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ATL Business Chronicle

Column: Families First, Dad’s Garage get prestigious award, $75,000 grants

By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on March 27, 2015

Two Atlanta nonprofits have been selected to receive the prestigious “Managing for Excellence” Award from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

The Award, sponsored by the Boston Consulting Group, is extra special this year because the two winning nonprofits each will receive a record $75,000 unrestricted grant along with the recognition. Previous years, the award came with a $25,000 grant.

The two nonprofits were Families First and Dad’s Garage Theatre.

Alicia Philipp, president of the Community Foundation, said the awards are meant to demonstrate well-managed enterprises exist in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors.

“Some business people don’t have the same expectations for a nonprofit as they do for for-profit organizations,” she said. “We all should have high expectations for nonprofits. It’s really important that nonprofits run on all cylinders.”

Philipp said that about 30 nonprofits were reviewed for the two awards–one given to an entity with less than $2 million in annual revenues and the other with more than $2 million in revenues. The selection team assesses 80 different aspects of management.

“It’s a seal of excellence,” she said “They have been rigorously looked at.”

The Managing for Excellence awards have been around since 1984, and they are given to organizations that demonstrate business practices and attributes that can be found in the best Fortune 500 companies.

Families First, with a mission to ensure the success of children in jeopardy, was recognized for its financial management and resource development.

“I am beyond grateful and humbled,” said Kim Anderson, CEO of Families First. “For 125 years our mission has been to serve, impact and support Atlanta’s most vulnerable children and families with excellence and passion. This award recognizes not only our dedication to the community we serve, but also shines a light on our passion to create an agency that achieves the greatest impact and influences best practices nationwide.”

Dad’s Garage Theatre is a mid-sized company that “engages, cultivates and inspires artists and audiences” in works that are recognized locally, nationally and internationally. The review committee award Dad’s Garage the grant because it has been an “incredibly resilient organization” during its two years as a homeless theater group.

“For two years, Dad’s Garage has been in the middle of significant, but positive, change,” said Lara Smith, managing director of Dad’s Garage Theatre. “The funds we receive from this grant will allow us to make strategic investments into our new facility. But more than that, this award feels like a vote of confidence. We at Dad’s succeed by pushing boundaries and blurring lines—redefining what it means to be a theatre; borrowing best practices from all sectors, including for-profits; trying new tactics all the time to see what sticks.”

In addition to receiving the $75,000, the award winners get a short-term consulting engagement with the Boston Consulting Group, a marketing package, inclusion in the Foundation’s “An Extra Wish” publication, and invitations to events that feature Managing for Excellence winners.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is proud to sponsor and participate in Managing for Excellence, said Matt Beckett, associate director in BCG’s Atlanta office.

“We look forward to working with both Dad’s Garage and Families First as they build upon their existing strengths and continue their outstanding work in the metro Atlanta community.”

Brookings Institution

The Brookings Institution has selected Atlanta as one of six cities to develop a regional plan to attract and leverage foreign direct investment.

The selection builds off its existing Metropolitan Atlanta Export Plan, which is part of the Global Cities Initiative–a joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase.

The project will be implemented by several organizations, including the Metro Atlanta Chamber working in partnership with state and local economic development agencies and companies.

“We are thrilled to be selected as one of the six metros to develop a foreign direct investment plan that will complement our regional export plan,” said Pedro Cherry, Georgia Power’s vice president of community and economic development who also is chair of the Metro Atlanta FDI Plan Initiative. “The FDI plan will be a critical part of our long-term strategy to grow the regional economy, add high-quality jobs and elevate Atlanta’s profile as a world-class metro.”

The Global Cities Initiative was launched in 2012 to help businesses and civic leaders grow their metro economies by strengthening international connections and competitiveness.

In 2013, Atlanta was selected as one of eight cities to be part of the Global Cities Exchange to develop a regional export plan–currently in development.

The other cities selected for the Foreign Direct Investment plan were: Des Moines, Iowa; upstate South Carolina (Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson); Los Angeles; Milwaukee; and Syracuse, N.Y.

Metro Atlanta was selected for its readiness and its commitment to strategically pursue foreign direct investment such as greenfield expansions, mergers and acquisitions, and other types of foreign investment.

“For this next phase, we selected metro areas that are committed to attracting and leveraging foreign direct investment as part of a comprehensive global trade and investment strategy,” said Brad McDearman, a Brookings fellow and director of global special projects. “The six metro areas selected for this round will be strong role models for other regions and represent a growing group of leaders who understand the need to embrace the global market to remain competitive in the 21st century economy.”

Jorgé Fernandez

Meanwhile, Jorgé Fernandez, the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s vice president of global commerce, has been named as a leader of the FDI Frontlines Coalition, a national organization focused on arming state, regional and local economic development agencies with resources to attract more foreign investment.

“Global investment plays a critical role in metro Atlanta and Georgia’s economy, and Jorge’s efforts through the Metro Atlanta Chamber have contributed to make the region a leader in attracting foreign investment,” said Nancy McLernon, president and CEO of the Organization for International Investment, a nonprofit business association that supports the coalition.

Metro Atlanta ranks seventh in the nation for jobs in foreign-owned establishments employing over 135,000 people, according to the Brookings Institution.

Metro Atlanta also ranks among the top 20 cities in the world for “Global Cities of the Future.”


Maria Saporta

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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