Column: Arts Center raises its 2010-2011 fundraising goal

By Maria Saporta
Friday, September 10, 2010

Maybe the local economy is looking up.

When the Woodruff Arts Center kicks off its 2010-2011 fundraising campaign Sept. 14, its goal will be more than what it raised during the last two years.

The goal will be $8.8 million, compared with last year’s goal of $8.6 million, which it missed by about 2 percent. The year before, it raised $8.6 million, about $400,000 short of its $9 million goal.

But Kurt Kuehn, chief financial officer for United Parcel Service Inc. and chair of the 2010-2011 Woodruff campaign, gave two reasons for the “ambitious” goal.

“We do think things have stabilized a bit,” said Kuehn, talking about the local economy. “New firms have come to town. And our long-term corporate donors — Delta, Coca-Cola and UPS — are steadfast supporters.”

Also, Kuehn said, the campaign cabinet wanted to make sure it raised enough money to meet the needs of the Woodruff Arts Center and its four divisions — the High Museum of Art, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Alliance Theatre and Young Audiences.

“The needs are certainly clear, and that goal is essential to maintaining all the programs that are going on,” Kuehn said. “The Woodruff Arts Center footprint is much greater than just intown Atlanta. It represents an asset for the entire metro region. We don’t realize how fortunate we are.”

Beauchamp Carr, the center’s executive vice president in charge of the campaign, said the center draws about a million patrons a year. The center also reaches 700,000 children in 90 Georgia counties through its educational outreach programs.

The educational programs have been a top priority of Woodruff Arts Center President Joe Bankoff.

More than 150 corporate volunteers are part of the $8.8 million campaign, which will come to a close on May 31.

“Joe and I are incredibly grateful that they were willing to take on an increased goal in this environment,” Carr said. “They understand how great the need is for the arts in general and for the center in particular.”

Other key members of the campaign cabinet: Deloitte’s Brad Branch, who is chairman-elect; The Coca-Cola Co.’s Ingrid Saunders Jones, who is special vice chairman; Region Bank’s Bill Linginfelter, who is the immediate past chairman; SunTrust Banks Inc.’s Gary Peacock, who is co-chairing the challenge fund; and Veronica Biggins, his fellow co-chair of the challenge fund and a search consultant with HNCL Search.

Early ed summit.

The recently launched Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS) will put on a major “inaugural” summit on Oct. 5 at the headquarters of Georgia Public Broadcasting.

The summit will bring together early education leaders from throughout the state as well as national representatives.

The summit will be hosted by the Atlanta Falcons’ Arthur and Stephanie Blank, The Home Depot Inc.’s Frank and Liz Blake, UPS’ Mike and Molly Eskew and The Coca-Cola Co.’s Muhtar and Defne Kent.

The event is aimed at engaging business and economic leaders on making investments in early education and to identify the next policy steps needed to ensure high-quality early education and care for Georgia’s children.

International milestone

The Atlanta International School marked its 25th anniversary on Sept. 3 — a milestone for bilingual education in the region.

The school was founded by international business leaders, parents and educators who wanted to offer Atlanta students an opportunity for global learning.

Initially, the school opened in September 1985 with 51 students, who could study under three bilingual language tracks. It moved from a small school house to its current home — the former North Fulton High School — in the Garden Hills community. It now has nearly 1,000 students.

In mid-October, the Atlanta International School also will dedicate its new Art, Science and Design Center. On Oct. 25, the school will hold its signature “Worldfest” event. On Oct. 27, Fareed Zakaria, a CNN host and editor of Newsweek International, will give a lecture.

Green biz expo

Businesses being green is the theme of Atlanta’s inaugural GreenBusiness Works EXPO being held Oct. 26-28 at the Cobb Galleria.

Rosalind Brewer, executive vice president of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and president of Wal-Mart’s South business unit will talk about Wal-Mart’s business and sustainability practices both in the eight Southern states and internationally.

Other speakers will include Ira Blumenthal, CEO of the Captain Planet Foundation; and Joel Babbit, CEO of the Mother Nature Network.

Stephanie Armistead is general manager for GreenBusiness Works, which is dedicated to educating businesses about sustainable practices.

EarthShare board grows

EarthShare of Georgia, which represents workplace giving campaigns for environmental organizations, has added four new members to its board.

They include: Nathan Ballard, information technology manager and assistant vice president of Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta; Ira Blumenthal, president of the Captain Planet Foundation; Jerry McCollum, president and CEO of the Georgia Wildlife Federation; and Rebecca Serna Woiderski, executive director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.

Captain Planet, the Georgia Wildlife Federation and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition are all EarthShare of Georgia members.

EarthShare of Georgia is a nonprofit that raises funds for more than 60 environmental organizations dedicated to conserving and protecting air, land and water.

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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