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Column: Leadership transition at Atlanta Women’s Foundation

By Maria Saporta
Published in the ABC on Friday, July 6, 2012

Board leaders of the Atlanta Women’s Foundation pledge that they will not “miss a beat” during the executive transition of the organization.

Barbara Mosacchio, who has been president and CEO of the Atlanta Women’s Foundation since 2008, is leaving Atlanta to become president and CEO of Chicago Youth Centers. The move will permit Mosacchio to return to her hometown.

“From a personal level, this announcement was devastating,” said Cindy Brazell, the outgoing chair of the foundation, at a farewell reception for Mosacchio on June 28. “On a professional basis, we have not missed a beat. Your legacy will live on, and we will make you proud.”

The foundation has named Deborah Ryan to serve as its interim director, and its current staff is fully able to carry on the day-to-day duties of the organization. That will allow the board to strategically plan its future direction and leadership.

“Cindy and I will get busy with the work of establishing a transition team,” said Danita Knight, the incoming chair of the foundation. “A team of individuals will help us think about the appropriate steps we need to move forward.”

The foundation has hired Beth Schapiro of research firm Schapiro Group to work on a major research project on the top issues facing women and girls. When the research is completed in the next several weeks, the board will hold a retreat in August to map out its future priorities. Then the board will decide who would be the best leader to lead the foundation’s next chapter.

Meanwhile, the “Numbers Too Big to Ignore” luncheon is scheduled for Oct. 19. The keynote speaker will be Edie Weiner, president of Weiner, Edrich, Brown Inc., a leading futurist consulting group founded in 1977.

Frazer Center grant

The Frazer Center, a community that serves people with disabilities, is improving its beautiful grounds in the historic Druid Hills and Lake Claire neighborhoods.

The Center recently received a $100,000 challenge grant from an anonymous donor to repair a 90-year-old stone bridge located along the main driveway of the Center.

In order to receive the grant, the Frazer Center needs to raise $50,000; of which $14,000 already has been raised.

The bridge, built in the 1920s before the widespread use of automobiles, was not designed to withstand the large vehicles that currently access the Center through nearby residential streets. Once the bridge has been reinforced, large vehicles will be able to use the bridge from South Ponce de Leon Avenue without having to go through residential areas.

Trace Haythorn, the Frazer Center’s executive director, said the bridge renovation is part of a $1.35 million capital campaign for the facility and is in its final stages. That campaign includes setting aside $100,000 as a reserve fund.

Ideally, the bridge work will be completed by the end of the summer, before the school year begins. The Center already has hired the firm of UrbanEco to complete the design and the firm of Eberly and Associates to do the engineering work.

Most of the improvements under way at the Frazer Center, founded in 1949, are not “sexy,” Haythorn said, but they are vital to the Center’s operations — such as fixing water and sewer lines, the heating and air-conditioning systems and other deferred maintenance projects.

Haythorn, who celebrated his second anniversary with the Center on July 2, wants the Center to have a closer relationship with the community and wants the public to gain a better understanding of how it helps children and adults with disabilities.

“This is definitely a happy anniversary,” Haythorn said of what the Center has been able to accomplish in the past couple of years.

The Center’s 39 acres includes the Frazer Forest and the Cator Woolford Gardens, which is open and accessible to the public.

Meanwhile, three members who had a combined service to the Center of more than 100 years just rotated off its board. They were attorney Walt Moeling, retired banker George Atkins and community volunteer Laura Bowen.

The new chairman is Eric Schroeder, who is a resident of the Lake Claire community.

New board members include Connie Austin, a partner of Ernst & Young; Brek Benson, global managing director of IBM; Pamela Pierotti, grant director of corporate human resources at Cbeyond; Lakeshia Poole, senior manager at Golin Harris; Tyrone Rachal, a senior development manager at Invest Atlanta; Elizabeth Snyder, a principal at Diversified Trust; and Wesley Stone, founder of John Wesley Hammer Construction Co.

Elton John to speak

Part-time Atlanta resident Sir Elton John will be a keynote speaker at the 19th International AIDS Conference taking place from July 22 to July 27 in Washington, D.C.

About 25,000 people are expected to attend AIDS 2012, which will seek commitments to change the course of the epidemic now that science has promising results in the treatment of HIV and biomedical prevention.

Also, another organization with ties to John — the Atlanta-based NAMES Project, Quilt-In the Capital 2012 — has been approved for a $100,000 grant. The NAMES Project is the largest memorial to individuals who have lost the fight to HIV/AIDS.

The grant will make it possible for the quilt to be displayed at more than 50 venues in Washington, D.C.

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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