One of Atlanta’s more influential nonprofits, the Buckhead Coalition, has started celebration of its Silver Anniversary with an inaugural social event called the President’s Luncheon. Gathering at the St. Regis Hotel, the Coalition’s founding president, Sam Massell, singled out the Coalition’s founders and former chairpersons to express thanks for their contributions to twenty-five years of dedicated civic service.
The 18 honored were founder-chairmen Julian LeCraw, Charlie Loudermilk, and A.B. Martin; additional founders Jim Caswell, Dick Felker, Guy Millner, Claude Petty, Mark Pope, Ray Riddle, and George Rohrig, plus chairpersons Niles Bolton, Jim Edenfield, Sam Friedman, Jim Miller, Sonny Morris, Earl Shell, Alana Shepherd, and Dave Stockert. Remembered posthumously were founders Justice Martin, Harry Norman, and Mack Taylor.
Massell acknowledged that the power of the organization’s success was there assembled, and thanked each for bringing the Coalition to fruition. As evidence of the progress over the years, he distributed an advance copy of a new booklet being published by the Coalition which lists samples of initiatives undertaken during the years since incorporation in 1988, totaling roughly 180 different achievements. Each of the Founders and Chairpersons were also given an engraved silver pocketknife memento of their involvement.
The luncheon was hosted by one of the Coalition’s new members, Doug McMahon, Managing Partner of the St. Regis, on behalf of Tavistock Group as its owner. When the Coalition holds its annual meeting at the end of January, other activities to celebrate their anniversary will be unfolded.
Extracts from the 1988 – 2013 Anniversary Booklet include:
· It was the major lobbying effort to successfully convince the Atlanta City Council to vote to approve the construction of the Georgia 400 limited-access highway through Buckhead, connecting I-285 on the north to I-85 on the south, providing a major economic impact of population and commercial growth;
· It was the only arrangement in the country, outside of college campuses and interstate highways, to place a network of (two-dozen) free-standing 911 emergency telephones which were for a densely populated nightlife area to reduce crime;
· It raised, from its members only, close to $400,000 for the renovation of the Atlanta International School, and a like amount toward construction of the Carl Sanders Buckhead YMCA;
· It paid $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a murderer, which was the highest reward ever paid in the state of Georgia;
· It was the first organization in the U.S. to place (five-dozen) Automated External Defibrillators where people congregate - - churches, hotels, office buildings, etc. - - rather than on ambulances which couldn’t get to the victim in time through urban traffic;
· It successfully lobbied the Metropolitan Area Rapid Transit Authority to operate a daily bus - - The Peach - - between Buckhead, Midtown, and Downtown, the first time in thirty-three years a patron could travel this route without having to make a transfer;
· It negotiated with Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed the construction of the missing north/south ramp between GA 400 and I-85 to improve the flow of highway traffic and reduce surface street congestion;
· It publishes a major annual community directory - - the Buckhead Guidebook - - now in its eighteenth year, with eight awards and ad revenue contributions going to local nonprofits totaling $110,500, to-date;
· It created the Buckhead Community Improvement District which has raised over $38-million from self-imposed member properties, plus State and Federal grants for the Peachtree Boulevard project and other traffic-related improvements; and
· It purchased two full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal to market Buckhead’s overbuilt office properties when the great recession hit.