Our goal all along has been for Mercedes-Benz Stadium to become a destination site for sports and entertainment guests
from all over the world. We not only want Mercedes-Benz Stadium to become a landmark for the city of Atlanta and the
state of Georgia, we want it to be a game changer when it comes to stadium design and the guest experience inside the
building where friends and families can come together and create special memories.
Since its inception in 1995, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has granted more than
$400 million to charitable organizations, with approximately two-thirds of the total focused on
metro Atlanta, including the Historic Westside neighborhoods of Vine City, English Avenue, and
In 2013, Blank publicly committed to making further significant investments in these
communities by creating the Westside Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, which invests in catalytic
projects that ignite positive change and improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods
surrounding Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The foundation has pledged $30 million to contribute to
large-scale transformational projects that result in lasting impact for community residents.
In 2014, Blank’s foundation launched its first major project, Westside Works, a long-term
neighborhood-based program focused on creating job training and employment opportunities for
residents. Westside Works placed nearly 200 men and women in living wage jobs in construction,
health care, culinary arts and auto technician sectors during its first 12 months of operation.
“We’ve been committed to the Westside neighborhoods for many years,” Blank noted. “Building
a new stadium is the relatively easy part of our overall project in that area; the larger challenge is
in having a positive and meaningful impact on the surrounding communities in the process. My
family, along with the Falcons, feels a sense of responsibility to be part of that positive change.”
Community engagement is a priority for the Falcons, as well. The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation
invests in innovative approaches to increase time kids spend in physical activity and to give more
children access to healthy foods. Since 2002, the foundation has awarded more than $20 million in
grants to nonprofit organizations serving children across Georgia. In partnership with Good Sports,
the foundation also has donated over $1,380,000 worth of sports equipment to 325 organizations
across 110 counties in Georgia, expanding opportunities for 114,000 youth to be physically active.
As a leader in the Georgia Shape initiative, the youth foundation is helping Georgia’s physical
educators assess over 1 million students annually with the Cooper Institute’s Fitnessgram
assessment. We are working hard to close the physical fitness (aerobic capacity) gender gap
across the state by identifying and creating innovative physical activity programming before,
during and after school. To date, we have reached over 800,000 students and are looking forward
to reaching many more in the 2019-20 school year.
In addition, Atlanta Falcons players, coaches, cheerleaders, associates and their spouses
remain among the most active community citizens in the NFL, contributing an average of
3,000 hours of their collective time each season. Much of this time is spent participating in
Atlanta Falcons community relations programs and initiatives that support a variety of issues
and activities, including health and fitness, breast cancer awareness, combating hunger, the
development of youth/prep football, Salute to Service and outreach in underserved communities.
With Blank part of a select group of owners that lead the NFL’s Social Justice Initiative working
group, the Atlanta Falcons have strived to be among the league’s leaders in social justice action.
Beginning in the spring of 2018, a player-led Social Justice Committee developed a plan for reform
at the local level and took immediate action, creating a calendar of events that made an impact on
the local community. The group identified three pillars for making a difference in the community:
Criminal Justice Reform, Police/Community Relations and Education and Economic Advancement.
In addition to a number of events throughout the community the following year, the Arthur
M. Blank Family Foundation approved $500,000 for grants to match player contributions that
support social justice work in 2019.
“It’s important that everyone in our family of businesses understands our collective
responsibility to contribute to the communities in which we all live and work,” Blank stressed.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
A native of Sunnyside, N.Y., Blank attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, where
he competed on the football, baseball and track teams. He received his Bachelor of Science
degree in business administration with distinction from Babson College, where he was active
in a variety of extracurricular activities. Blank co-founded The Home Depot in 1978 and retired
from the company as co-chairman in 2001. At the time of his retirement, The Home Depot was
a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and one of Fortune Magazine’s “Global Most
Admired Companies.” During Blank’s last year as CEO of the company, The Home Depot ranked
first in social responsibility in an annual survey conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc.
Blank is recognized throughout the country for his personal and professional achievements.
In 2012, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Georgia. In 2011,
he was the recipient of the Freeing Voices, Changing Lives Award from the American Institute for
Stuttering, and in 2010, he was recognized by the Council for Quality Growth for his philanthropic
endeavors as well as his significant contributions to economic development and quality of life. In
2006, he was named a Distinguished American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, which
annually recognizes an individual who has utilized his or her talents to attain great success in
business, private life or public service.
Also, in 2006, Blank was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame and
was awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Furman University. In 2005, he was
named National Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young. In 2003, for the second time in three
years, Blank was named Georgia’s Most Respected CEO by Georgia Trend Magazine, and in 2002,
he was inducted into Georgia State University’s Business Hall of Fame. The Georgia Army National
Guard Infantry Regiment appointed Blank as an honorary commander in July 2016. Individuals
are selected as honorary commanders because of their position or influence in the community,
and their ability to foster awareness and public support for the military and its service members.
In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the NFL’s Salute to Service winners were all members of the Atlanta
Falcons, reflective of the owner and team’s commitment to giving 3 back to America’s armed
forces and their families.
Blank serves on the board of trustees of The Carter Center, Inc., and The Cooper Institute.
Arthur is the father of six children and has six grandchildren. A strong believer in work-life
balance, Blank makes time daily for physical activity and spending time with family.
ATLANTA FALCONS YEARBOOK 2019