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Column: Philanthropy Day awards to honor Tom Chapman, Alvin Sugarman

By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on July 11, 2014

Two longtime Atlanta leaders will be honored for their contributions over the years at the 32nd Annual National Philanthropy Day awards on Oct. 28 at the Georgia Aquarium.

Tom Chapman, retired CEO of Equifax; will be honored as “Philanthropist of the Year.” And Rabbi Alvin Sugarman, rabbi emeritus of The Temple, will be honored as the “Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year.”

A more recently created award – “Philanthropic Leader of Tomorrow” – will go to Jen Bennecke, president of the Junior League of Atlanta.

Chapman and his family have had a long history of giving back to the community over the years – often giving to causes that have touched them in highly personal ways.

When his first wife, Jane, was diagnosed with cancer in 2001, Chapman’s life changed dramatically — giving him even more of a reason to volunteer his time and donate financially following her death in 2003.

In 2006, he made his initial gift to Piedmont Healthcare, for cancer and wellness navigation, providing families with greater resources on their way through cancer treatments and hospital systems. That gift also funded certification for bedside oncology nurses and a space for the nursing staff to find privacy and quiet as they cared for their patients.

In 2010, Chapman was diagnosed with cancer and has had his own path to navigate. In 2012 and in 2014, his continued philanthropy took cancer wellness and navigation to all communities served by Piedmont. In February 2014, Piedmont Healthcare recognized him and his family by establishing the Thomas F. Chapman Family Cancer Wellness across Piedmont.

Beyond his philanthropy with Piedmont Healthcare, Chapman and his wife, Karen, have been actively involved with the Marcus Autism Center, the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (Georgia CORE), the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and his alma mater, Clemson University.

Chapman also has served on a host of corporate boards – Equifax, Southern Co., and Certegy — and nonprofit boards – the Clemson University Foundation, the Georgia Cancer Coalition, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Board of Councilors of The Carter Center, the Woodruff Arts Center, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Chapman grew up in Atlanta, graduating from Sylvan High School. He attended Clemson University as a student-athlete, earning a degree in economics in 1965. Clemson allowed him to develop his baseball skills, and that passion led to a professional career with the Philadelphia Phillies until he was called to military service by the U.S. Army to serve in Vietnam.

Chapman then spent the next 45 years in the banking and information technology industry, spending 20 years with First Atlanta before joining Equifax in 1990.

Sugarman has always seemed to find time to serve others – whether it be on the boards of the Jerusalem House, the Atlanta Girl’s School, the Atlanta Jewish Federation, the Georgia Council on Child Abuse or the Higher Ground, a multidenominational forum for greater understanding.

He also was one of the founders of the Genesis Shelter, which helps homeless newborns and their families. He is a trustee emeritus of Emory University, which honored him in 2008 with the Emory Medal, the highest award given an alum.

National Christian Foundation

The Atlanta-based National Christian Foundation, the nation’s 12th-largest charity, has launched a new online platform designed to encourage great generosity.

The website nationalchristian.com also is designed to help donors make a bigger impact with their donor-advised funds.

“For the generous people we serve, giving is much more than a transaction,” said David Wills, president of the foundation. “It’s a very personal, life-changing experience. Our new website and online giving services help expand that experience with powerful tools that support their efforts to make the biggest possible impact with their giving.”

When donors log in to manage their giving online, they will find several new features, including a colorful dashboard allowing them to see the impact of their giving at a glance. Its site also has the ability to set annual and lifetime giving and granting goals, and then track their progress throughout the year.

Since 1982, the National Christian Fund has become America’s largest sponsor of donor-advised funds for Christian givers. It has received more than $6 billion in contributions and granted more than $4 billion to thousands of churches, ministries and nonprofits.

Accenture aids KIPP

Consulting firm Accenture is collaborating with KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools to recruit companies and nonprofit organizations to sponsor summer internships for KIPP high school students and alumni in Atlanta.

The partnership is part of an ongoing college and career readiness initiative between Accenture and KIPP schools across nine U.S. cities.

Atlanta companies and organizations that will be offering internships include Recall, Georgia State University, TechBridge, Junior Achievement of Georgia, Girls Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Georgia Tech’s Project ENGAGES and Taylor Architecture. Accenture will also offer internships at its offices in each city.

“We are thrilled to partner with Accenture to provide our students with this relevant professional experience,” said David Jernigan, executive director of KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools. “We know that internships like these are a powerful way for students to envision themselves as young professionals one day, while also affording them the opportunity to build their personal networks.”

David Edwards joins Purpose Built

Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin has brought one of her former City Hall top team members back into her fold.

David Edwards, who served as deputy chief operating officer during the Franklin administration, is joining Purpose Built Communities as a senior vice president.

Franklin is chair and CEO of Purpose Built, the national nonprofit started by developer Tom Cousins to help rejuvenate communities across the country.

For the past five years, Edwards has been with IBM as a leader in its Global Smarter Cities team, a position that involved a great deal of international travel, including China, Africa and Australia.

Another former City Hall colleague, Greg Giornelli, serves as president and COO of Purpose Built.


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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