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Column: Kelly Dolan leaving Komen for Leukemia Society

By Maria Saporta
Published in the ABC on Friday, July 13, 2012

After eight years running the Susan G. Komen for the Cure of Greater Atlanta Affiliate, Kelly Dolan has joined the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as executive director of its Georgia chapter.

Dolan said the move is unrelated to the controversy that the national Komen organization went through earlier this year when it had adopted a policy to no longer support breast cancer services provided by Planned Parenthood. That policy was quickly reversed following a national backlash against Komen.

“That all happened in February,” said Dolan, who previously has acknowledged that she had problems with the way that the national Komen organization handled the controversy.

In June, the Leukemia & Lymphoma reached out to Dolan to replace its former executive director, Richard Brown, who left in March to join the American Heart Association.

“It definitely was the toughest decision in my career,” Dolan said. “I wasn’t unhappy at Komen. The work being done by Komen Atlanta has been stellar.”

But Dolan said that after being with Komen for eight years, it seemed like a good time to make a change.

Also she now will have statewide responsibilities versus her role at Komen, which covered about half the state’s population.

Lastly, she will be overseeing a much larger organization. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has about 30 employees in Georgia (including offices in Savannah and Augusta) compared to Komen Atlanta’s six employees.

Plus, Dolan said she still will be working for a nonprofit that is fighting cancer. She also feels as though it’s a bit of homecoming. Earlier in her career, she worked as director of strategic marketing for what is now Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, working closely on efforts to cure childhood cancers including leukemia.

“Ninety percent of childhood leukemia is curable,” said Dolan, who added that the daughter, Emily, of one of her closest friends had a serious case of leukemia. But it has now been more than five years that Emily has been cancer-free.

Meanwhile, Komen Atlanta’s biggest fundraiser — its walk in May — raised $1.3 million, which Dolan described as “very successful” given the Planned Parenthood controversy. In 2011, the walk raised about $1.7 million.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Georgia raises about $7 million a year through its “Light the Night” walks and its Team in Training events. Of that, $1 million went to patients battling the diseases in Georgia, and the remaining went to research.

Dolan said Komen Atlanta already has formed a search committee to identify her successor.

Georgia Olympian

Georgia business leader Carl Bouckaert will be competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

“It’s official. I have been selected as a member of the Belgian Equestrian Team for the London Olympic Games,” Bouckaert wrote in an email to friends on July 4 after being in Belgium since Easter training and competing for the Olympics. “Very exciting moments …”

Bouckaert is probably best known for helping build the Beaulieu Group, a family-run enterprise, into the nation’s No. 3 carpet manufacturer.

Bouckaert also has been an instrumental force behind the Chattahoochee Hills development in south Fulton County — now owning more than 8,000 acres along the Chattahoochee River near Fairburn.

Bouckaert Farms was the site in September 2011 of the American Eventing Championship, one of the biggest equestrian events to be held in Georgia, attracting about 5,000 spectators and riders.

Bouckaert is a seventh-generation horseman who competed in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Although he didn’t finish in the top 10, Bouckaert said he had a wonderful time in the competition.

Playground Unveiling

The new playground in downtown Atlanta’s Woodruff Park will be officially unveiled at a morning event on July 17 with a ceremony that will include a host of VIPs, including Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

Downtown leaders also will celebrate the restoration of Margaret Mitchell Square — and there will be a short walking tour to see the improvements being made along Peachtree Street between Carnegie Way and Woodruff Park.

Corporate partners have been instrumental in making both projects possible.

Bank of America provided funding and volunteer support to help establish and install the new playground.

“We have a long-held commitment to supporting a vibrant downtown,” said Geri Thomas, Georgia market president for Bank of America. Also, Norfolk Southern provided funding for the face-lift of Margaret Mitchell Square.

“Restoration of this beautiful landmark not only honors the memory of a great Atlanta author, but will enhance the downtown experience for the more than 2,000 Norfolk Southern employees who work there,” said Joel Harrell, resident vice president for Norfolk Southern in Atlanta.


The Coca-Cola Foundation has awarded $50,000 to Holy Innocents Episcopal School to provide tuition assistance for students recruited through “A Better Chance” — an organization that matches talented students of color with independent and public schools.

“We are very grateful for the generosity and support of the Coca-Cola Foundation,” said Chris Pomar, Holy Innocents’ director of admissions. “This grant will ensure our ability to continue to enroll students of tremendous promise who meet the standards for enrollment but need a bit of financial assistance to realize their dreams.”

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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