Mayor’s Office of Communications
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 2500 • Atlanta, Georgia 30303
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 19, 2014
Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta Committee for Progress Announce Board of Westside Future Fund
Fund will provide more than $30 million in direct investment for the English Avenue, Vine City and Castleberry Hill neighborhoods
ATLANTA – Mayor Kasim Reed and the Atlanta Committee for Progress (ACP) announced today the newly appointed board members of the Westside Future Fund, an independent, private, non-profit entity. The board will work in collaboration with the City, community partners, non-profits, foundations and corporations to ensure the continued stable and cohesive development of the West Atlanta community.
“The Westside Future Fund will be vital to the future development of the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive corridor and West Atlanta community,” said Mayor Reed. “In partnership with The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and Invest Atlanta, the fund will work to secure a stronger, healthier future and spur job creation, civic engagement and business investment for the historic neighborhoods of Vine City, English Avenue, and Castleberry Hill.”
Richard J. Dugas, Jr. will serve as chairman of the nine-member board. “I look forward to the opportunity to work with Mayor Reed, Westside community leaders and the Westside Future Fund board to jump-start investment and enhance the quality of life for the residents of these vitally important communities,” said Dugas, chairman and CEO of PulteGroup. “Atlanta has proven that partnerships with civic, business, philanthropic, and faith communities can bring substantive improvements in the quality of life for its citizens. We’re bringing that collaborative spirit to the Westside.”
As part of the coordinated effort to revitalize the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive corridor and surrounding neighborhoods of the new Atlanta stadium, the Westside Future Fund was created to help be a catalyst for philanthropic and corporate support to accelerate improvements in the health, education and welfare of current residents; address equity and social justice issues associated with new residential and commercial development, and attract new investment, new jobs and new residents.
“The Atlanta Committee for Progress is pleased to work with Mayor Reed, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, and others on this important Westside initiative,” said William H. Rogers Jr., ACP Chairman and CEO of Suntrust. “Through the collaboration with Mayor Reed and civic leaders, businesses, non-profits and philanthropic organizations, we’ve made substantial progress in making Atlanta a better place to live, work and play. The Westside Future Fund will continue that transformation.”
Last year, Mayor Reed and the Atlanta Falcons reached an agreement on key city terms for the construction of the new Atlanta stadium in downtown Atlanta. The agreements negotiated between Mayor Reed and the Atlanta Falcons include several major elements based on input from the Atlanta City Council, Atlanta residents, neighborhood groups, and business owners concerned about job creation, minority and woman owned business participation in the construction, infrastructure improvements and economic development in the neighborhoods surrounding the new Atlanta stadium.
To date, a number of commitments have been fulfilled including:
• The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has committed $15 million in private funds to invest in projects that ignite positive change and improve the quality of life in the English Avenue, Vine City, Castleberry Hill and other contiguous neighborhoods.
• Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development agency, has committed $15 million in tax allocation district dollars for economic development projects that would leverage private sector and philanthropic investment in the English Avenue, Vine City and Castleberry Hill communities. At the November 20th meeting of its board of directors, Invest Atlanta approved an initial eight projects totaling over $6.2 million as part of this commitment.
• To promote full and equal business opportunities in connection with the design and construction of the new Atlanta stadium, the Atlanta Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center have developed an Equal Business Opportunity Plan that will ensure at least 31 percent participation by women and minority business enterprises.
In June the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and Invest Atlanta opened Westside Works, a long-term initiative focused on creating employment opportunities and fostering job success through skill building for residents of Atlanta’s Westside communities. Westside Works provides access to the necessary services that foster job success, such as skills assessments, skills training, job readiness preparation. Training and pathways for employment include construction, certified nursing assistant, culinary arts and auto technician. For more information, visit www.westsideworks.org.
“The Westside Future Fund will be a great partner and addition to our collective efforts to achieve transformational change and create long-term economic growth in the Westside neighborhoods,” stated Arthur Blank, owner and chairman of the Atlanta Falcons and chairman of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. “This fund provides a mechanism for getting more community leaders, public officials and the local business community involved, which is exactly what we need to have the greatest and most sustainable outcome for the residents of these communities.”
Board members of the Westside Future Fund are:
Peter Aman, Partner, Bain & Co.
Michael Julian Bond, Atlanta City Council, Post 1 At-Large
Richard Dugas, Chair, Westside Future Fund, Chairman, President/CEO, PulteGroup, Inc.
Dan Halpern, President/CEO, Jackmont Hospitality
Doug Hertz, President/CEO, United Distributors
Penny McPhee, President, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation
Bill Taggart, President/CEO, Atlanta Life Financial
Dr. Beverly Tatum, President, Spelman College
Ivory Lee Young, Jr., Atlanta City Council, District 3
For more information about the City of Atlanta, please visit http://www.atlantaga.gov or watch City Channel 26. Follow the City of Atlanta on Facebook and Twitter @CityofAtlanta. Follow Mayor Reed on Facebook and Twitter @Kasim Reed