Penelope (Penny) McPhee, who has served as president of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation (AMBFF) since 2004, today announced that she will retire from the foundation at the end of 2020.
McPhee will remain president until her successor is selected and assumes the leadership role. A nationwide search, overseen by Blank and members of his family, will begin immediately.
As the Blank Foundation celebrates its 25th anniversary and approaches $600 million in total giving in 2020, McPhee’s leadership has played a principal role in establishing the foundation as a “thoughtful, purpose-driven philanthropic leader” manifesting the vision of Blank and his family.
“(McPhee)’s leadership over the last 16 years can’t be overstated when it comes to executing the vision of our Family Foundation, the important work to align of our community in building Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the development of our philanthropic work on Atlanta’s Westside and in Montana and so much more,” said Arthur M. Black. “Her work has been tireless and the initiatives she has led will have a lasting impact on the communities and people we are committed to serve.
McPhee joined the foundation in 2004 and, during her tenure as president, the Blank family has made investments that have transformed Atlanta’s urban landscape, increased equitable opportunities for children and families, and changed policy at the local and state level to ensure that all children get a fair and healthy start. The foundation became the first investor in the Atlanta Beltline and the largest investor in the expansion of Atlanta parks and greenspaces.
McPhee also led the foundation’s naming investment of the Civil Rights Gallery at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
In partnership with Atlanta Falcons leadership, McPhee played a critical role in garnering community support for the building of Mercedes-Benz Stadium and has been at the helm of Blank’s transformational initiatives to reinvigorate Atlanta’s historic Westside, including the creation of the Westside Future Fund; Westside Works; and the American Explorers youth leadership program, to name just a few.
On the policy front, McPhee has worked with three Georgia governors to implement programs and policies that have changed the state’s trendline on childhood and youth obesity and fostered relationships that led to major youth-serving organizations such as Teach for America, Posse and Playworks activating in Georgia.
“It’s been an incredible honor and privilege for me to serve Arthur and his family over the past 16 years in bringing their philanthropic vision to life,” McPhee said. “I’m filled with gratitude for Arthur’s friendship, commitment and trust as we’ve worked together with his family, countless passionate associates, dedicated grantees and community leaders determined to make Atlanta and the world a better place.”
In recent years, McPhee spearheaded the development of Blank’s West Creek Ranch retreat center in Montana, which brings together thought leaders around topics of national significance and interest to the Blank family to develop solutions to a wide range of issues ranging from health and well-being to conservation to strengthening democracy.
She has also led the development of Blank’s legacy grantmaking, including major 2019 grants to CARE to promote women’s entrepreneurship in three African countries; to The Avalon Fund to provide support for veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injury; and to Blank’s alma mater, Babson College, to name the Arthur M. Blank School of Entrepreneurial Leadership.
“At this stage of my life and the Foundation’s growth, the time is right for me to make this transition,” McPhee said. “I look forward to my next chapter, but there is still a lot of work to be done in 2020 that I’m looking forward to, including a smooth leadership transition that will ensure continued success for the Foundation’s work moving forward.”