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The Task Force for Global Health announced today the purchase of a larger headquarters in downtown Decatur at 330 W. Ponce de Leon Avenue, a building previously owned by DeKalb County.

The Task Force has acquired the building to accommodate its need for more space. Since 2014, the organization has been adding 20 positions annually. When fully renovated and occupied, the 90,000-square foot building will accommodate up to 375 staff members, more than triple The Task Force’s current staff size.

The Task Force, Georgia’s largest nonprofit, works to address large-scale health problems primarily affecting people living in poverty in developing countries. Its programs focus on the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases, increasing access to vaccines, and strengthening health systems. The organization plays major convening roles in bringing together partners to work collaboratively on health problems in 154 countries.

The purchase of the 330 W. Ponce de Leon Ave. building was made possible by a $10-million grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation and a $2-million gift from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. With these donations, The Task Force is kicking off a $24-million capital campaign for the purchase, repair, and renovation of the 330 W. Ponce de Leon Ave. facility. The organization hopes to reach its campaign goal by the end of 2017.

“We are deeply grateful to the Woodruff and Hilton Foundations, as well as DeKalb County, for supporting us in acquiring this facility,” said Task Force President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) David Ross, ScD. “Our new headquarters will give us the means to increase the impact of our existing programs, launch new programs, and recruit the best talent in global health. The building will also help fuel our region’s economic development and raise metro Atlanta’s profile as a global health center.”

The Task Force has worked closely with DeKalb County to acquire the 330 W. Ponce de Leon Ave. facility. In April 2016, the DeKalb Board of Commissioners approved the sale of the property for $12 million. The property sale closed on Dec. 15.

Larry Johnson who serves as the chair of DeKalb County’s Board of Commissioners said The Task Force’s expansion to the 330 W. Ponce de Leon Ave. facility will help fuel economic development in the county. “Their growth means hundreds of new high paying jobs and increased international visibility for the county,” he said. “I’m also excited about developing a new partnership to address health disparities in DeKalb County.”

The Task Force is exploring how it might help address high chronic disease rates in parts of DeKalb County. In addition, the organization envisions developing a new collaborative Center for Global Health at its new headquarters, where other global health nonprofits may co-locate and work with The Task Force. DeKalb County and The Task Force will share the six-story building for a period up to five years. The Task Force will initially occupy three floors and DeKalb County will lease back three floors.

The Task Force’s new headquarters is expected to help raise metro Atlanta’s visibility as a center for global health, which is a new focus of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce (MACOC). Growing the global health sector is one of MACOC’s 2017 strategic pillars.

In addition to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Task Force partners with The Carter Center, Emory University, Georgia Tech, and Georgia State University, among other local institutions. The Task Force also is a founding member of the Georgia Global Health Alliance, a consortium of organizations working to foster collaboration among global health entities in the state in order to address complex issues such as Zika virus.

“The Task Force for Global Health is helping address some of the world’s greatest health needs,” said Robert W. Woodruff Foundation President Russ Hardin. “They work in partnership with hundreds of organizations to leverage resources and expertise for an extraordinary collective impact. We are proud that one of the world’s largest and most effective nonprofits calls Decatur home.”

The Task Force receives significant in-kind contributions from pharmaceutical companies for disease control and elimination programs. In 2016 alone, Pfizer, Merck, and GSK donated $3.2 billion worth of medicines, which makes The Task Force the second largest nonprofit in the United States according to Forbes.

Much of The Task Force’s growth in recent years has been due to increases in funding from CDC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The organization expects to move into its new headquarters by fall 2017.

The Task Force recently received the $2-million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize – the world’s largest award of its kind – for its extraordinary contributions to alleviating human suffering.

The Task Force is part of the official program at the SXSW 2017 Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. In a March 11 panel discussion titled “How to End a Plague: Smartphones, Science, & Partnerships,” Task Force experts will share their approach for eliminating trachoma as a public health problem by 2020. For more information, visit http://schedule.sxsw.com/2017/events/PP61321.

For renderings of the new headquarters, click here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/u1tknp1h9009odn/AAAw-z6v4pETuhxZNdWSDYZja?dl=0.

For more information about The Task Force, or to make a donation to the capital campaign, visit http://www.taskforce.org/capital-campaign.

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