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CAP to honor Shirley Franklin

February 9,2018

Source: Maria Saporta, Atlanta Business Chronicle (subscriber content)

At its 2018 annual meeting on March 29, Central Atlanta Progress will honor former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin with its prestigious Dan Sweat Award.

The annual breakfast meeting – the flagship event for CAP and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District – will take place at the Georgia World Congress Center at the Sidney Marcus Auditorium. The year’s breakfast will showcase a “Rediscovery of Downtown.”

Rich McKay, president and CEO of the Atlanta Falcons who is CAP’s board chairman, said Franklin has been an important player in Atlanta – both as mayor and as a private citizen.

CAP President A.J. Robinson said Franklin deserved the award for all her decades of service to the city, including her current role as chair the Center for Civil and Human Rights – a destination she championed when she was mayor.

“Shirley has been so involved on the civic scene going back to Maynard Jackson’s first term,” Robinson said. “Her whole adult life has been dedicated to making Atlanta better. She has not been afraid to take on big issues. She’s been part of building institutions, even beyond her term as mayor.”

When she was told she would be receiving the Dan Sweat Award – named for the longtime executive of CAP, Franklin said she didn’t feel deserving.

“Dan Sweat was a mentor for so many of us, including me,” said Franklin, who said Sweat took her under his wing and introduced her to many key civic leaders in Atlanta. “When Tom Cousins was just starting East Lake, Dan introduced me to East Lake. I was blown away. He really had welcoming arms for me.”

Franklin eventually joined Cousins’ efforts to revitalize East Lake, which led to her current role as executive chairman of Purpose Built Communities, a nonprofit consulting firm that seeks to replicate the East Lake model in communities across the country.

The CAP breakfast also will honor Mary Ann Hearn with the Turner Community Leadership Award.

Hearn has been a hospitality leader in downtown Atlanta for 38 years, working with the Atlanta Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and other local organizations. She currently is involved CAP and the Concierge Society of Atlanta, and she is a recipient of Where Atlanta’s Silver Plume Award for her dedication to the hospitality community.

Lastly, Grady Health System will receive the 2018 Marcus Downtown Economic Impact Award.

“We thought it was time to recognize Grady,” Robinson said. “Because Grady is a Level 1 Trauma Center, it allows us to host all these big events in downtown Atlanta. But sometimes we take Grady for granted. That’s why we are giving it the economic impact award this year.”

As McKay said, Grady’s economic impact on Atlanta “is humongous,” yet understated.

“It is really a big asset that because of its prior troubles does not get the credit it deserves for its economic contributions in downtown,” McKay said. Grady generates $1.7 billion in economic output each year.