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Column: National Philanthropy Day to honor exceptional Atlanta women

By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Friday, September 14, 2012

Women will take center stage at this year’s National Philanthropy Day Awards luncheon at the Georgia Aquarium on Thursday, Oct. 25.

Bobbie Bailey is being honored as the 2012 Philanthropist of the Year; Lovette Twyman Russell as the 2012 Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year; and LeighAnn Costley as the 2012 Philanthropic Leader of Tomorrow.

“All three are such exceptional leaders in the community, and we are so excited about recognizing our honorees for their dramatic impact on the organizations they’ve served and on our community,” said Lisa Kennedy, president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Atlanta chapter, which organizes the annual lunch. “Their leadership is truly inspiring.”

Kennedy, who is also the director of stakeholder relations for the Bobby Dodd Institute, also said she was particularly pleased with the “diversity on the program this year.”

Bailey’s giving has totaled more than $8 million to various philanthropies.

She has given $5 million to the DeKalb Medical Foundation, which is one of the event’s sponsors, to support the purchase of new technology. She also has given $2 million to Kennesaw State University and more than $500,000 to UNICEF, which nominated her for the award.

Her giving has included donating 32 Steinway pianos to Kennesaw State University. In her honor, Kennesaw also has named the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center, which opened in October 2007.

She served as sole owner and CEO of Our-Way Inc., which specialized in the remanufacturing of commercial refrigeration and air conditioning compressors for more than 50 years until she sold the company to the Carrier Corp. in 2001.

Russell is a community advocate and volunteer who serves on the board of Spelman College, where she received her degree. She currently is serving as Southeast co-chair of Spelman’s capital campaign. She has been involved in fundraising for numerous charitable organizations.

Costley is a partner of accounting firm Frazier & Deeter. Her philanthropic interests have included Kate’s Club Inc., Young Audiences at the Woodruff Arts Center and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Four Pillar Award

Former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition, will be honored by an all-star cast when he receives the Council for Quality Growth’s Four Pillar Tribute on Oct. 4 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Former Gov. Roy Barnes, former U.S. Sen. David Gambrell, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens and Jenny Pruitt, CEO of Atlanta Fine Homes, will speak to how Massell lives up to the four pillars of quality, responsibility, vision and integrity.

But that’s not all. Juanita Baranco, CEO of Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead, Mark Becker, president of Georgia State University, and Bernie Marcus, chairman of the Marcus Foundation, are serving as co-chairs. Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell will be the emcee and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will give remarks.

Jewish Federation appoints key volunteers

The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta has appointed Abbey Flaum and Gregory Jacobs to key volunteer positions.

Flaum will serve as chairman of the executive committee of the Professional Advisory Council, an integral part of the Planned Giving & Endowment department. Jacobs will serve as vice chair. The Professional Advisory Council provides a forum for mentoring financial and other professionals throughout the community.

“Both Abbey and Greg have been an asset to our organization,” says Marc Lewyn, chair of Federation’s Planned Giving & Endowment department. “Their leadership has helped to build the Balser Symposium into an annual event that attracts hundreds of advisers throughout our community, and to revitalize the membership and event structure of PAC to expand its reach into the professional community.”

Flaum is an attorney with law firm Cohen, Pollock, Merlin & Small P.C. Jacobs is a partner with the law firm Jacobs & King.

Riverkeeper salutes Ellis

At its 18th annual Patron Dinner on Sept. 13, the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper honored technology entrepreneur Bert Ellis with the River Guardian Award.

Sally Bethea, executive director of the environmental organization, said Ellis has provided the organization with more than a decade of strategic communications advice and support of its river protection program.

The sold-out event, held at the Foundry at Puritan Mill, also honored Newnan resident Warren Budd with the River Steward Award for his steadfast support for Georgia’s rivers while serving on the state’s Board of Natural Resources.

TOTO USA, the world’s largest plumbing manufacturer, received the River Sustainability Award; and April Ingle, director of the Georgia River Network, received the River Advocate Award.

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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