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Reporter’s Notebook: Delta’s $1 million grant to Agnes Scott, three local students sell charity tote bags, Indigenous Stickball Summit on BeltLine

The week in news.

This weekend, get in the spooky spirit a little early with the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade and Festival. Grab your costume — whether funny and fantastical or gory and frightening — and head to Little 5 Points for two days of festive creepiness including events like the Silver Scream Spook Show and the Rainy Day Revival Freak Show. The parade is on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m.

On to other recent news:

Agnes Scott President Lee Zak with Delta Air Lines’ CEO Ed Bastian. (Photo by Maria Saporta.)

Agnes Scott College and Delta’s Ed Bastian

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian was the only male panelist at Agnes Scott College’s third annual Global Leadership Conference on Oct. 13 titled: “Leading Inclusively: Transformative Change Across the Globe.” 

At the end of an interview with Leocadia “Lee” Zak, Agnes Scott’s president, Bastian made a surprise announcement. “Our foundation wants to make a $1 million grant to Agnes Scott,” Bastian said.

“I’m still in shock,” Zak said after Bastian’s announcement.

During the session, Bastian shared numerous insights and tips about leadership in today’s environment — plagued by the pandemic, anxiety and fear. 

“You see the world tearing at the seams,” Bastian said. “In many ways, it hurts. We have to push harder to bring cultures together.”

Bastian shared that his first airplane flight was when he was 25, and his first international trip was five years later. He described it as the best trip in his life because it helped open his mind to possibilities by being put in uncomfortable situations.

Bastian’s advice to college students: “When you graduate college, it’s not the end of your education. It’s the start of your education. Learning never stops,” he said. “When I’m no longer learning, that’s when I’m done.”

About diversity, equity and inclusion, Bastian said there’s still a “huge amount of systemic racism,” and that “change has to happen at the top” rather than a groundswell from the bottom. “Getting this journey going, it’s something I have to own,” he added.

When asked about Atlanta, Bastian said the city has an amazing future. 

“I’ve been here for 25 years, and it will always be my home,” he said. “It’s got significant issues, but it’s got such a great talent base. Atlanta has been unappreciated for a number of years.” 

Now tech companies, which traditionally have little diversity, are discovering Atlanta’s potential with its diverse talent pool. “We are welcoming them into the city,” Bastian said. 

When asked about being a CEO, Bastian said it has its challenges.

“You end up being managed rather than managing. We have to be intentional on how we spend our time,” he said. “There’s no such thing as work-life balance. I choose that. I have my dream job. I love what I do. If you don’t love what you do, why are you doing it?”

Bastian was impressed with the global education that Agnes Scott students receive.

“One of the most important skills is learning to be a citizen of the world rather than a citizen of your country. You have to have a global mindset,” he said. “The more you do this, the more you realize we are fundamentally the same. It gets you to a more spiritual perspective.”

— Maria Saporta

Drew Charter School students with their charity totes. (Photos courtesy of Lidl US.)

Three high school students sell totes to benefit Atlanta Food Bank, East Lake YMCA

Three students at Atlanta’s Drew Charter School are selling limited-edition reusable tote bags decorated with their own artwork. All sales will benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Healthy Connections program at the East Lake Family YMCA. The Healthy Connections program helps local residents lead healthier lives. 

Bags cost $3.99 and are available for purchase at Lidl’s Memorial Drive store while supplies last. Each student created a unique design — the Atlanta skyline, a green city and Eva Davis, an East Lake community leader who passed in 2012. The students — Jiyah, Amelia and Tyra — were selected after submitting their designs to a competition organized by Drew Charter School in partnership with Lidl.

“We are so proud to showcase their creative gifts and celebrate the local communities, while also having the opportunity to give back to the local Atlanta area and do what we can to address food insecurity in the neighborhoods we operate,” Ronnie Hammett, Lidl Memorial Dr. store manager, wrote in a press release.

— Hannah E. Jones

Indigenous stickball summit on Atlanta BeltLine

For the first time in about two centuries, four tribal nations gathered for an indigenous stickball tournament on traditional Muscogee Land on the Atlanta BeltLine last weekend

The Oct. 15 Southeast Woodlands Stickball Summit included an opening ceremony by the Muscogee Nation, three games and a panel discussion about the history and cultural significance of the sport. Approximately 60 players took the field from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, the Chickasaw Nation and the Mississippi Choctaw Nation.

Indigenous stickball is one of the oldest organized sports in America, dating to 1729, and is the precursor to lacrosse. The game holds great historical and cultural importance, serving as an alternative to war, a celebratory activity and a type of recreation.

