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Column: SunTrust’s Bill Rogers to lead 2013-2014 Woodruff Arts campaign

By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Friday, December 7, 2012

One of the key civic positions in Atlanta is chairing the annual Woodruff Arts Center corporate campaign, a job that has been held by some of Atlanta’s top executives.

Currently, Paul Bowers, president and CEO of Georgia Power, is leading the campaign, with a goal of raising $9.2 million by May.

Following Bowers will be Bill Rogers, president and CEO of SunTrust Banks, who will be leading the campaign for the2013-2014 cycle.

“Supporting this campaign and the Woodruff Arts Center is a proud tradition for us at SunTrust,” Rogers said in an email. “The Woodruff is a tremendous asset to our community and the region, and I look forward to carrying on the important work of the campaign — to help it succeed and continue to grow.”

The Woodruff Arts Center has four divisions — the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Young Audiences — reaching more than 1.4 million people each year.

The arts center has had a corporate campaign since 1968.
More than 1,900 corporate, foundation and individual donors contribute to the campaign; and more than 140 volunteers help raise the money. Brad Branch, Deloitte’s senior partner in Atlanta, chaired the 2011-2012 campaign, which raised $9 million.

GSU Women’s Collection

In a “Let’s Kick Ashe” reception on Nov. 29 at the Ansley Golf Club, Georgia State University Library’s Women’s Collections honored Kathy Ashe as its 2012 Shero for her generous and steadfast donations to the collections.

Ashe, who calls herself a “raging moderate,” has served in the state legislature since 1991. Ashe, a longtime educator, decided not to seek re-election in 2012.

Beth Schapiro, a public affairs consultant, described Ashe as “our teacher, our leader and our friend,” who has been a great public servant.

“Not many people get to attend their own funeral,” Ashe said. “Tonight, it feels like I’m attending my funeral. You are the people I want to be there.”

Ashe has supported GSU’s Women’s Collection by participating in its Activist Women Oral History Project and by opening her home for its annual fall fundraisers for the past three years.

The GSU Library houses several women’s collections aimed at preserving and promoting the history and stories of women.
The collections are supported by several individual funds, and the total endowment is nearly $400,000.

MAP International

One of Georgia’s top nonprofits involved in global health, MAP International, has taken on a new cause: to reduce the threat of the Buruli ulcer, an infection that impacts 151 out of 100,000 people in west Africa.

The ulcer causes severe physical disabilities in people who often become shunned in their communities. But the ulcer can be treated by a combination of two antibiotics.

“The Buruli ulcer can be stopped,” said Michael Nyenhuis, president and CEO of MAP International, which is co-headquartered in Brunswick, Ga., and Atlanta. “We shouldn’t let one more child be impacted by this.”

MAP held a fundraising luncheon at the Commerce Clubon Nov. 30 with a goal of raising $75,000 for its efforts. The lunch alone helped raise about $27,000.

The keynote speaker at the lunch was Dr. Bill Foege, one of the most respected public health leaders in the world who has been credited with helping eradicate smallpox.

“MAP is known as a problem-solving organization,” Foege said. “What we are talking about is an investment in the future,” calling the Buruli ulcer a “disease that’s unfamiliar to most people.”

But one lesson Foege has learned after decades in global health is that “people in trouble do not need more trouble. These are people in trouble. Thanks for giving your attention to them.”

Bank of America donations

Bank of America is giving $363,000 to 14 metro Atlanta charities, including $50,000 to the Georgia Council on Economic Education and $50,000 to Project Success and the 100 Black Men of Atlanta.

The other major gifts included $25,000 to the East Lake Foundation; $35,000 to Junior Achievement of Georgia; $23,000 to the Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency; $25,000 to Georgia State University; $25,000 to G-CAPP; and $25,000 to UNCF Atlanta.

Other recipients were: $10,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta; $15,000 to the Nonprofit Loan Fund; $15,000 to Year Up Atlanta; $20,000 to the YWCA of Greater Atlanta; and $20,000 to Spelman College.

“Our support is enabling individuals in the metro area to achieve the education and skills needed to compete in today’s and tomorrow’s workplace,” said Geri Thomas, the Georgia president of Bank of America, in a statement. “The bank’s investment in these organizations is just one of the ways we are supporting education and workforce development organizations in our community and improving local economies across the country.”

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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