Blank Family Foundation Makes $2.5 Million Contribution to Center for Civil and Human Rights

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    Atlanta’s National Center for Civil and Human Rights, which is scheduled to open in May 2014, is getting a big donation from the charity of Falcon’s owner Arthur Blank.

    The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation had signed up to give the center $1 million, but will reportedly up its donation to more than double that amount, according to Doug Shipman, executive director of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

    “The Arthur Blank Foundation has been a supporter of ours previously and committed a million dollars to the project and they recently increased their overall commitment to $2.5 million,” Shipman told Atlanta’s WABE.

    Shipman also says that the civil rights wing within the exhibitions of the center will be named by Blank’s charity, something he says the center is “just thrilled” about.

    Penelope McPhee, the president and trustee of the Blank Family Foundation, told the station the values of the center will be an important part of history and Atlanta’s civil rights legacy.

    “The Blank Family Foundation’s name is not on very many institutions, so it really wants to be associated with an important institution that can really make a difference in people’s lives.”

    Construction of the center is currently underway in downtown Atlanta.

    The Coca-Cola Company donated the 2.5 acres of land where the center will be housed, adjacent to Centennial Olympic Park and steps away from the Georgia Aquarium.

    The National Center for Civil and Human Rights previously got a $250,000 donation from Enterprise Holdings Foundation. The Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the company that operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands.

    This latest rounds of donations comes at a critical time for the Center as it prepares for actual construction of its facilities at Pemberton Place this month. The three-story building will include a gallery for the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection (King Papers), as well as the civil and human rights exhibitions.

    The Arthur Blank Family Foundation announced last week that it would be donating $15 million for projects aimed at boosting English Avenue, Vine City, Castleberry Hill and other neighborhoods as part of a deal for a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons.

    Also included in the deal, the Falcons will be receiving $200 million in bonds from the City of Atlanta’s hotel-motel tax collection fund and potentially more, depending on the calue of the 39.3 percent of every 7 cents collected for the tax, according to terms of the agreement announced by Blank and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. That deal has not yet been voted on by the Atlanta City Council.

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