUR Championship.

Last year’s tournament provided more than $2.5 million to East Lake Foundation and other local nonprofits including The First Tee of Atlanta.

The TOUR estimates that 10 percent of net proceeds this year will go to Grove Park Foundation and Purpose Built Schools Atlanta with the remaining 90 percent to sustain the East Lake Foundation’s continued work. Over time, an increased percentage of the proceeds will benefit Grove Park Foundation and Purpose Built Schools Atlanta.

The East Lake Foundation was founded in 1995 by developer and philanthropist Tom Cousins. The Foundation collaborates with public and private organizations to provide tools that enable Atlanta’s East Lake residents to build a better future.

The East Lake model includes cradle-to-college education at Drew Charter School and its early learning partners, mixed-income housing at The Villages of East Lake.

Arby’s Foundation dreams big

The Arby’s Foundation hosted its third annual Dream Big Atlanta event on July 17, raising more than $400,000 to rally the local community in its efforts to combat childhood hunger and supporting youth leadership and career readiness initiatives. At the event, the Arby’s Foundation:

  • presented a $150,000 grant to Horizons Atlanta to help advance their mission of closing the opportunity gap for Atlanta’s youth through summer learning opportunities;
  • awarded annual Dream Big Scholarship to Cristo Rey student Nala Bishop to support her studies; and
  • surprised Atlanta-based music artist Alex Guthrie on-stage with a contribution to Enduring Hearts, an organization personally close to the artist.

“By raising more than $400,000, Dream Big Atlanta has embodied our core value to ‘Dream Big’ for the third straight year,” said Stuart Brown, executive director of the Arby’s Foundation. “Through our work with nonprofits like Horizons Atlanta, we are driving real change that is felt in Atlanta and beyond.”

Dream Big Atlanta is one way the Arby’s Foundation makes a difference in helping children. This fall, Arby’s restaurants across the country will be collecting donations to support three national nonprofit partners: No Kid Hungry, Junior Achievement and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Young Gamechangers

As a key initiative of GeorgiaForward, Young Gamechangers will gather in Albany, Ga., on Aug. 10 to focus on public school innovations, the creation of a talent pipeline and unveiling a new look for Albany’s downtown.

Since the beginning of the year, 48 of Georgia’s brightest young professionals have researched Albany’s history, met with community leaders, toured campuses and neighborhoods, visited recreation areas, and re-imagined downtown in their quest to come up with big ideas and innovative solutions to some of the area’s most persistent challenges.

They will reveal the results of their hard work at Albany State University on the afternoon of Aug. 10.

“The community, business and political leadership in Albany/Dougherty County have given the Young Gamechangers tremendous support during our time here,” said Kris Vaughn, executive director of GeorgiaForward. “This area has had weather-related disasters in the last few years and other challenges, but they are rebuilding better and stronger.”

Vaughn said the recommendations of the Young Gamechangers will “help take Albany to the next level.”

The Young Gamechangers program includes professionals from across the state between the ages of 24 and 40. They work in diverse sectors including business, law, nonprofit, education, finance, media, engineering, agriculture, healthcare, politics, tourism, marketing, urban and economic development.

GeorgiaForward is a non-profit, non-partisan organization working to improve the state by engaging business, political, academic and civil leaders to collaboratively shape a statewide policy agenda.


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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1 Comment

  1. Bill Branham November 25, 2018 1:09 pm

    Great to have met Ambassador Young! A hero of the Civil Rights Movement!Report


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