Column: Atlanta school gets an ‘A’ for landing jobs for its students

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on November 17, 2017

The Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School is quickly becoming a national model among the 32 Cristo Rey schools in the United States.

“We are the only Cristo Rey school in the country that has every student in a paying job,” said Bill Garrett, president of Atlanta’s Cristo Rey. “We have 137 corporate work student partners.”

Marty Flanagan Bill Garrett

Invesco’s Martin Flanagan with Cristo Rey Atlanta’s Bill Garrett and first annual CEO breakfast (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Cristo Rey Atlanta, a Catholic learning community that educates young people of limited economic means and of any faith, will graduate its first senior class in 2018. It now has 535 students, and every student carries a full load of classes and works five full days a month in a corporate work setting.

Companies pay Cristo Rey $32,000 to employ a team of four students, and those earnings cover most of the tuition for the college-prep education at Cristo Rey Atlanta.

Cristo Rey held its first annual CEO breakfast on Nov. 14 at the headquarters of Invesco to say thank you to the executives for hiring the students, but most of the executives in the room said they get more out of the experience than the students do.

Martin Flanagan, CEO of Invesco, was one of the 41 founding corporate work study partners, and now employs two teams of students. He described how the students evolve over time, starting out as shy teenagers who are scared to shake hands into students “beaming with confidence.”

The school just moved to a building in downtown Atlanta, raising $30.3 million in 14 months to renovate the facility and build a new gym and assembly space. The building and gym will be dedicated on Jan. 30.

The students who attend Cristo Rey often are the first in their families to be college-bound, and the school helps change the trajectory of the students’ lives by preparing them for the workforce.

“You are truly making an impact on the success of our school, and you are making a difference in the lives of our students,” Garrett told the group of about 50 business civic leaders at the breakfast. “The average family income of our students is $31,000 per year.”

Camille Naughton, Cristo Rey Atlanta’s vice president of advancement and corporate partnerships, credited Atlanta’s business and philanthropic community for making the school so successful.

“It’s a philanthropic town,” she said. “Atlanta should be proud of itself. We’ve had the most successful launch of any Cristo Rey school in the country.”

Philanthropists of the Year

Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot, insisted that he introduce Doug and Lila Hertz as Philanthropists of the Year at the National Philanthropy Day luncheon on Nov. 9 at the Georgia Aquarium.

ila and doug hertz bernie marcus

Lila and Doug Hertz at Philanthropy of the Year event (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Marcus remembered when Doug Hertz first called on him to help support Camp Twin Lakes.

“He was young. I was young,” said Marcus, who said Hertz also was instrumental in bringing together Egleston Children’s Hospital and Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital to form Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. “It was an impossible task — like bringing together Republicans and Democrats.” Then Marcus half-seriously suggested that Hertz should become president of the United States.

Lila Hertz credited her husband for pushing her to take leadership roles, and she called him the “dreamer” in their family.

Doug Hertz thanked Marcus, the late Erwin Zaban, and the late John Imlay, among others, for being great role models.

But he added that many women deserve credit for much of his success, including Jackie Montag, Sally Yates, Donna Hyland, Virginia Hepner and especially his wife.

“She’s the greatest of all time,” Hertz said. “Lila has been beside me in everything. She’s been encouraging. She’s been the conscience of our family and our moral compass. I would not have accomplished anything without her.”

Elizabeth Kiss and Hillary Clinton

It was like a bolt out of the blue, said Agnes Scott College President Elizabeth Kiss, when a call came in from Hillary Clinton’s team on Nov. 9 asking if she would moderate a conversation with the former U.S. secretary of state.

Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Kiss

Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Kiss at the Fox Theatre (Photo by Maria Saporta

“It was one of those requests where you think they must have the wrong person,” Kiss said.

But it was no mistake. So on Monday, Nov. 13, Kiss led Clinton in a one-hour conversation at the Fox Theatre before a sold-out crowd.

“She was so incredibly warm and gracious,” Kiss said the next day. “She was so approachable.”

Clinton told the enthusiastic crowd that she tends “to be careful in public,” a criticism she received on the campaign trail.

“I keep my guard up,” she said. “Well those days are over.”

Kiss described Clinton as having a “sense of liberation and real frankness; she was comfortable in her own skin.” Kiss said she was so pleased that so many members of the Agnes Scott student body attended to hear from the first woman to be a nominee for president from a major political party.

Kiss still doesn’t know why she was picked to be on stage with Clinton. The two had only met briefly on two occasions when she was with the Obama administration. But Clinton did receive an honorary degree from Agnes Scott in 2005 before Kiss became president. On that note, Kiss has announced she’ll be stepping down as president of Agnes Scott in 2018.

Enduring Hearts

The Marietta-based nonprofit Enduring Hearts has named Carolyn Salvador its new executive director.

carolyn salvador

carolyn salvador

Salvador most recently completed a seven-year stint as executive director of the Georgia Child Care Association. She led and executed strategic advocacy objectives as the voice for Georgia’s early education industry at the legislative and regulatory levels. Also, Salvador was CEO and owner of Discovery Point Child Center, a nationally recognized early learning center, from 1998 to 2008.

She succeeds Ankur Chatterjee, a private equity and venture investor, who held the post for the past two and a half years. Chatterjee will continue to serve as president of board. Under Chatterjee’s leadership, Enduring Hearts raised $2.5 million towards its mission of funding research that increases the longevity of pediatric heart transplants, improves quality of life for transplant recipients, and eliminates pediatric heart disease.

On Nov. 28 — Giving Tuesday — donors to Enduring Hearts will received a 30-to-1 match, thanks to 30 sponsors thatagreed to match incoming gifts, Salvador said.

“Carolyn is a multi-talented, insightful and experienced nonprofit leader, as well as a highly compassionate and thoughtful individual,” said founder and chairman of Enduring Hearts, Patrick Gahan. “With her track record supporting early education initiatives the past 15 years, she is an ideal person to guide Enduring Hearts as we continue to grow and increase our impact.”

Ed McBrayer honored

PATH Foundation’s co-founder and president, Ed McBrayer, was honored Nov. 4 by the Trust for Public Land’s ninth annual Celebration of the Land.

George Dusenbury Ed McBrayer

George Dusenbury and Ed McBrayer at TPL event (Photo by Maria Saporta)

The “Urban Nights, City Lights” event on the rooftop of Ponce City Market overlooked one of the PATH Foundation’s most celebrated projects – the Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail. Even a downpour during the event did not dampen the spirits of those present, including Will Rogers, the national president and CEO of TPL.

“We are proud to recognize Ed for all of the transformative work he and his team have done over the last 26 years through the PATH Foundation,” said George Dusenbury, director of Georgia for the Trust for Public Land. “He is a visionary, who saw many years ago the need for dedicated paths for joggers, walkers and people on bicycles or skates to enjoy being outdoors.”

TPL was instrumental in acquiring land adjacent to the Beltline before it was bought by developers, which enabled the city to create parks and green space along the corridor.

Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Award winner

OnBoard honored prominent Atlanta attorney Lizanne Thomas with its prestigious Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Award on Nov. 8 at its annual dinner at the Cobb Energy Center.

Thomas heads Jones Day’s corporate governance team, and she is the partner-in-charge of the Southern U.S. region.

OnBoard said Thomas has either served or continues to serve on the boards of Atlantic Capital Bancshares, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Krispy Kreme.

Evans was one of the first women to serve on a major corporate board in Georgia — The Coca-Cola Co

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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