By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on February 14, 2014
Thanks to an anonymous donor who made a record-setting $103.9 million gift at the end of the year, the Community Foundation was able to enjoy a record-setting year in 2013.
The Community Foundation received a total of $196 million in gifts in 2013 — the most it has received in its 63-year history.
Those gifts also helped the Community Foundation hit the highest level of total assets that it ever has enjoyed — more than $900 million — certainly an important milestone for metro Atlanta’s philanthropic savings account.
“It was an amazing year,” said Alicia Philipp, president of the Community Foundation. She credited the record donations to gifts from high-net-worth individuals whose investments had done well in the stock market and were interested in philanthropic tax deductions.
The Community Foundation is also within striking distance of having $1 billion in assets — a high-water mark Philipp would love to reach.
“I’m a competitive person,” Philipp said, adding that it’s important the Atlanta region view the foundation’s assets as the “community’s endowment.”
But what is most important for Philipp is how much money the Community Foundation was able to give away last year — $121 million in about 5,500 grants to nonprofits locally, nationally and abroad.
“Our donors are generous, passionate people who care deeply about harnessing their philanthropic dollars to help improve the quality of life in our region and beyond,” Philipp said.
Major donors channel their gifts through the Community Foundation. Among the top gifts given through its donor-advised funds are $49.75 million to Grady Memorial Hospital as part of the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation’s $199 million gift made in 2008.
The Community Foundation also gave a total of $6.12 million to Emory University and its affiliates; $1.73 million to the Atlanta Public School system; $1.54 million to the East Lake Foundation; $1.38 million to the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta; $1.16 million to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights; $1.15 million to Habitat for Humanity – Atlanta; $1.08 million to the Center for Puppetry Arts; $1.03 million to KIPP Metro Atlanta; and $916,667 to Woodward Academy.
Of the top 10 Competitive Grant Awards in 2013, Sheltering Arms Early Education received $130,000; the Center for Black Women’s Wellness received $112,000; Our House received $101,000; and the Georgia Justice Project, the Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta, Weinstein Hospice and the Whiteford Community Program each received $100,000 grants.
“The power we have are the gifts going out,” Philipp said. “They are what’s making a difference in our community.”
Three Atlanta hospitals — Shepherd Center, Emory University Hospital and Piedmont Hospital — have been selected to become part of the “Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program” in 2014.
The Southwest program provides participants complimentary, round-trip airline tickets to families who are facing serious illness and need to travel for specialized medical care.
Being able to fly for free to receive top-quality medical treatment helps give families who already are facing great challenges one less thing to worry about.
Southwest expects the program will result in a total of $2.8 million in free flights in 2014. Since Southwest started the national program in 2007 in 26 states, it has provided a total of 33,000 airline tickets. In the past seven years, that has resulted in $13.2 million in free transportation. In all, the program has touched the lives of 26,000 patients.
Quinnie Jenkins-Rice, Southwest’s regional community affairs leader, said one recipient of the program has been 3-year-old Toby Shaw, who battles arthrogryposis, which affects the joints in his arms and wrists. Through the Southwest Airlines Medical Transport Program, Toby has been able to travel from his home in Ohio to Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia to receive the best treatment available for his condition.
Proms are not just for high school students anymore.
On May 2, Senior Connections will hold its Sixth Annual “Senior Prom” — a major annual fundraiser for the organization with a mission to provide essential home and community-based care to maximize the independence of senior citizens.
The 2014 Community Connections Award recipient will be David Ratcliffe, the retired chairman, president and CEO of Southern Co. The award ceremony and fundraiser will be held at the Thalia N. Carlos Hellenic Center on Clairmont Road.
Debra Furtado, CEO of Senior Connections, says the hope is that the Senior Prom will raise $250,000 for the organization and that all the proceeds will go toward feeding more seniors and fighting hunger in metro Atlanta.
“This year we are raising much-needed funds to feed more seniors in need and reduce the waiting list numbers,” Furtado said.
Since 1973 Senior Connections has provided programs and services designed to help seniors “age in place” in the comfort of their own homes. More than 15,000 nutritious meals are prepared weekly out of Senior Connections’ main kitchen, and meals are distributed throughout metro Atlanta and Middle Georgia.
Coca-Cola as breakfast host
In fact, initially the Coca-Cola host was supposed to be Steve Cahillane, president of Coca-Cola Americas. But on Dec. 13, Coca-Cola announced a major management reorganization that took many by surprise. The company issued a statement saying that Cahillane had “decided to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.” His position was realigned.
So the host of the 2014 breakfast will be Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America.
By the way, Cahillane was a key Coca-Cola representative on the Metro Atlanta Chamber. He also was slated to chair the Woodruff Arts Center’s 2014-2015 annual campaign following SunTrust CEO Bill Rogers.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia earlier this year reaffirmed its pledge to the Grady Health Foundation of $250,000 to support Grady Health System’s 2014 initiatives, including a Women’s and Infants’ Center.
The Grady Health Foundation works with corporations like Blue Cross and Blue Shield to raise money for the metro area’s premier Level 1 Trauma Center.
“Thanks to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia’s generous gift, we can further support the new plan for redesigning the Women’s and Infants’ center as one of the top priorities for Grady,” said Renay Blumenthal, president of Grady Health Foundation.
Morgan Kendrick, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, said the organization was proud to “support Grady’s efforts to give newborns the opportunity for a healthy start in life.”