April 21, 2017 - Atlanta - Arthur Blank hugs Mayor Kasim Reed after Reed gave a warm introduction when the team unveiled plans for the "Home Depot Backyard." 
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

Arthur Blank, Kasim Reed commit another $32M to Westside neighborhoods

The Arthur W. Blank Family Foundation and the city of Atlanta have promised to invest an additional combined $32 million in Westside neighborhoods.

Arthur Blank and Mayor Kasim Reed announced the commitments Sept. 8 during an event for 1,500 Westside residents, businesses and nonprofits at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Blank said his family foundation will contribute $15 million, bringing the Westside Neighborhood Prosperity Fund’s total to $30 million. The fund goes towards housing, education, health, entrepreneurship, workforce development and youth leadership. 

The foundation is “unreservedly committed to the people and place of Atlanta’s historic Westside,” the owner of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United said in a statement.   

MORE: The final concrete has been poured on Beltline’s Westside trail

Reed dedicated $15 million to the Bellwood Quarry Park, which will be Atlanta’s largest park and located on about 280 acres adjacent to the Beltline. 

The mayor also announced that $1 million will go towards moving Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company to the Westside. Another $1 million will go to Westside Works, a program that creates employment opportunities and job training for residents of neighborhoods such as Vine City, English Avenue and Castleberry Hill.

“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,” Reed said.

MORE: Families First expansion opens in Atlanta’s Westside (Fulton)

Days after the announcement, Blank said he would match Falcons and Atlanta United fan donations up to $1 million to organizations working to provide storm relief after Hurricane Irma’s destruction. This was in addition to a similar deal he made recently to match donations for those affected by Hurricane Harvey in Houston.  

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Channel 2's Wendy Corona reports.
Video: www.accessatlanta.com

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