Column: Grady foundation bolsters board, fundraising

By Maria Saporta
Friday, June 11, 2010

Just as the Grady Health System has been undergoing a transformation, so has the Grady Health Foundation.

Established 14 years ago to support the operations of Grady Hospital, the foundation has just doubled the size of its board and is bolstering its community presence and fundraising efforts.

Several of the new board members represent companies that have made major gifts toward the $325 million Grady capital campaign, aimed at upgrading the hospital’s technology and facilities.

“We want their time and talent in addition to their dollars,” explained Lisa Borders, president of the Grady Health Foundation. “We are rebuilding the board in two ways — going to people who have invested in the hospital and get them to stay involved and looking for the skill sets we need to sustain the foundation and support the health system.”

The foundation board also has a new chairman, Peter Andruszkiewicz, president of Kaiser Permanente of Georgia Inc. (Former chairman Henry Grady III, great-great-grandson of New South leader Henry Grady, for whom the hospital is named, is serving on the hospital board.) During the capital campaign, Kaiser Permanente was one of the first major contributors — giving $5 million. That led to Pete Correll and Tom Bell, the two key executives who led the transformation of Grady Hospital, to ask him to serve on the foundation.

“We want to tell the story about the new Grady, and it’s a great time to be part of the team trying to tell that story,” Andruszkiewicz said. “The potential and future for Grady is to become more of a destination for paying patients.”

So far, $306 million of the $325 million capital campaign has been raised in the past two years. The campaign started with a $200 million gift from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. Now Grady leaders are working on a broader-based community campaign to raise the remaining $19 million.

At the same time, the Grady Health Foundation is looking to double its annual fundraising efforts from $3 million to $6 million within the next year. The money raised by the Grady Foundation goes to support the hospital’s annual operations.

New foundation board members include:

Ada Lee Correll, a philanthropist and civic leader who is chairing the development committee;

Leon Haley, Grady Hospital’s medical director, who is the foundation’s vice chair for clinical affairs;

John Loomis, vice president of human resources for GE Technology Infrastructure (GE has given Grady $1 million in in-kind services);

Jeff Robertson, vice president of the SkyMiles Program for Delta Air Lines Inc. (Delta has given Grady $2 million);

Ric Schank, senior vice president and manager of operational risk processes for SunTrust Banks In. (SunTrust has given Grady $2.5 million);

David Smith, senior vice president of commercial and industrial banking for Regions Bank;

Elizabeth Spiegel, a civic volunteer who has served on Grady’s board of visitors; and Cheryl Yarbrough, a partner with the Tarpley & Underwood accounting firm.

As for Andruszkiewicz, he is thrilled to be playing such a major community role after only two years in Atlanta.

“I’ve moved seven times in my 25-year career, and I’ve never been in a place that’s this welcoming,” Andruszkiewicz said. “It expects you to be part of the community. People here want to be part of the solution.”

40 years of leadership.

Leadership Atlanta celebrated its 40th anniversary June 5 at the grand opening of 200 Peachtree, formerly the downtown Davison’s/Macy’s store.

With 2,800 alumni, Leadership Atlanta is the oldest sustained community leadership program in the country. Nearly 900 people attended the Saturday night event including Pete and Ada Lee Correll, Herman and Sylvia Russell, Yum and Ross Arnold, John and Sue Wieland, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

Proceeds will go to inaugurate the Leadership Atlanta/LEAD Atlanta Scholarship Fund to offset more tuition costs for nonprofit and public-sector class members. The event raised about $55,000.

Bernie Marcus honored.

It was a “Pennies from Heaven” theme when the Rotary Club of Atlanta awarded Bernie Marcus with its latest Living Legends Award on June 7.

In his introduction of Marcus, United Distributors CEO Doug Hertz said the co-founder of The Home Depot Inc. had literally showered Atlanta with “Pennies from Heaven” through his philanthropic contributions. A video with Bing Crosby’s theme song highlighted some of his contributions to Atlanta. Marcus, after receiving a standing ovation, told Rotarians that he had been up all night with a sick penguin. “I never had to worry about hammers,” Marcus said of his days at Home Depot. “They never got sick.”

Reed speaks at Rotary.

At that same Rotary meeting, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed shared what he has been able to accomplish in the past five months and what his top priorities are going forward.

Sitting in the audience was attorney Jesse Spikes, who ran against Reed.

“I thought he did a great job,” Spikes said after Reed’s talk. “He’s maintaining his commitments. And I don’t think failure is an option in this administration. I’m very impressed, very proud and very pleased.”

Campaigner of the year.

The campaign manager who helped lead Mayor Reed’s victory is receiving his own accolades. Tharon Johnson, who is now senior adviser to Reed, has been awarded “Campaign Manager of the Year” by the American Association of Political Consultants.

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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