The summit was inspired by Chickasaw/Choctaw artist Addison Karl’s Itti’ kapochcha to’li’, a six-foot-tall cast iron sculpture of stickball’s toli sticks that’s on display on the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail. 

Scroll down to check out snapshots of the stickball summit. Photos by Kelly Jordan.

— Hannah E. Jones

CAU Public Safety makes statement on homecoming shooting 

On Monday, Clark Atlanta University’s (CAU) Public Safety Department reacted to the shooting that occurred during a homecoming celebration over the weekend.

“On Oct. 16, 2022, at approximately 12:29 a.m. Clark Atlanta University Department of Public Safety responded to shots fired near the Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center,” Debra Williams, Chief of Police for the CAU Public Safety Department said in a statement.

Earlier reports said that four people were shot when a vehicle was traveling west on Parsons Street and opened fire on a crowd of students celebrating during a homecoming-related event. The victims were all transported to Grady Hospital where they were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. 

“Unfortunately, our students must travel public streets and go between buildings on a daily basis,” Williams said. “We note that the perpetrators were not students yet they have access to those thoroughfares.” 

The campus Public Safety and the Atlanta Police Department have increased officer patrols in the area as the investigation is ongoing. 

“The safety of our students remains our top priority as we continue to work with the City of Atlanta for solutions to senseless violence impacting innocent students and residents,” Williams concluded. 

— Allison Joyner

Historic preservation grants available for nonprofits

Matching grants for certain historic preservation projects by nonprofit organizations are now available through the 1772 Foundation and the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.

The grants of up to $10,000 can be used for exterior painting, finishes and surface restoration, fire detection, lightning protection and security systems, repairs to and restoration of porches, roofs and windows, repairs to foundations and sills and chimney and masonry repointing.

Preliminary “letters of inquiry” are due Dec. 1. After vetting the proposals, the organizations will select nonprofits that will be invited to submit full applications. 

Schools and churches are not eligible, and there are several other requirements. For details, see the Georgia Trust website.

The Georgia Trust is a statewide historic preservation advocacy organization. The Connecticut-based 1772 Foundation provides grants for preservation projects.

— John Ruch

Cox Chairman and CEO Alex Taylor with Groundbreaker Award winner Shirley Nichols. (Photo courtesy of J. Alexander Photography.)

Cox Enterprises culminates nine-city volunteer tour in Atlanta

On Tuesday, Oct. 18, Cox Enterprises wrapped up its “34 by 34” nine-city tour in Atlanta, the company’s headquarters. 

The “34 by 34” initiative aims to expand program access and remove obstacles that allow 34 million people to live more prosperous lives by 2034. As part of the initiative, Cox toured nine key cities where the company does business, with volunteer projects and donation drives at each location. 

In Atlanta, thousands of Cox employees volunteered with Hands On Atlanta, the United Way of Greater Atlanta, the Boys & Girls Club of America and Girls, Inc. The winners of the Cox Conserves Heroes award were announced, a sustainability initiative designed to recognize youth and adult volunteers and nonprofits making a positive impact on the environment. 

Shirley Nichols was selected as the Atlanta-based Cox Conserves Hero, winning the Groundbreaker Award. Nichols is a staunch advocate for the parks, waterways and greenspaces in South River Gardens — a largely residential community with vast tracts of forest surrounded by industrial land.  

Each winner receives $30,000 to donate to the nonprofit of their choice, courtesy of the James M. Cox Foundation.

— Hannah E. Jones

Thanks a Million Gala returns, in person again

For the first time since 2019, the Thanks Mom & Dad Fund will hold its Thanks a Million Gala on Nov. 10 at 6 p.m., with dinner and a silent auction at the Georgia Aquarium. Jocelyn Dorsey (WSB-TV, retired) and actor Michael Kelly are invited to emcee. 

Thanks Mom & Dad Fund honors parents, grandparents and mentors by supporting programs and services for the aging population. It was forced, like many charitable organizations, to cancel its main annual fundraising event during the pandemic. With some imaginative “virtual gala” fundraising, Thanks Mom & Dad was able to continue making a difference in the aging community which was most at risk during the pandemic, but this year’s in-person gala is a welcome return to normal.

This year’s event will honor Lorene Lindsey, the former mayor of Locust Grove, Ga., active advocate for seniors and long-time Thanks Mom & Dad board member, who passed away last month, weeks before her 100th birthday. For tickets and more information about the event, click here.

