The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation is an independent foundation based in Atlanta. Its mission is “to promote positive change in people’s lives and to build and enhance the communities in which they live.” Trustees of the foundation include Arthur Blank, one of the founders of the Home Depot and the head of AMB Group, LLC (which owns the Atlanta Falcons, the Georgia Force, and the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Montana), as well as his wife, Stephanie, and adult children, Danielle, Dena, and Kenny Blank. The foundation focuses its giving on geographic areas where the Blanks live or have roots: Atlanta, Maricopa County in Arizona, and Beaufort County in South Carolina. The Blanks also support two affiliated foundations, the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation and the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch Fund, which serves Montana.
The Blank Foundation was created in 1995 by Arthur Blank in order to share with his family both his civic values and the joy of giving. The foundation’s initial focus was youth development, and it supported activities in the areas of culture and the arts, education enhancement, environmental awareness, and sports and fitness. The foundation also supported programs that strengthened the capacity of nonprofit organizations to deliver services for youth. By 2002 the foundation had awarded more than $100 million in grants. That same year, the foundation underwent a strategic-planning process, both to evaluate the impact of the grants it had made and to clarify the areas in which it would make future grants. Emerging from the strategic-planning process, the foundation determined to narrow its focus, becoming more deeply involved in certain areas and working toward meeting its defined goals for effecting change.
Current giving by the foundation falls into two thematic areas, each of which covers two giving initiatives. Fostering Opportunity, one thematic area, includes the two giving initiatives Better Beginnings, which targets children between birth and five years of age, and Pathways to Success, which aims at increasing access to postsecondary education for teens. The other thematic area, called Enhancing Quality of Life, includes the giving initiatives Inspiring Spaces, which supports greenspace acquisition and the development of parks, and the Art of Change, which underwrites arts programming, including the campaign to build a new hall for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
The Blank Foundation works out of a “family office” on Howell Mill Road in Atlanta, which is also home to the administrative offices for Arthur M. Blank, LLC. Because of their commitment to environmental preservation, the Blanks envisioned an office facility that would minimize environmental impact. The facility, which opened in 2004, received gold certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the United States Green Building Council. It was the first building in Georgia to receive this certification and the first office building of its type in the Southeast. Features include the use of recycled building materials, Xeriscaping (a form of landscaping that conserves water), and maximum energy efficiency.