Blank to receive 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award

Atlanta United Owner and Chairman Arthur Blank shakes hands with one of the Atlanta United soccer players after the ground breaking ceremony of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground in Marietta GA Tuesday 11, 2017. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank will receive the Atlanta Sports Council’s Lifetime Achievement award presented by Coca-Cola at the 2017 Atlanta Sports Awards on July 13 at the Rialto Center for the Arts.

“I’m humbled to receive this special honor from the Atlanta Sports Council and grateful for the tremendous recognition it is for our family and all that our teams have contributed to our community over the years,” Blank said. “Atlanta is a great city and it brings me a high level of satisfaction knowing that our players, coaches, associates and our family foundation have all played a small part it making it so.”

Blank, who also owns the Atlanta United soccer team of the Major League Soccer, co-founded Atlanta-based Home Depot in 1978. After 23 years, Blank retired from his role with Home Depot and shortly after solidified himself in the world of professional sports with the purchase of the Atlanta Falcons in 2002. Blank has grown the team to be a $2.1 billion franchise in just 15 years.

The Falcons made the franchise’s second appearance in the Super Bowl in February, losing to the New England Patriots 34-28 in overtime.

“Arthur is a tremendous community leader and his contributions to Atlanta extend far beyond business and sports,” said Dan Corso, president of the Atlanta Sports Council. “He has managed to positively affect the lives of so many within metro Atlanta and we look forward to celebrating his tremendous accomplishments by awarding him our Lifetime Achievement Award on July 13.”

Both in his businesses and personal life, Blank has always stressed the importance of giving back and being part of the Atlanta community. In 2013, Blank established the Westside Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, a $15 million promise to invest in real, positive transformation of Atlanta’s historic Westside neighborhoods surrounding the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Since then, roughly $10 million of the $15 million has been committed to specific Westside projects and programs, with an additional $7 million to Westside transformation from other Foundation program areas.

In 1995, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation was created to promote innovative solutions to transform the lives of youth and their families. Since its inception, the Foundation has invested more than $300 million in connected spaces, art inclusion, environmental stewardship, youth development and community revitalization for each of the Blank Family of Businesses, including the Atlanta Falcons, PGA TOUR Superstore, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch and Atlanta United.

Blank will be joining some of Atlanta’s best in receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, including most recently John Smoltz (2016), Tom Glavine (2015), Tommy Nobis (2014), Chipper Jones (2013), Dominque Wilkins (2012) and Bobby Cox (2011).

In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award Presented by Coca-Cola, winners in the following categories will be honored:

• Coach of the Year Presented by The Home Depot

• Collegiate Athlete of the Year Presented by AT&T

• High School Athlete of the Year Presented by Kia

• Professional Athlete of the Year Presented by SunTrust Sports & Entertainment

• Team of the Year Presented by PrimeSport

• Community Spirit Award Presented by Georgia Power, A Southern Company

In Other News