The week in local news.

If you’re a fan of independent films, Underground Atlanta’s upcoming 20th annual film festival is for you. From Aug. 3 to 6, 125 indie shorts and features will be screened at the new Limelight Theater. Tickets range from $12 to $60. For additional information, click here.

On to other local news:

1072 West Peachtree. (Special: Rockefeller Group.)

Midtown Atlanta getting new high-rise

On July 26, the Rockefeller Group broke ground on Atlanta’s tallest tower to be built in more than 30 years.

The building – 1072 West Peachtree – will be a mixed-use high-rise with at least 350 luxury rental homes, Class A office space and street-level retail.

Rockefeller Group was joined by officials from Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank and Taisei USA to celebrate the closing of construction financing for the tower at a ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday for a tower that will rise more than 730 feet. 

“The development of this mixed-use project will meaningfully elevate the experience of living and working here, and it highlights Rockefeller Group’s perspective on new development and our commitment to the continued growth of Atlanta,” said John Petricola, senior managing director of the Southeast Region at Rockefeller Group, in a statement.

The tower was designed by Atlanta-based TVS. It will be home to Midtown’s largest outdoor amenity deck, offering sweeping views of Atlanta. 

— Maria Saporta

Fulton County Schools gear up for First Day Fulton Pep Rally

On Jul. 29, Fulton County Schools will host two events to excite students about returning to school next month. 

The First Day Fulton is a back-to-school rally held at Banneker and North Springs High Schools from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Families can enjoy entertainment and community vendors will be there along with raffle prizes and free giveaways. 

Backpacks filled with school supplies are available while supplies last and health screenings for vision, hearing and dental will also be on site. 

The first day of school begins on Aug 7. For more information visit their website.

— Allison Joyner

YouTube video

(L to R) Jerry Wilkinson, Tom Johnson and Ryan Wilson.

National Philanthropy Day honoring three Atlanta leaders

Three prominent Atlanta leaders will be honored at the 2023 National Philanthropy Day on Nov. 2: Jerry Wilkinson, Tom Johnson and Ryan Wilson.

The Greater Atlanta Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) will host the 41st annual National Philanthropy Day luncheon at the Georgia Aquarium as a way of celebrating the power of community.

The Philanthropist of the Year will go to Jerry Wilkinson, founder and chairman of the Wilkinson Companies, a privately-held real estate investment and management firm. Wilkinson was nominated by the Atlanta Community Food Bank for his work with the organization. Wilkinson also has made 13 mission trips around the world, including India, South Korea, South America, China and the Soviet Union.

The Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year will be awarded to Tom Johnson, a longtime journalist. The retired president of CNN, Johnson also served as CEO of the Los Angeles Times. Johnson was nominated by Emory University School of Medicine for his tireless work in mental health and opioid addiction. Johnson, and his wife Edwina, have worked to strengthen Skyland Trail, the Atlanta Press Club, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston as well as numerous other organizations.

The Philanthropic Leader of Tomorrow will be awarded to Ryan Wilson, co-founder and CEO of the Gathering Spot, a private membership network. Wilson, 33, already has received a number of prestigious awards, and the Root 100 and Ebony Power 100 have recognized Wilson as one of the country’s most influential African-Americans. Wilson was nominated by the Woodruff Arts Center.

The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and AFP Greater Atlanta are continuing their 10-year partnership in putting on National Philanthropy Day.

— Maria Saporta

The new stamp. (Courtesy of U.S. Postal Service.)

Post Offices honors Lewis with Forever Stamp

Last week, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) celebrated its latest stamp with a ceremony honoring the late John Lewis.

Hundreds gathered at the Morehouse College’s Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel for a dedication ceremony for USPS’s latest Forever Stamp featuring a portrait of the Civil Rights icon.

“The Postal Service is proud to celebrate Lewis – a national treasure – and to honor his legacy with the tribute of this Forever Stamp that is as beautiful visually as was the spirit of the man whose imagine it bares,” said Ronald Stronman, USPS Board of Governors member and dedicating official for the stamp. 

The stamp is available at your local Post Office or the USPS website

— Allison Joyner

The interactive tennis mural. (Courtesy of SCAD Atlanta.)

SCAD mural featured at Atlanta Open

The Atlanta Open tennis tournament has partnered with SCAD Atlanta to create a custom interactive mural for patrons to experience while attending the event and design a new t-shirt to raise money for the Atlanta Youth Tennis and Education Foundation.

Tennis fans can use a QR code on-site to enter this uniquely peachy AR world of tennis.

The mural, created by the SCADpro mural project team, created a collaborative design that connected current and future art and design professionals with business leaders to find creative solutions to real-world problems. 

The mural is on display at the Atlanta Open at Atlantic Station until July 30.

— Allison Joyner

Since 2007, ArtsBridge has connected around 425,000 students with arts education opportunities. (Courtesy of the ArtsBridge Foundation.)

ArtsBridge gears up for 2023 Overture Gala

ArtsBridge Foundation, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that serves as the arts education arm of the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, is gearing up for its 2023 Overture Gala on Saturday, Aug. 5. The annual fundraiser is themed “A Night at the Cabaret,” and serves as a celebration of ArtsBridge’s work in arts education.

