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Column: Nature Conservancy – Georgia campaign raises $26 million

By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 25, 2013

The Nature Conservancy in Georgia not only met its $25 million fundraising goal — it surpassed it by almost $1 million — raising $25.9 million.

In 2010, the Nature Conservancy announced its $25 million capital campaign, which helped protect more than 44,000 acres of land in Georgia and help support important science and restoration across the state and beyond.

“This success positions us for even greater conservation impact in the coming years,” said Deron Davis, director of conservation for the Conservancy in Georgia.

Through the Georgia for Generations campaign, the Nature Conservancy was able to leverage private dollars to secure public funding, landowner donations and matching gifts — leading to a cumulative impact of more than $147 million.

Support came from a broad range of philanthropic leaders, including gifts of more than $1 million from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, the Coca-Cola Foundation, the UPS Foundation, Neville and Pamela Isdell, and the James M. Cox Foundation.

The campaign was led by honorary chairs Tricia Allen, a civic leader and longtime supporter; and Jim Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises. The campaign chairs were Pamela Isdell, who has served onthe Georgia board since 2006; and Braye Boardman, an Augusta resident and president of Beacon Blue LLC.

Numbers Too Big To Ignore

The Atlanta Women’s Foundation estimates that in the five-county metro area that it serves there are 81,000 girls living in poverty.

So the foundation’s annual “Numbers Too Big To Ignore” fundraising lunch on Oct. 23 was held for those 81,000 girls. The Thomas Murphy Ballroom was filled with 81,000 yellow flowers — using flower fields projected in the room; and each of the 1,200 guests wore a yellow poppy sticker in honor of one of those girls living in poverty.

But the real purpose of the lunch was to raise money to help those girls. The foundation had a goal to raise $500,000. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who helped kick off the lunch, was concerned that they were about $80,000 short. So he announced a personal gift of $5,000.

Danita Knight, chair of the Atlanta Women’s Foundation, announced that Atlanta-based Spanx had made special yellow power panties in honor of the yellow poppy theme announced at the lunch. Spanx also made a $10,000 gift. Guests all received a pair of the yellow power panties, but were urged to contribute $81 to the cause.

Executive Women’s Build Day

Speaking of women, the 2013 Executive Women’s Build Day for Atlanta Habitat for Humanity took place Oct. 23 — the second year in a row that top women leaders have embarked on their own build.

The chairs of the 2013 event were Hala Moddelmog, interim CEO of Women’s FoodService Forum, and Penny McPhee, president of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. “This unique event brings together many different women leaders in our community who share the same common goal,” said Larrie Del Martin, president and CEO of Atlanta Habitat. “That goal is to help a qualified, working mothers provide a safe home for her children.”

Moddelmog and McPhee were joined by women executives from Equifax, CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women), Wells Fargo Advisors, Primrose Schools and AGL Resources.

CARE’s 20th year in Atlanta

CARE thanked key leaders at its 20th anniversary celebration of being headquartered in Atlanta during a gala event Oct. 18 at the Atlanta History Center.

Among those who came were Congressman John Lewis, Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta City Councilman Ceasar Mitchell as well as several people who were instrumental in getting CARE to move to Atlanta — Pete McTier of the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation and Phil Johnston, retired CEO of CARE.

Helene Gayle, CEO of CARE, was visibly touched by the outpouring of support from Atlanta. She used the occasion to announce that Atlanta business leader Martha Brooks has just joined the board of CARE.

The Coca-Cola Co. CEO Muhtar Kent said CARE belonged to the confluence of the “C”s in Atlanta: In addition to Coke and CARE, there’s Chick-fil-A, the Carter Center, CNN and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — all entities wanting to improve the world. “It is a great journey,” Kent said. “But we have a lot more to do.”

Food-A-Thon

The Atlanta Apartment Association outdid itself on Oct. 18 when it raised a record $1.02 million and collected 110,000 pounds of food to support the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

It was the 26th year that the Food-A-Thon event has taken place — providing millions of meals for families trying to make ends meet.

“We salute the Atlanta Apartment Association and its members for their unwavering support in the fight against hunger,” said Bill Bolling, founder and executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. “With the need for food assistance so great in our community, their efforts will continue to be essential to our ability to serve the ever growing numbers of Georgians in need.”

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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