Children’s Healthcare names new hospital after Arthur Blank following $200M donation

FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2019 file photo, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank speaks to the media after an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Seattle Seahawks in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Credit: AP Photo/John Bazemore

Credit: AP Photo/John Bazemore

After receiving the largest donation in its history, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta announced that it will be naming its newest hospital after Falcons owner and philanthropist Arthur Blank.

The Arthur M. Blank Hospital, which will be located at North Druid Hills Road and I-85 in Brookhaven, is expected to open in 2025, Children’s Healthcare CEO Donna Hyland said. The naming decision comes after the Arthur M. Blank Foundation donated $200 million to the pediatric hospital.

Hyland said securing a donor and naming the hospital was one of the $1.5-billion project’s largest hurdles to overcome, but Blank was an obvious choice.

“When you put a name on something, it has to be really meaningful,” she said. “The Blank family and Arthur have been so involved for so many years that we just kept coming back to them.”

Blank, a co-founder of The Home Depot and the owner of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, had donated nearly $10 million to Children’s Healthcare since 2001. The recent donation is not only the largest Children’s Healthcare has received, it’s the largest one to ever go to a freestanding pediatric hospital, Hyland said.

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She said her relationship with Blank goes back before 2001. When she moved to Atlanta from her native Kentucky in the early 1980s, her first job involved donning an orange apron that had yet to become iconic.

“My first job in Atlanta when I was in my 20s was at The Home Depot, when it was a very small company,” she said. “I did not know Arthur well, but I did get the opportunity to meet him.”

However, it was Blank’s second wife, Stephanie, who really got the billionaire philanthropist involved with Children’s Healthcare, Hyland said. She has been on the organization’s board of trustees for several years.

Falcons and United players make frequent visits to the hospitals to visit children, and the Blank Foundation previously funded the Stephanie V. Blank Center for Safe and Healthy Children, which assists child abuse victims. Penny McPhee, the president of the Blank Foundation, added that Blank has entrusted his six children to the healthcare system as well.

The donation is the largest the Blank Foundation has ever made, topping the previous $50 million grant that went to his alma mater Babson College last year, McPhee said. The foundation has donated about $600 million — not including the grant to Children’s Healthcare — since its founding in 1995.

“If you’re going to make your first $200 million grant, there’s no more blue-chip organization that you could partner with," she said.

The Brookhaven hospital will include a 19-story tower with two wings and additional operating rooms, specialty beds and diagnostic equipment. There will also be space for clinical research, clinical trials and overall patient care within the 1.5 million-square-foot hospital. The 78-acre campus will also be the largest hospital for Children’s Healthcare, which currently operates three emergency hospitals.

This is a rendering of the Arthur M. Blank Hospital.

Credit: Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Credit: Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

“The infusion of funds in Children’s Healthcare empowers them to further achieve their mission to make kids better today and healthier tomorrow,” Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst said in an emailed statement. “I am proud to see this synergy at work in our own backyard.”

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Hyland said more than a fourth of the campus will consist of greenspace, which she said is important for the healing process, especially for children. She added that the coronavirus pandemic shows the immense need for the new hospital, which will feature 446 beds with the capacity to add more later.

“COVID-19 has given us all even more conviction on the importance of this facility,” she said. “I’m thankful every day that COVID-19 hasn’t affected children like it has adults, but if it had, we would’ve had such a challenge with capacity. That’s the main reason we need this facility.”

In a Monday morning news release, Blank agreed.

“It’s a great honor for me and my family to be connected to Children’s (Healthcare), and a great honor for us to be connected to a system that has dealt with research, illness and disease for most precious commodities that we have in the world, our children,” Arthur Blank said in the release. “The work they are doing right here in our backyard will make a difference forever, and that’s very meaningful to me, my family and our associates.”

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