Column: Glenn family promoting wellness at Skyland Trail

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on September 11, 2015.

One of Atlanta’s most treasured families will have its name on one of Atlanta’s most treasured institutions.

The Glenn family recently agreed to have the new Wellness Clinic at Skyland Trail be named in honor of the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation, one of Atlanta’s more private philanthropies.

The Glenn Family Wellness Clinic, which opened in March, is the first facility in Atlanta to offer integrated medical care for adults who have been diagnosed with a mental illness.

The Glenn Family Foundation was a generous and early donor of Skyland Trail’s successful $18 million “Changing Minds Campaign,” giving a $1 million gift. The campaign included both the development of the Wellness Clinic and a specialized campus with programming for young adults between the ages of 18-26. That campus is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016.

The foundation was established by Thomas Glenn in honor of his parents.

His daughter, Rand Glenn Hagen, is a trustee on the foundation and also serves on the advisory board of Skyland Trail.

“We believe the clinic is an important asset for the Atlanta community and will offer unique help to an underserved population,” Hagen said in a statement. “The clinic combines medical care with mental health and healthy living counseling. That fusion really resonated with us because we provide grants for improving health through all of those channels.”

In a Skyland Trail January publication, Hagen said she was drawn to Skyland Trail because of her training in psychology. The more she learned about the institution, the more impressed she became.

“I see Skyland Trail treating the ‘whole person,’ rather than just the mental illness,” she said at the time. “Along with doing an exceptional job implementing mental health treatment based on focused, cutting-edge research, Skyland Trail also nurtures clients through horticultural therapy, nutritional counseling and life skills training.”

She added that Skyland Trail is helping remove the stigma of mental illness in Atlanta, which she hopes will lead more people to feel comfortable about seeking help before issues become “severe, chronic, even life-threatening conditions.”

In addition to being a key contributor to the “Changing Minds Campaign,” the Glenn Family Foundation has channeled more than $75 million into higher education, K-12 schools, medical research, healthy food access, green space, public parks and other community needs.

The lobby of the clinic is being dedicated to Changing Minds capital campaign co-chair Richard Parker and his family.

“By expanding our wellness program, both in terms of physical space and reach, I firmly believe we will improve the quality of life for many in our community,” Parker said. “In fact, I believe this unique model of integrated care will even save lives for some with the most serious health risks.”

Other key contributors to the “Changing Minds” capital campaign included the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation, the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, the James M. Cox Foundation and the J.B. Fuqua Foundation.

As an early proponent of and leader in the field of integrated care, Skyland Trail opened an onsite primary care clinic in 2004 to provide integrated medical care for clients participating in the residential and intensive day treatment programs for major depression, bipolar illness, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Jerusalem House

Atlanta’s oldest and largest supportive housing program for homeless people affected by HIV/AIDS is expanding.

Jerusalem House announced Sept. 9 that it will provide permanent, supportive housing to more than 270 additional people over the next two years. New funding of $4 million will be provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the City of Atlanta Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program to fund the expansion of the Jerusalem House Scattered Site II Program.

This increased grant empowers Jerusalem House to provide more than 200 additional homes to house homeless and low-income people living with HIV/AIDS, and their immediate families.

The organization will increase its housing portfolio to more than 372 housing units providing homes to more than 500 people. One-third of the new residents are expected to be dependent children living in families affected by HIV/AIDS.

“The recently updated National Policy on HIV/AIDS clearly affirms that caring for someone living with HIV/AIDS remains a priority, and research has shown that someone who is housed is more likely to get connected to care and stay on their medication,” said Charlie Frew, executive director of Jerusalem House. “Housing is integral to caring for people affected by HIV/AIDS. It reduces emergency room and inpatient services, helps with drug adherence and even helps prevent new infections. We are excited to be able to welcome so many new residents.”

Atlanta now ranks fifth among U.S. cities in the rate of new diagnosis of HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And half of Atlanta’s newly diagnosed people living with HIV have developed full-blown AIDS.

Jerusalem House, founded in 1988, has become Atlanta’s oldest and largest provider of permanent supportive housing for homeless and low-income men, women and children struggling with HIV/AIDS.

Atlanta Habitat

Susan Bixler and Sloane Evans have joined the board of Atlanta Habitat for Humanity.

Bixler is CEO of the Bixler Consulting Group, which she founded in 1980 as one of the first companies to focus on the communication and leadership requirements of corporations and businesses. She also has written seven best-selling books.

Bixler is not new to Atlanta Habitat, serving on its board from 2008 to 2012. She also has been involved with numerous other nonprofits.

Evans is vice president of human resources for the Southern Co. and is responsible for leading and directing the human resources process for Georgia Power.

Her key areas of responsibility include health and wellness, talent management, labor relations and HR delivery. Prior to her current position, Evans held several other related positions at Southern Co., including developing the vision and strategy for talent development.

Lovett School

One of Atlanta’s premier private schools, Lovett, recently completed a successful $94 million capital campaign.

When students, parents and teachers returned to Lovett for the 2015-2016 school year, they were able to enjoy major improvements of campus facilities, including the completion of the 40,000-square-foot Murray Athletic Center, a LEED Gold certified building, as well as the renovation of Lovett’s Kilpatrick Stadium.

“Our Defining Decade: A Campaign for Lovett” enabled the school to create 17 new spaces, renovate eight facilities and build and improve 135,481 square feet on campus. In addition, a large portion of campaign dollars raised (about $28.6 million) will be dedicated to Lovett’s endowment.

The increased endowment will help ensure that the Lovett School, established in 1926, “can survive and thrive for future generations of students,” according to the school.

Action Ministries

Five Georgia business leaders have been appointed to the board of Action Ministries.

They are Sarah Borders, a partner at King & Spalding LLP; Charlie Chesnutt, chief information officer for Genuine Parts Co.; Rob Garcia, CEO of Bank of North Georgia; Meredith Hodges, vice president of external affairs and human resources for Gas South; and Brandon Marzo, a partner with Troutman Sanders.

That brings the number of the nonprofit’s board members to 21.

“We are so pleased at Action Ministries to welcome these business and community leaders to our board of directors,” said John R. Moeller Jr., Action Ministries’ president and CEO. “The depth and breadth of their personal and professional experience in Georgia will bring much to the table as we work to address the challenges of poverty in our state by focusing on hunger relief, housing and education.”

Action Ministries, Inc. is a nonprofit that provides an extensive network of community partners and volunteers with the tools and expertise to lead fellow Georgians out of poverty.

By meeting basic needs of hunger relief, housing and education, Action Ministries removes barriers that prevent thousands of Georgians from breaking the cycle of poverty and realizing their potential.

Last year, more than 100,000 people were served and many more lives changed by Action Ministries. Despite those efforts, according to the U.S. census, Georgia has the sixth highest poverty rate in the country.

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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