For Arthur Blank, Big Gifts Are Personal

For Arthur Blank, Big Gifts Are Personal

Blank's $200 million dollar gift is believed to be the largest gift to a free-standing children’s hospital.

Arthur Blank is committed to giving away at least half of his $6 billion personal fortune during his lifetime. He’s pictured here with CHOA’s mascots Hope and Will.
Arthur Blank is committed to giving away at least half of his $6 billion personal fortune during his lifetime. He’s pictured here with CHOA’s mascots Hope and Will.

When Arthur Blank announced Oct. 12 he was giving Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta $200 million for its new hospital and medical center, it was believed the largest amount given to a free-standing children’s hospital in the country.

For the medical nonprofit, the gift has boosted what is said to be the largest healthcare project in Georgia’s history, a 1.5 million-square-foot hospital expected to be the state’s most advanced facility for pediatric transplant services, cardiac care and cancer treatment when it opens in 2025.

The immense gift was given with a strong sense of gratitude by Blank, a feeling he described to the AJT as being close to home.

“Recently my granddaughter needed a procedure on her heart. When my daughter and son-in-law took her to New York to see one of the most renowned pediatric cardiology groups in the world, they said, ‘Do this in Atlanta, you won’t get anything better than you will right there.’”

The operation was done at CHOA and according to a thankful grandfather was a success. After raising six children in his own family, he’s had considerable personal experience with the hospital.

“Children represent our aspirations and our hope for the future, and to know that they are being taken care of in a world-class system full of love is a tribute to the incredible work of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.”

Donna Hyland, CEO of CHOA, once worked with Blank at Home Depot headquarters. Blank co-founded The Home Depot. Hyland expressed her organization’s appreciation when the gift was announced.

“Today’s milestone marks an important step in making this hospital a reality, which will ensure we can meet the growing patient demand, bring hope to families and provide access to the unique specialized care offered by Children’s. We are beyond grateful to Arthur and his family foundation for this generous donation.”

On Oct. 19, just a week after the large gift in Atlanta, Blank announced another major grant with a considerable amount of personal meaning. He is giving $20 million to the University of Texas at Austin to establish the Arthur M. Blank Center for Stuttering Education and Research. In his recently published book “Good Company,” featured Monday at the Book Festival of the MJCCA, Blank describes how he grew up “maliciously picked on for stuttering.” It runs in the family, he told the AJT.

On Oct. 19, Blank donated $20 million to the University of Texas at Austin. He is pictured here with Dr. Courtney Byrd.

“Stuttering has genetically been part of my family as long as I know. My uncle stuttered, my older brother has a stutter, one of my sons has a stutter and I stutter. I got a lot of encouragement from my mother, who said, ‘What you have to say is important, say it, and people will wait to hear it.’”

People soon learned that when Arthur Blank spoke he did have much that was important to say. His success as one of the founders of Home Depot has helped him amass a personal fortune, which is now estimated by Forbes magazine at over $6 billion. Today he owns the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United Soccer team, Atlanta’s 70,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the nationwide chain of PGA Tour sporting goods stores, and extensive ranch land acreage in Montana.

In his new book, Blank notes that “we all have our limitations, but we can’t let those things define who we are or hinder us from pursuing our purpose in life.”
His success and how he’s used it has won him the admiration of his good friend Ed Mendel, a prominent Atlanta philanthropist in his own right.

“Few people hit a financial grand slam. He’s hit four or five grand slams. What is more remarkable is that he’s done it with a sense of generosity. He understands the importance of giving back: it’s not how much money he makes but what he does with it for others.”

All three of the principal founders of Home Depot have made major commitments to health care. Bernie Marcus has donated hundred of millions in gifts to build the Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center at Grady Hospital, a new Piedmont Hospital building and ongoing support for the Marcus Autism Center. Kenneth Langone, early financial backer of the Home Depot, has made a similar commitment to the New York University Medical Center and recently announced a $100 million gift to ensure that doctors at NYU’s medical school have their entire medical education underwritten.

All three Home Depot co-founders have made a commitment to give away at least half of their immense fortunes during their lifetime and much of the rest to be donated to their personal charitable foundations.

The 19-story Arthur M Blank Hospital is part of a 78-acre children’s health care center.

Blank writes in his book that he is “humbled and grateful” for the success that he has enjoyed. He added, “When I think about my grandparents coming to this country with nothing but the clothes on their back, I’m inspired.”

read more: