Arthur M. Blank (middle) celebrates winning the 2018 MLS Cup with Atlanta United captain Michael Parkhurst. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)
ATLANTA – In response to the Coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Friday announced nearly $5.4 million in funding for immediate and long-term recovery assistance to organizations providing critical support throughout Georgia and Montana.
“As a Family Foundation we have always believed that it is the power of many that will make the greatest impact on the most pressing issues in our society,” said Blank, the foundation chairman. “This is that moment – to join together to truly harness the power of all of us to address a challenge that knows no boundaries and has no precedent in our lifetimes.”
Blank owns Atlanta United FC in Major League Soccer and the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL.
The foundation will make the following commitments in Atlanta:
* The foundation will grant $5 million to the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund established by United Way of Greater Atlanta and Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. This new fund is focused on serving the immediate needs of economically vulnerable populations who are suddenly facing a gap in support, and funds will go to nonprofit organizations that address food insecurity, housing stability, medical supports and childcare, among other pressing concerns.
“Thank you to The Arthur M. Blank Foundation for their generous investment in the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund,” said United Way of Greater Atlanta CEO Milton J. Little, Jr.in a statement. “The Foundation’s gift will give our children, families, communities and the nonprofits who support them across Greater Atlanta the resources they need during a time of great economic crisis. Our leaders continue to step up and support the residents of our great city and we couldn’t be more grateful.”
* Through a $100,000 grant to Hands On Atlanta, funding from the Blank Foundation will ensure 31 AmeriCorps members can continue to support public schools across metro Atlanta. Their service will shift to virtual tutoring and social emotional learning coaching as well as supporting food distribution to students and families in need throughout three school districts in Atlanta. Without this funding, Hands On Atlanta was at risk of losing these positions due to school closures. These funds are also supporting Hands On Atlanta to provide the infrastructure for volunteer efforts across the Metro area during this crisis.
* With an increased demand for police presence throughout Atlanta, the Blank Foundation is providing $100,000 to the Atlanta Police Foundation to maintain adequate staffing levels and ensure the safety of officers through the enhanced sanitation of police facilities and the provision of personal sanitation supplies to police officers and other essential city employees.
In addition, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, part of Arthur Blank’s Family of Businesses, donated 3.5 tons of surplus of food ($100,000 value), providing more than 2,310 meals to six nonprofit groups in Atlanta – Veterans Empowerment Organization (VEO), Atlanta Mission, Atlanta City Baptist Rescue Mission, Gateway Center, Hope House, and Salvation Army: Red Shield Services.
The foundation also is making the following emergency response investments in Park and Gallatin Counties in Montana:
* To address the immediate needs of the Native American and Latino communities in Montana, many of whom have been completely displaced by the closing of hospitality venues, the Foundation is providing Hopa Mountain with a $50,000 grant to deliver necessities, including food, cleaning supplies, housing and clothing in these communities.
* With winter centers for the homeless closing early due to COVID-19, the foundation will provide HRDC with $50,000 to aid them in finding alternative housing option for the homeless population and providing housing assistance programs to the state’s most vulnerable.
* In the wake of workers facing layoffs or reduced hours, the Gallatin Valley Food Bank expects a spike in demand, and through a $25,000 donation from the Foundation, it will be able to increase food inventory, volunteer participation and new operations to adhere to social distancing requirements.
* To disseminate accurate information around COVID-19 to all Montanans, the foundation will provide $20,000 to the Healthy Gallatin Campaign to produce PSAs for radio, TV and social media.