Column: Delta gives $1 million gift to Center for Civil and Human Rights

By Maria Saporta
Friday, October 22, 2010

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. is making a $1 million donation to the National Center for Civil & Human Rights — a move that will bring the center one step closer to being built.

With Delta’s gift, the center has raised a total of $71 million. It needs to get another $14 million in donations before construction on the project can begin.

“This is a significant milestone as we drive toward next year’s groundbreaking,” said Doug Shipman, executive director of the center. “We’ve got work to do but I feel very good about the prospects that we have, both here and nationally.”

Shipman said Delta CEO Richard Anderson took a personal interest in the center. Anderson visited the King Center’s archives, and he was able to see some papers that documented a relationship between Delta and Martin Luther King Jr.

“He had read a lot of the history of the Civil Rights Movement,” Shipman said. “I was quite impressed.”

Shipman also said there is an opportunity for Delta to partner with the center in other ways by leveraging the airline’s global connections.

“The mission of the National Center for Civil & Human Rights, which is to tell the compelling story of the ongoing quest for civil and human rights worldwide, is a vital one for our community,” Anderson said in a statement. “Our support for the Center fits perfectly with Delta’s focus on directing our sponsorship dollars in Atlanta and elsewhere toward charitable organizations.”

Construction on the center now is scheduled to begin in late 2011 and open two years later. It will feature permanent collections, including the papers of Martin Luther King Jr., as well as temporary exhibitions. The center will be located across the street from Centennial Olympic Park on the same block as the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium.

Shipman said the news that Atlanta has won a $47.6 million federal grant for a streetcar also will boost the center.

“The streetcar will connect the assets of the King district with the assets of Centennial Olympic Park,” Shipman said. “The notion that we’ll have two civil and human rights destinations on the two ends of the streetcar is compelling.”

Wells Fargo commits to city

Call it a million-dollar naming party.

As the Wachovia name fades away and the Atlantic Station sign with the Wells Fargo name gets set to be lit at 8 p.m. on Oct. 26, the bank is announcing that it is giving more than $1 million in charitable donations to Atlanta organizations.

“We wanted to celebrate our official arrival by showing the community commitment that is so important to Wells Fargo,” said Jerome Byers, Atlanta regional president for Wells Fargo. The bank will announce the following gifts:

* A $500,000 donation to Grady Memorial Hospital to invest in cutting-edge technology;

* A $200,000 grant to the Resources for Residents and Communities to provide funds for homeowners having problem making mortgage payments;

* $100,000 to the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership to help stabilize neighborhoods and start a pilot program to buy and renovate foreclosed homes; and

* A $50,000 grant to CredAbility to help it expand its services to clients needing financial assistance.

The bank also is expanding its “Days of Giving” program by giving $1,000 grants to 239 nonprofits. Last year, the bank gave the $1,000 grants to 175 different organizations. The program is being expanded to include more business units. The “Days of Giving” grants will be given at five different community breakfasts.

So in all, Wells Fargo will be giving away nearly $1.1 million.

Donna James honored

And the winner is … Donna James. The Board of Directors Network honored James with its eighth annual Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Award at its annual dinner on Oct. 20.

James, managing director of Lardon & Associates LLC, serves on the board of Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. Previously, James was president of Nationwide Strategic Investments, a division of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.

BDN gives the award to “highlight the contributions women bring to the corporate boardroom.”

“Quite frankly, in this day and age, it’s just tough to be on a corporate board,” said James, who has often been the only woman or the only person of color in business circles. “CCE is one of those few boards where you do see yourself in your fellow directors in terms of gender and race.”

CCE is the only Fortune 500 company in Georgia with four women directors.

James said companies benefit when they have significant diversity on their boards.

“Diversity of thought and perspective does come in a gender package,” she said.

Preventing truancy

The Truancy Intervention Project (TIP) Georgia Inc. will host a conference in Atlanta on how to prevent truancy in schools from Oct. 27 to Oct. 29. The theme of the conference is “Charting the Course: Reinvesting In and Re-engaging Georgia’s Youth.”

About 200 attendees from education and child welfare circles are expected to participate.

The keynote speakers will include Judge Michael Key, president of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges; Judge Glenda Hatchett, star of the “Judge Hatchett Show”; and Wanda Barrs, chair of the Georgia School Board.

Camp Kudzu grows board

Camp Kudzu, which helps children living with Type 1 diabetes, has named several new leaders to its board.

These include Wilson Andrews, chief financial officer and director of clinical research for pediatric and adolescent medicine; Tom Brooks, a senior manager of Grant Thornton LLP; Warren Carson, a partner in charge of the mid-South audit practice of KPMG LLP; Jerry Ragan, executive vice president at First Citizens Bank; Mark Rigby, a director of research for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; Nancy Rollins, a community volunteer; Quentin Van Meter, a pediatric endocrinologist; and Diane Wilbanks, a Camp Kudzu volunteer.

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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