The Gala will include a cabaret cocktail hour, a three-course meal prepared by Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Executive Chef Nick Alvarez, live entertainment by winners of the 2023 Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards, a live auction and an after-party featuring a live band.

The fundraising goal for the night is $150,000. These funds will support the nonprofit’s Title I Adopt-A-School Financial Aid Subsidy Program, which subsidizes field trip admission and bus transportation for Georgia students.

“We greatly appreciate the generosity of our longtime sponsors and supporters of ArtsBridge Foundation who already stepped up to support ‘A Night at the Cabaret,’” Executive Director Jennifer Dobbs wrote. “As we countdown to the big event, we are looking for additional community businesses and leaders to join us in support of youth arts education through any of our Gala sponsorship levels.”

For additional program and ticketing information, click here.

— Hannah E. Jones

Second annual Ride for the Westside this September

On Saturday, Sept. 30, the second annual Ride for the Westside will be held at 970 Jefferson St. in the city’s Westside. The event will include an 11-mile bike circuit along the BeltLine and nearby Westside neighborhoods and a timed 5K race. The festival is hosted by the Westside Future Fund (WFF) and Quest Community Development Corporation (CDC). The funds raised will be used to support both organizations’ affordable housing efforts while also celebrating the Historic Westside.

Quest CDC creates affordable and supportive housing for formerly homeless and extremely low-income residents in metro Atlanta. WFF is a nonprofit dedicated to advancing neighborhood revitalization within five Westside neighborhoods — Ashview Heights, Atlanta University Center, English Avenue, Vine City and Just Us.

In addition to the ride and race, there will be post-race festivities like music, finisher medals, games and family-friendly activities. There will also be a self-guided walking tour highlighting the area’s civil rights heritage and WFF’s work.

“We know that healthy neighborhoods are a key social determinant for families, including their health and well-being, economic opportunity, and access to quality education,” WFF President and CEO John Ahmann wrote. “Philanthropic support is key to helping us continue to develop deeply affordable, quality housing for current and future residents of the Historic Westside.”

For additional event and ticketing information, click here.

— Hannah E. Jones

UnitedHealthcare distributes grants to six Georgia nonprofits

Six Georgia nonprofits recently received grants from UnitedHealthcare to support their efforts in expanding access to care for uninsured individuals and underserved communities. The community-based organizations are receiving a total of $1.5 million in Empowering Health grants. 

The Empowering Health grants will provide critical funding to help folks get access to a network of support, including access to healthy food and mental health resources. Through this program, UnitedHealthcare is giving over $11 million in total to organizations across 12 states.

The Georgia recipients include: 

“UnitedHealthcare is honored to support the important work these local organizations are doing to provide greater access to services for underserved communities in Georgia,” UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Georgia CEO Michael Minor wrote in a recent release. “Social and economic factors continue to have a significant impact on achieving and maintaining good health. These grants enable us to work closely with our community partners and to be there for what matters in addressing social determinants of health for their residents.”

— Hannah E. Jones

Chamblee adopts resolution condemning antisemitism

Last week, the Chamblee City Council passed and adopted a resolution condemning antisemitism and the harassment of Jewish people.

The resolution stands in solidarity with those affected by the antisemitism that continues to plague society today.

“We have seen a significant increase in antisemitic sentiment in the Metro through pamphlets and demonstrations,” said Jimmy Furst, Chamblee Councilmember. “We refuse to be silent in the face of hate. Chamblee is a city that embraces people’s differences, and this resolution condemns antisemitism in the strongest terms.”

The city pledged to combat antisemitism and ensure the safety of its residents through education, awareness, and establishing a safe and welcoming community. 

The city is encouraging residents, businesses, educational institutions, religious organizations and community groups to join in the efforts to combat antisemitism, foster a climate of acceptance, and build a community that values diversity, inclusivity, and mutual respect.

— Allison Joyner

Kaiser Permanente hands out $1M-plus in grants for Georgians

Kaiser Permanente is doling out over $1 million to strengthen the state’s safety net for uninsured residents. In Georgia, about 12.6 percent of residents don’t have health insurance. 

The two recipients will use the funding to increase access to care for underserved populations. The grant recipients include:

  • Georgia Charitable Care Network: $350,000. The funding will be used to improve the clinic capacity and patient outcomes for at least 10 of Georgia’s free and charitable clinics.
  • Georgia Association for Primary Health Care: $700,000. The grant will be used to support the Community Health Worker project with three Federally Qualified Health Centers in rural areas surrounding metro Atlanta, which aims to assist Medicaid-eligible Georgians in their applications for benefits.

“Georgia’s free and charitable clinics are critical in providing care to the uninsured and underserved communities. We are so grateful for Kaiser Permanente’s partnership that recognizes the crucial role our clinics play in the state’s health care system,” Georgia Charitable Care Network Executive Director Donna Looper wrote in a release. “Multi-morbidities run rampant among patients without insurance, and this funding will support the clinics’ efforts to improve outcomes for these high-risk, vulnerable patients.”

— Hannah E. Jones

Hannah Jones is a Georgia State University graduate, with a major in journalism and minor in public policy. She began studying journalism in high school and has since served as a reporter and editor for...