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Column: Joe Bankoff, retiring CEO of Woodruff Arts Center, joining Tech

By Maria Saporta
Friday, April 20, 2012

Joe Bankoff is about to start another career — this time in academia.

Bankoff, who has be president and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center since September 2006, already had announced that he would be retiring from that role at the end of May.

Bankoff will be joining Georgia Tech’s Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts as chairman of the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs.

“It’s a great opportunity to join a great institution,” Bankoff said. “I will try to increase the visibility of the school in the community and around the world.”

The three-year appointment also means that Bankoff will be working with former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn once again. Bankoff and Nunn formerly worked together at the King & Spalding LLP law firm before Bankoff joined the Woodruff Arts Center and Nunn became co-chairman and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

“Joe Bankoff is known and respected in broad and influential circles in Atlanta and Georgia for his integrity, his visionary leadership, his keen intellect, his common sense, his good judgment and his dedication to civic improvement,” Nunn said.

The School of International Affairs was created in 1990, and it was named in honor of the former senator in 1996. After he became its namesake, the school started hosting the Nunn Forum twice a year.

Jacqueline Royster, dean of the Ivan Allen College, said she was delighted that Bankoff was willing to join the Sam Nunn School.

“Joe has been involved with the school since the first Nunn Forum in 1997,” Royster said. “It allows us to bring in someone who is such a strategic thinker, someone who knows Georgia Tech, and someone who understands what the college is all about.”

Bankoff, 66, joined King & Spalding in 1972 specializing in technology and communication issues.

During his tenure in the business world, Bankoff became involved in several civic initiatives — chairing the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s Regional Arts Task Force in 2002; and he served on the Governor’s Telecommunications and Technology Task Force in the 1990s. He also had served as vice chairman of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s board.

Bankoff then joined the nonprofit world when he became president of the Woodruff Arts Center, overseeing operations of the ASO, the High Museum of Atlanta, the Alliance Theatre and Young Audiences.

Now Bankoff said he’s looking forward to joining the academic world where he will become a “professor of practice” and help showcase the offerings of Georgia Tech and the Sam Nunn School.

Skill-based volunteerism

A new trend is under way in corporate philanthropy — skill-based volunteerism.

The Atlanta-based Points of Light now is leading a national campaign called “A Billion + Change” to mobilize billions of dollars of pro bono and skills-based volunteer services by 2013.

The initiative is being supported by Deloitte, Hewlett-Packard, the Case Foundation, IBM, State Farm, McKenna Long & Aldridge and Morgan Stanley. The goal is to get 500 companies to sign on to the program across the country.

Atlanta business leaders held a breakfast April 16 to help kick off the U.S. Chamber’s Business Civic Leadership Center’s 2012 National Conference on Corporate Citizenship and America’s Future.

“Already $1.8 billion has been pledged to date from 100 companies,” said Ed Heys, managing partner of Deloitte’s Atlanta office, who co-hosted the breakfast with Jeff Haidet, chairman of McKenna Long.

The breakfast was an opportunity to encourage other Atlanta companies to sign on to the national campaign.

“Over the past three years, the firm has made a commitment that’s totaled $50 million worth of skill-based services,” said Heys, who also is the 2012 chairman of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. “We have made a commitment that over the next three years, we will contribute $60 million in pro bono services.”

In Atlanta, the firm has donated more than $2 million in skill-based services in the past three years, and Heys said the firm is going to give more.

“Deloitte feels it can make the largest impact in the community with skill-based volunteerism,” Heys said.

Lockheed volunteers

Speaking of volunteerism … Marietta-based Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. recognized its employees for providing 50,000 collective volunteer hours to local community organizations in 2011.

“Community service and volunteering are as intrinsic to Lockheed Martin’s Marietta site as the aircraft that were and are built here,” Shan Cooper, Lockheed Martin vice president and Marietta site general manager, said in a statement.

Nationally, Lockheed Martin logged in 1.3 million volunteer hours in 2011 — the seventh consecutive year that the company’s volunteer hours topped 1 million hours.

Compañeros Awards

The Latin American Association recognized several leaders April 19 at its 23rd Annual Compañeros Awards luncheon at the Georgia Aquarium.

Philip Alequin Jr., quality control editor for network operations at Turner Broadcasting, received the award for Outstanding Community Leadership, Service and Commitment.

State Rep. Stacey Abrams received the award for Outstanding Public Service and Leadership.

Wells Fargo was recognized for Exemplary Corporate Leadership.

Lino Dominguez, the founder and former owner of MundoHispanico, was given the Media Excellence Award.

And Maria Vargas, an immigrant who has faced many challenges, was honored with the Perseverance Award.

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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