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Column: Wells Fargo commits $2 million to Woodruff for teen arts

By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Friday, April 12, 2013

In one of the more novel gifts that the Woodruff Arts Center has ever received, Wells Fargo is committing $2 million over the next five years to create a teen outreach initiative that will cross all four of the center’s divisions.

The first annual Wells Fargo ArtsVibe Teen Program — which will involve a two-day “teen takeover” of the Woodruff Center campus on April 26 and 27, will involve an American Idol-like competition for best Atlanta talent on Friday night as well as live music, dancing, workshops and other entertainment on Saturday.

The hope is that more than 3,000 teens will participate in the two-day event, which will include the involvement of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art, the Alliance Theatre and Young Audiences. This is the first time the four divisions have collaborated on such an initiative, according to the bank.

“To see thousands of teens converge on the Woodruff Arts Center for this festival will be amazing,” said Mike Donnelly, Atlanta region president for Wells Fargo. “We are especially excited to get more teens involved in the arts through this unique program, which combines three elements vital to us at Wells Fargo — kids, education and the arts. You hear so much the need for constructive activities for teens. This is the ticket — and it’s all free. It’s a great way to help our young people be successful in life.”

Wells Fargo said the Voices & Vibes Festival will be the first of its kind in the United States.

“The goal of the Voices & Vibes Festival is to unify the teens of Atlanta through the arts,” said Kaitlin Gress, Wells Fargo ArtsVibe Teen program coordinator. “We want to show teens what the Woodruff Art Center can offer them, now and in the future.”

Girl Scouts fundraiser

It’s a good way to start off one’s second century.

The Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta raised more than $300,000 at its inaugural Second Century Circle Breakfast last month at the Piedmont Driving Club.

The honorary co-chairs for the breakfast were Rosalind Brewer, president and CEO of Sam’s Club, and Beatriz Perez, chief sustainability officer for The Coca-Cola Co.

“The Second Century Circle launched a new vision for Girl Scouts’ growth and innovation,” said Marilyn Midyette, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, in a statement. “We demonstrated that an investment in Girl Scouts is an investment in the pipeline for high-achieving, high-performing girls and women.”

During the event, Girl Scouts presented the 2013 Changing the World Award to Carol Tomé, Home Depot’s chief financial officer. Tomé spoke about how the organization has empowered women around the globe to achieve success in their civic and corporate communities.

As a result of the inaugural breakfast, the Girl Scout’s Second Century Circle has four founding $25,000 platinum members: The Coca-Cola Co., Mohawk Industries, Sam’s Club and Wells Fargo. Founding $10,000 business members include: AT&T Georgia, Atlanta Gas Light, Ernst & Young, Georgia-Pacific, Georgia Power, Home Depot, Lockheed Martin, Palmer & Cay and UPS.

The Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta also has a new chief development officer — Michelle Schwab, who formerly was with Young Audiences at the Woodruff Arts Center.

New role for Lockheed chief

The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education has named Shan Cooper, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., as its new board chair.

Cooper succeeds Paul Bowers, president and CEO of Georgia Power, in that role.

Kevin Greiner, president and CEO of Gas South, is new vice chair of the partnership.

The partnership, founded in 1992 by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Economic Developers Association, seeks to shape policy and reform education to improve the state’s K-12 public education.

Crohn’s & Colitis fundraiser

The Georgia chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation raised about $300,000 at its 23rd annual Torch Gala at The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead on March 16.

The event, which attracted 350 guests, honored Marcia Greenburg, the organization’s Southeast regional director.

Over the years, the Torch Gala has raised a total of $5.5 million to help find a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these digestive diseases.

Nigut to be honored

The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust chose Bill Nigut to receive its 2013 Humanitarian Award at the “Days of Remembrance” April 12 ceremony memorializing victims of the Holocaust.

Nigut is the Southeast regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.

Last year, Nigut was instrumental in bringing to Atlanta “Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezîn.”

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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