Column: Camp Twin Lakes campaign a huge success

By Maria Saporta
Friday, November 19, 2010

Despite the tough economy, Camp Twin Lakes has completed its “Ever Higher” $5.3 million capital campaign in record time.

Camp Twin Lakes is a nonprofit organization that offers year-round recreational, therapeutic and educational programs for children and young adults facing serious illnesses, disabilities and challenges.

“We have been blown away by the generosity in the community,” said Jessie Rosenberg, Camp Twin Lakes’ director of development. “We were so pleased that we were able to close it in 24 months.”

The campaign cabinet, co-chaired by former BellSouth Corp. executive Dick Anderson and former Cox Newspapers President Jay Smith, had been prepared to spend another year to complete expansion plans to renovate and operate a second facility — the Will-A-Way camp at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Ga.

As the money came in, the organization financed the renovation. “We were able to start treating children immediately,” said Eric Robbins, Camp Twin Lakes’ executive director. “We made sure we only spent what we had raised.”

Only one project is left to be completed — a multipurpose building that should be in full operation by the summer.

“We now are able to serve 50 percent more children than we were able to two years ago,” Robbins said. “Next summer, we actually don’t have enough room to serve all the camps that we want to serve.”

The top donor to the campaign was the Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation with a $1.5 million gift. An anonymous donor issued a challenge grant of $850,000. The Kendeda Fund provided a $400,000 grant to make the project “greener,” including having the pool be filled with saltwater.

Other top donors: the Marcus Foundation: $250,000; the R. Howard Dobbs Jr. Foundation: $150,000; the Holly Lane Foundation: $150,000. The $100,000 donors were: the Coca-Cola Foundation, the Jackson Family Foundation, the Tull Charitable Foundation, the Zeist Foundation and a friend of Camp Twin Lakes.

Newell Rubbermaid’s impact

Atlanta-based Newell Rubbermaid Inc., a Fortune 500 company, is letting its community presence be felt as it builds partnerships with 22 metro Atlanta nonprofits.

The “Investing in Community: Partnerships for Impact,” is focused on the full spectrum of education — from early education, to K-12 and professional or technical development for the workforce.

Newell Rubbermaid, a global marketer of consumer and commercial products, has put together a series of three programs for its 22 partners. At the first meeting on Sept. 29, the company distributed a total of $375,000 in checks to the 22 organizations.

“At the end of the first session, everybody left with a grant to help them with their mission,” said Jackie Parker, Newell Rubbermaid’s vice president of global inclusion and diversity as well as corporate philanthropy. The company will reconvene those 22 nonprofits in February and June.

“This affords us an opportunity establish a relationship and support them beyond a grant,” Parker said, adding that company executives also are taking on key roles on local civic boards.

Parker said Newell Rubbermaid has been building its civic profile in Atlanta since 2007, when it had about 500 employees. Today, Newell Rubbermaid employs about 1,200 people in Atlanta. In addition to its corporate headquarters employees, five of the company’s 13 business units are now based in Atlanta.

“I think it’s the commitment of our leadership,” Parker said. “It’s important for us to be responsible citizens of this community.”

For example, the company’s 2010 United Way campaign had 80 percent participation among its employees, up from 60 percent a year ago.

“We have grown exponentially, which supports our commitment to place deeper roots in the community,” Parker said. “It’s an opportunity to make a difference. It’s not an obligation.”

Cancer Coalition grows board

Georgia Cancer Coalition, a comprehensive state initiative to save lives and reduce suffering from cancer, has added three new business and community leaders to its board.

Those three board members are Philip W. Tomlinson, chairman and CEO of Columbus-based TSYS (Total Systems Services); Dorothy Jordan, a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist who founded Camp Sunshine for children with cancer; and Kathy Betty, owner and managing partner of the Atlanta Dream professional women’s basketball team.

The three will join the board Jan. 1. “We are thrilled to have three such talented Georgians join an already strong board of trustees,” GCC President Bill Todd said in a statement.

Garrett, Cooper honored

The Anti-Defamation League held its 2010 Abe Goldstein Community of Respect Dinner Nov. 18 at the St. Regis Hotel, where it honored Michael Garrett, president and CEO of Georgia Power Co.; and Carol Cooper, immediate past chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.

Bill Nigut, ADL’s Southeastern regional director, also said the dinner was an opportunity to “showcase our new partnership with Cartoon Network, in which we are marrying our ‘No Place for Hate’ program to their ‘Stop Bullying, Speak Up’ campaign.”

John Pruitt to be honored

EnAble of Georgia will honor WSB-TV anchor John Pruitt at its annual “Dare to Dream” gala on March 12 at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia. Pruitt will retire at the end of 2010 after more than 40 years in Atlanta television.

Pruitt is being honored for being a dedicated advocate for children with special needs for many years.

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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