Column: Atlanta Philanthropy: Community Foundation Scholarships; Shaheen’s gift to High Museum
By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on August. 30, 2019
Doris and Shouky Shaheen have donated their entire Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Modernist painting collection – a total of 24 works of art – to the High Museum of Art.
According to the High, the Shaheen gift is one of the most significant groups of European paintings ever to enter the museum’s collection, rivaled only by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation donation in 1958, which established the core of the High’s European art holdings. It also marks the High’s first acquisition of paintings by renowned artists such as Henri Fantin-Latour, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani and Alfred Sisley.
“The Shaheens’ contribution single-handedly elevates the quality of our European collection and will greatly enhance the visitor experience,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green Jr. director of the High.
The Shaheens are the founders of Shaheen & Co., which develops warehouse space throughout the metro area.
Atlanta residents since 1965, the Shaheens began to amass their art collection in the early 1970s when they acquired Maurice de Vlaminck’s “Banlieue de Paris” (ca. 1922) from a local gallery. Over the past 50 years, the collection has grown to include paintings by some of the most recognized artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In addition to the first works by Fantin-Latour, Matisse, Modigliani, Sisley, Maurice Utrillo and Vlaminck to enter the High’s collection, the gift includes paintings by Eugène Boudin, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Édouard Vuillard. The paintings’ subjects range from sweeping landscapes and village scenes to intimate portraits and figure studies.
In recognition of the gift, the High will establish the Doris and Shouky Shaheen Gallery in its Stent Family Wing, where the paintings will be on view starting later this year.
“It’s been a great blessing of our life together to build this collection and live with these incredible works,” the Shaheens said in a statement. “Given our love for this collection, and our love for this city, we knew the High was the best home for these paintings. We’re thrilled that Atlantans will enjoy them for generations to come.”
The Shaheens have a long history of philanthropic support for organizations across the Southeast and beyond that reflects their love for the arts and commitment to healthcare access and education. Their financial donations led to the creation of Piedmont Hospital’s Doris Shaheen Breast Health Center in 2004 and helped the hospital significantly expand its emergency room.
As a birthday gift to her husband in 2007, Doris established the Shouky Shaheen Lecture series, which brings nationally and internationally recognized artists and scholars to present lectures at The University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art. The Shaheens have contributed to other institutions of higher learning, including the University of Memphis and Birzeit University. In addition to this major gift of artworks, the couple have contributed generously to the High as members since 1983 and as Friends of the Collection.
Community Foundation Scholarships
Nearly 200 college students from Georgia received nearly $600,000 in scholarships from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta for the 2019/2020 academic year.
A total of 584 students applied for scholarships this year, and 85 new awards were made – totaling $256,150. In addition, 111 students received funding through renewable scholarships totaling $333,000 for the academic year.
Of this year’s Community Foundation scholarship recipients:
- 26% are first generation college-goers in their families;
- 70% are female; 30% are male;
- 85% are students of color; and
- 15% of this year’s awards will go to students attending Spelman College, in large part through the Community Foundation’s George and Pearl Strickland Scholarship that benefits students attending Atlanta’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“Thanks to our generous donors who direct their philanthropy to education, we are able to help hundreds of students pursue their dream of a post-secondary or graduate-level degree,” said Alicia Philipp, president of the Community Foundation. “I’m especially pleased that one-quarter of our scholarship recipients are first-generation college goers. Yet our year-over-year trend is that demand for our scholarships far exceeds the amount we’re able to award.”
Philipp went on to say that “the success of our future economy depends on more students attaining a degree. We need to advocate for state funding for need-based scholarships that will enable more students to enroll and achieve the dream of graduation.”
The Community Foundation manages nearly 20 different scholarship funds.