— Tom Baxter

Nonprofits respond to discriminator, sexist actions from iHeart Atlanta president

Last week, affinity groups of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) responded to the termination of iHeart Media Atlanta president Drew Lauter after a video showing him using racial slurs surfaced. 

An investigation from WSB-TV on Oct. 13 revealed Lauter using the “n-word” several times in a video filmed in August of last year. 

“As organizations that we’re created to serve populations that are often marginalized, the Atlanta chapters of the Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition (BLACC) and our organizational partner, Spark, created to empower all women are appalled by the racist comments and sexist actions that were made by iHeart Atlanta president Drew Lautner,” Imara Canady, National Director of Communications and Community Engagement for AHF and chair of BLACC said in a statement. 

The video showed Lautner riding in an SUV after a charity event with two other iHeart employees making discriminatory remarks and tossing racially insensitive language around.

“These overt discriminatory actions personify the level of white privilege that permeates across the country and should not be tolerated by leaders in this community,” Canady said. “It is this type of stigmatization and discrimination that BLACC and Spark are working to combat each and every day.” 

The radio company announced Lauter’s termination the day after WSB broadcasted their investigation but the two organizations believe that more should be done from this. 

“Given the delay by iHeart leadership in addressing these actions, we call for iHeart President and CEO Bob Pittman to go beyond just the release of Lauter and to work throughout the entire company to ensure that a climate of acceptance of discrimination is alleviated and appropriately address,” Canady said. 

— Allison Joyner

Jason Anavitarte, CareSource Georgia director of health equity and life services, announces the investment. (Photo courtesy of CareSource Georgia.)

Georgia Medicaid provider invests in affordable housing

CareSource, Georgia’s only nonprofit Medicaid provider, recently invested $1 million to support and advance affordable housing in rural Southern Georgia. The announcement was made at the 2022 American Rural Prosperity Summit in Athens, Ga.

Partnering with Volunteers of America, CareSource’s latest investment goes toward multifamily housing and a senior housing complex.  

“CareSource is excited to announce our investment of $1 million in affordable housing in collaboration with the Volunteers of America to show our continued commitment to creating programs that target the social determinants of health for our members,” Jason Anavitarte, CareSource Georgia director of health equity and life services, wrote in a press release.

Last month, CareSource invested $2.5 million to bolster affordable housing in Atlanta and the metro area. The investment will help fund the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership’s acquisition and rehabilitation of 75 single-family affordable rental homes.

— Hannah E. Jones

France-Atlanta 2022 Welcome Reception, celebrating 13 years of event series

On Oct. 13, the France-Atlanta team hosted its 2022 Welcome Reception, celebrating the 13th edition of the event series. City of Atlanta leaders, members of the Consul General of France in Atlanta and the president of Georgia Tech all joined the reception to celebrate the transatlantic partnership.

France-Atlanta is a six-week program focused on innovation, creating transatlantic connections and exchanging knowledge in the fields of culture, humanitarian affairs, science and business. The 2022 event series began on Sept. 15, and will run until Nov. 3. Most of the events are free, and anyone is welcome to join.

The series was co-founded and organized by the Consulate General of France in Atlanta and the Georgia Institute of Technology

Take a look at Kelly Jordan’s slideshow for an inside look at the reception.

— Hannah E. Jones

New Birth reaches “Mega Million Milestone” during pandemic-related food drive

On Saturday, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in conjunction with The King’s Table food ministry served its one-millionth person during its weekly drive-thru food distribution. 

DeKalb County resident, Pricilla Ward, became the millionth person to receive free groceries and shelf-stable items from the organizations. She was then surprised with a $1,000 check from The King’s Table. 

“This was a surprise of a lifetime,” said Ward, who added this was her second time visiting the event since it started in 2020. “I’m overwhelmed by the joy of the Lord.”

The distribution began during the height of the COVID-19 global pandemic resulting in many not being able to work or losing their jobs during shelter-in-place orders. As the need for food assistance grew, New Birth’s Senior Pastor, Jamal Bryant, expanded the efforts by collaborating with over 100 faith-based organizations in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and the Carolinas. 

Stream the documentary “Road to One Million” to watch the celebration on the church’s YouTube or Facebook pages.

— Allison Joyner

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Hannah E. Jones

Hannah Jones is an Atlanta native and 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 two newspapers. Hannah managed the Arts and Living section of The Signal, Georgia State’s independent award-winning newspaper. She has a passion for environmental issues, urban life and telling a good story. Hannah can be reached at hannah@saportareport.com.

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