By Marshall A. Latimore / The Atlanta Voice
More than 1,500 Westside residents, stakeholders and nonprofit executives gathered at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to celebrate the announcement of Mayor Kasim Reed and Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who each pledged additional financial investments in Atlanta’s historic Westside neighborhoods.
Through his family foundation, Blank committed an additional $15 million, bringing the total of the Westside Neighborhood Prosperity Fund to $30 million. Likewise, on behalf of the city of Atlanta, Mayor Reed dedicated $15 million to the Bellwood Quarry Park, $1 million to move Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre to the Westside, and $1 million to Westside Works.
“I am thankful to Arthur M. Blank for his ongoing commitment to our city, and for being an exemplary partner as we work to build equity and inclusion in our Westside neighborhoods,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “Arthur has now pledged $30 million to the Westside Neighborhood Prosperity Fund—a figure which will allow partner groups to continue their work to transform the Westside stadium neighborhoods with long-term residents.
“The City of Atlanta is proud to make its own commitment to the new Westside Reservoir Park, which will be the largest new park in the entire city and an additional $1 million each to the arts and Westside Works,” Reed continued. “Now is the time for our city’s corporate and philanthropic leaders to join us and make their own commitment to the Westside as we make long-term, transformational change.”
Since 2014, the Blank Foundation has distributed more than $12 million of its initial $15 million Westside Neighborhood Prosperity Fund commitment in areas focused on building human capital through workforce development, housing, education, health, entrepreneurship, and youth leadership. An additional $7 million has been invested in Westside initiatives through other foundation programming.
“Real, impactful change is happening in Atlanta’s historic Westside communities because of the passion and trust expressed by residents, the belief in an inclusive transformation from corporate partners and the city of Atlanta, and the dedication by Westside-based nonprofits to serve those facing some of the toughest of circumstances,” Blank said. “We know there is more to be done, and our family foundation is unreservedly committed to the people and place of Atlanta’s historic Westside.”