ATLANTA, Jan. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation today announced the appointment of Frank A. Fernandez as Vice President – Community Development. The appointment is effective February 3.
In this newly-created position, Fernandez will be the point person for the Foundation's role in implementing its Westside Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, which is designed to contribute to transformational community development of Atlanta's Vine City, English Avenue, Castleberry Hill and other contiguous neighborhoods. The Blank Foundation's initial $15 million commitment to the fund will be matched with an additional $15 million committed to the neighborhoods by Invest Atlanta through its Westside Tax Allocation District, along with funds leveraged from other public and private contributors. The new Atlanta stadium, which will be home of the Falcons beginning in 2017, served as a catalyst for the creation of this foundation fund.
"Frank has great passion for his work, along with a compelling combination of idealism and practical orientation," Blank Foundation Chairman Arthur Blank said. "He has a great understanding and regard for the human elements of neighborhood revitalization and a track record of success with complex community projects. We look forward to Frank's leadership of a project that is very important to our foundation, the Falcons and my family."
Fernandez joins the Blank Foundation after nearly eight years as executive director at Green Doors, a non-profit organization in Austin, TX, focused on connecting vulnerable individuals and families to greater socio-economic opportunity. During his tenure with Green Doors, in addition to overseeing the acquisition, rehabilitation and construction of affordable housing units, Fernandez led the development of new supportive services including increased access to sustainable employment. He also led, in partnership with the Austin Police Department, the transformation of Austin's Sweeney Circle block of the Pecan Springs neighborhood into a stable and thriving low-income housing, low crime community with amenities for residents including playgrounds, pocket parks, and community gathering places.
"Transforming communities requires strategic, coordinated investments in infrastructure; well-funded, proven programs focused on economic development and civic empowerment; door-to-door community engagement with individual neighbors, churches, business owners and community groups; strong public-private community partnerships; and most of all, shared leadership, passion and vision," Fernandez said. "I have spent the last 12 years doing this, and I am excited to join The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation to help lead its Neighborhood Prosperity Fund and help make this transformative change possible."
Prior to his leadership of Green Doors, Fernandez was deputy director of PeopleFund, which makes loans and provides business advisory services to small businesses and non-profits, with preference to those located in low-income areas or serving underserved populations. Before entering the civic, public policy/affairs and non-profit arenas in 2001, Fernandez was a financial analyst with Salomon Smith Barney. He earned a Master of Arts degree in public affairs from The University of Texas at Austin, and an AB degree in philosophy from Harvard University. Fernandez, his wife Tina, and children Francisco (12 years old) and Lucia (10 years old) will relocate to Atlanta.
"Frank's experience, compassion and commitment to people-focused community transformation make him a highly respected leader in the field," Blank Foundation President Penny McPhee said. "We are excited that Frank and his family have decided to make Atlanta their new home and to have someone of Frank's caliber leading the Foundation's efforts to create strong, vibrant neighborhoods for current and future residents."
The Atlanta Falcons and The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation have a long history of investing in projects that help other need, enhance neighborhoods and improve the quality of life throughout Atlanta. Since its inception in 1995, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has granted nearly $300 million to non-profit organizations, with more than $200 million of the total focused on metro Atlanta, including the Westside neighborhoods of Vine City and English Avenue.
SOURCE The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation