Piedmont Park Conservancy Welcomes New Board Members

ATLANTA, GA, January 16, 2020. The Piedmont Park Conservancy welcomes three new members to their board of directors: Ambrish Baisiwala, CEO & Chairman of Portman Holdings; Douglas A.P. Hamilton, Co-Founder/Managing Partner of Hamilton Investment; and Pat Upshaw-Monteith, CEO of Leadership Atlanta.

Ambrish Baisiwala
CEO & Chairman, Portman Holdings

Ambrish brings over 26 years of global professional experience and strong corporate strategy and property development skills.

Prior to joining Portman, he was Development Director of ALDAR Properties PJSC in Abu Dhabi, UAE, where he was responsible for a development portfolio in excess of $20 billion. Earlier in his career, he was Development Manager for the Greater Union Organization for the Middle East and India. Ambrish has worked in the USA, China, India, the Middle East, South East Asia and Australia, across a broad spectrum of property types & responsibilities.

Mr. Baisiwala has a Bachelor of Commerce (Honors) degree from the University of Rajasthan, India, and an MBA from the Melbourne Business School, Australia. He is active in the community and participates on the boards of Central Atlanta Progress, Midtown Alliance, Atlanta Police Foundation, Leadership Atlanta, and the Atlanta Beltline Partnership.

 

Douglas A.P. Hamilton
Co-Founder/Managing Partner, Hamilton Investment

Doug spent the first 11 years of his career as an operating company executive rising through sales and marketing roles to become the CEO of a diversified manufacturing company. Over the last 35 years, he has made more than 50 investments ranging from start-ups to leveraged buyouts in both the US and Europe.

Doug grew up in Milwaukee Wisconsin & received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of North Carolina and completed the PMD graduate program at the Harvard Business School.  He currently lives in Ansley Park with his wife Judy and has previously lived Geneva, London, New York City, and New Preston, Ct.

Doug has served on the following philanthropic boards: Alumni board University School of Milwaukee, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, SE US Selection board Fulbright Scholarship, Vice chair Museum of the City of New York, Cooper Union College NYC and the Association Board New Milford Hospital, Ct.

 

Pat Upshaw-Monteith
CEO of Leadership Atlanta

Pat Upshaw-Monteith has been with Leadership Atlanta for 27 years and served as its CEO for 14 years.  She has actively participated in the present and future growth of Atlanta by imparting to new generations of leaders the legacy of values that have traditionally been central to Metro Atlanta’s success.

Prior to heading up Leadership Atlanta, Pat served as Associate General Manager of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for 13 years where she produced the Orchestra’s successful “Pops” series at Chastain Park and directed their educational programs including the ASO’s Youth Orchestra.

Pat serves on the Board of Commissioners of DeKalb County, has served on the MARTA board and the DeKalb County Dept. of Family & Children Services (DFACS).  She is appointed to the Board of the Rotary Club of Atlanta and on the boards of the International Women’s Forum (IWF), Private Bank of Buckhead and Salvation Army.  In addition, she serves on the Metro Atlanta Chamber Board of Directors, the Grady Foundation Board of Visitors, the University of Georgia’s Board of Visitors and Emory University’s Center for Ethics Board.  She has been widely honored for her achievements and was featured in the edition of Who’s Who in Black Atlanta, recognized as an Unsung Hero by the Coalition of 100 Black Women, and inducted into the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers in 1999.

Ms. Upshaw-Monteith earned a Master’s degree from Bowling Green State University and a bachelor’s degree from Albany State University.

 

The Conservancy looks forward to building upon their vast knowledge and individual skill sets in order to advance its mission to enhance and preserve Piedmont Park and all of its natural beauty.

 

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The Piedmont Park Conservancy is a member and donor funded nonprofit organization working in partnership with the City of Atlanta to maintain and enhance historic Piedmont Park. Founded in 1989, the Conservancy raises over $3 million each year to enhance and maintain the park. Today, the Conservancy manages over 90% of the overall maintenance and security of Piedmont Park.

Contact: Amy Han Risher
Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations
Piedmont Park Conservancy
E: arisher@piedmontpark.org
P: (404) 480-3758

Aerial View Active Oval

The Piedmont Park Conservancy Receives $100,000 Grant from The Home Depot Foundation

The Home Depot Foundation renews its commitment to Piedmont Park and the Active Oval

ATLANTA, GA, December 31, 2019 – This December, the Piedmont Park Conservancy received a $100,000 grant from The Home Depot Foundation (THDF), a renewal of a 16 year commitment to Piedmont Park. THDF renewed its support of the Active Oval, a vast landscape designed to bring recreation and people together through the power of play.

In addition to being the one of the oldest landmarks in Piedmont Park, the Active Oval is one of the most frequented areas with over 350,000 users annually. On any given day, you can find individuals, their families and intramural sports teams engaging in healthy and active play.

The Active Oval at Piedmont Park is currently managed by one landscaper, whose job ranges from turf and drainage management to general repairs. As the only full-time landscaper responsible for all aspects of care within this area, duties include mulching, mowing, weeding, pruning, watering- all types of clean-up, from garbage to keeping the pathways clean and ensuring the equipment located in the area is in good condition. Funding from THDF supports the upkeep of the area and ensures the enhancement of quality of life for its users.

“The Home Depot Foundation is one of the Conservancy’s longest standing and most generous supporters,” says Mark Banta. “Between their skilled team members volunteering in Piedmont Park to financial support and access to critical goods and services, the Foundation is an invaluable partner.”

The Home Depot Foundation partners with national and local nonprofit organizations across the United States to make a difference in the lives of our country’s heroes and to support communities in need. The Piedmont Park Conservancy is a recipient of THDF Hometown Giving Program for Outdoor Spaces.

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The Piedmont Park Conservancy is a member and donor funded nonprofit working in partnership with the City of Atlanta to maintain and enhance historic Piedmont Park. Founded in 1989, the Conservancy raises over $3 million each year to enhance and maintain the park. Today, the Conservancy manages over 90% of the overall maintenance and security of Piedmont Park.

Contact: Amy Han Risher
Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations
Piedmont Park Conservancy
E: arisher@piedmontpark.org
P: (404) 480-3758

 

Aerial View Active Oval

Active Oval in Piedmont Park

 

Landscapers with Home Depot Bags

The Home Depot Foundation Provides Gift Cards to the Piedmont Park Conservancy as Part of the Grant

Honoring the Brown Thrasher: Chalk Art Festival 2019

Have you ever walked through Piedmont Park and stopped for a moment to close your eyes and listen to the birds sing?

Piedmont Park is home to countless birds and other wildlife. No matter what is happening on the grounds of Piedmont Park, there are little creatures with big stories fluttering through the treetops.

In honor of Georgia Grows Native for Birds month in September, the Piedmont Park Conservancy is participating in the Atlanta Audubon Society Chalk Art Festival and highlighting the Brown Thrasher, a common resident of Piedmont Park.

The Brown Thrasher, the state bird of Georgia, is a relatively large songbird that can be identified by their brown feathers, yellow eyes, curved beak, and bold black and white patterns. Brown Thrashers nest in dense wooded areas such as forests, and are the only species of Thrasher found east of Texas. With an omnivorous diet, they are ground foragers and primarily survive on fruits (such as holly berries), seeds, and nuts.

 

Photo credit: Kevin Gaston

The Piedmont Park Conservancy’s design will feature native plants used by Brown Thrashers for food and habitat by illustrating a “bird’s eye view” of the native plants that attract them; a close up of the Brown Thrasher’s eye; and inside the eye will be those native plants such as Holly, Elderberry, Juniper, Dogwood and Serviceberry.

Appreciation goes to our artists: Dana Buskovitz, Krystal Collier, Hannah Hanssens-Reed, and Kaycee Walker!

Please visit the Conservancy’s piece, and all of the art at the Atlanta Audubon Society’s Chalk Art Festival on Sunday, September 29. Chalking occurs from 1-5pm. Voting and awards is from 5-6pm. The festival is located at the Piedmont Commons of Piedmont Park. This location is at the very north end of Piedmont Park.

Party for Piedmont Park: Over $125,000 Raised

On Thursday, September 5, the Piedmont Park Conservancy cheered to 30 years at the Party for Piedmont Park! In the last 30 years, the Piedmont Park Conservancy has invested over $66 million into Piedmont Park, and continues to raise over $3.5 million each year to sustain the maintenance and programming of beautiful Piedmont Park. With more than 700 people in attendance, the Piedmont Park Conservancy was able to raise more than $125,000 for Piedmont Park. 

Guests arrived at Greystone, a gorgeous venue hall with original granite walls overlooking the pool and Lake Clara Meer. Attendees were treated to an open bar, restaurant tastings from Atlanta’s premier spots, a silent auction and an opportunity to snap a picture at the photo booth. Everyone danced through the decades with DJ BIGG H and Ricardo Spicer of Amp’d Entertainment. Finally, attendees shared their stories to be illustrated at a live drawing by The Sketch Effect.

Missed the party? You can still support by donating today!

Join us for our next social fundraiser, the Piedmont Park Beer Garden on Thursday, October 3, 2019.

Thank you to our host committee for planning and supporting an awesome event!

Left to Right: Zak de Leon, Stefanie Agusta, Jeffrey Glover, Carrie Furman, Calvin O’Keeffe, Celia O-Keeffe, Byron Kirkpatrick, Erin Croom, Tahmida Shamsuddin, Arvind Reddy, Katherine Johnson, Justin Wong, Ashley Blackwell, Jenna Wong, Alex Ginsberg

Photo Credit: Rick Moll Photography

Celebrating 15 Years of Fresh Produce at Green Market

Imagine, it’s a beautiful Saturday morning in April where the trees blossom and the birds sing. On this day, the Piedmont Park Conservancy introduces the Green Market to the public as part of its Centennial Celebration. Crowds of people stare in amazement as they await the unveiling. This is the start of something new.

We are proud to commemorate 15 years of Green Market at Piedmont Park. The Conservancy first introduced the Green Market on April 17, 2004 in partnership with the City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs. As a key sponsor and supporter of the program, Kaiser Permanente greatly contributed to the Green Market’s success over the years. Since its debut, the program has influenced the diet and lifestyle of millions of visitors in the heart of Atlanta. 

In the beginning, the Green Market featured high quality, locally-grown produce, prepared goods, flowers, herbs and other specialty items. The program included chef demonstrations designed to showcase how fresh produce could be prepared at home and live music from local bands as entertainment. Now, the Green Market has board-certified dietitians who guide guests in their path of health and nutrition while utilizing market produce. Also, there is a kid-friendly activity center for guests with small children.

 “Green Market gives walkable access to local fresh produce, meat, baked goods and more. How amazing is it to walk out your door on a Saturday morning and do your shopping in one location?!” said Green Market Manager Mary Yetter.

Over the past decade, the staff at the Conservancy have played an integral part in the development of the Green Market. The program has been voted one of the top five farmer’s markets in Atlanta by Access Atlanta, and is currently available on Saturdays, March 30 – November from 9am to 1pm at 12th Street entrance.

In response to this momentous occasion, the Conservancy is hosting a party to celebrate Green Market’s 15th anniversary. Save the date for September 21, 2019.

This blog is in memory of Carrie Jennison, who helped establish the Green Market.

Author: Amari Woods

Assisting in Emergencies: Piedmont Park Conservancy Hosts Staff CPR Training and Installs AED Devices

On an early spring day, a Park visitor was playing soccer on the Active Oval when he suddenly fell to the ground. He was experiencing a major heart attack at just over 30 years old. Luckily, his friends were medical professionals and thought to run to the Tennis Center for help. They found an automated external defibrillator (AED) device which they used to keep his heart beating while they waited for an ambulance.

With over 78,000 athletes coming to Piedmont Park every year, things happen. Medical emergencies, on the other hand, are few and far between. The incident prompted the Conservancy staff to explore how they could respond to similar situations while working in the Park.

The Piedmont Park Conservancy was accepted into the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s 2018 Fall Extra Wish catalogue, where two generous donors provided the funding for three new AED devices. Additionally, the Conservancy decided to host two CPR training courses for the staff. The inclusion of the extra AED devices and staff training empowers the Piedmont Park Conservancy to provide assistance in a situation that may arise during their daily operations.

As of May 2019, over 80% of the Piedmont Park Conservancy staff has been trained on how to perform CPR and use an AED device. Mark Banta, President and CEO of the Conservancy, said of the training, “While there are no guarantees in life, the survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest with the use of an AED device increases to about 40% or higher as opposed to 5%. We’re thrilled to have received this equipment and training in an attempt to improve the chances of survival.”

We hope to continue providing a gathering place for all Atlantans because we believe that a healthy and sustainable Park greatly contributes to a healthy and sustainable Atlanta.

Reminder: Always call 911 in case of emergency. After calling 911, if you see a Piedmont Park Conservancy staff member during working hours, please notify them of your emergency.

Six Dogs Compete in Piedmont Park Dog of the Year Finals

Sookie, 2-year-old Samoyed, crowned winner

The contest took place in Piedmont Park’s small dog park and the finalists were all visibly excited to showcase their abilities. The doggos were to be judged on their behavior and charisma. While the finalists prepared for their routines, attendees enjoyed the wide array of goodies available including free King of Pops. As the humans mingled and the dogs played with the tennis balls scattered across the park, anticipation mounted for which pup would become Piedmont Park’s Dog of the Year.

At 11 a.m. the finalists lined up behind the stage, eager to strut their stuff. One by one, the dogs crossed the stage to cheers and hollers from the growing crowd for a pooch parade. After the parade, the finalists went into their individual performances.

Charlie, a golden doodle from Chamblee, showed off his sitting and walking skills. A 5-year-old Siberian husky named Azlan sang along to his owner’s harmonica and Bear, a 1-year-old Australian and German shepherd mix demonstrated his handshake skills. Sookie the Samoyed surprised the crowd by jumping through a hula hoop to catch her favorite toy—a tennis ball. Showcasing her expert running skills, Barefoot, an 18-month-old Siberian husky sprinted across the park. Finishing out the routines was Boston, a golden retriever who shook paws with his owner.

Ponce, our honorary judge and the winner of last year’s contest joined judges from Bark ATL, Dancing Dogs Yoga, and the Piedmont Park Conservancy to make final deliberations. After a short wait, Sookie was announced as the winner!

Sookie swept the judges off their feet with her hula hoop performance and charming charisma. We are so excited to have her as our Dog of the Year and look forward to having her help in promoting the Piedmont Park Conservancy’s vital role in enhancing one of the best places in Atlanta for pups—the Piedmont Park dog parks. For more information on our dog-friendly events and to support the dog parks visit: piedmontpark.org/dogparks

Photo Credit: OldSpeak Creative

 

Guest Post by Aliya Seymour

Piedmont Park Aquatic Center Celebrates 10 Year Restoration Anniversary

Northside Hospital Sponsorship Enhances Pool Experience

The Piedmont Park Conservancy is celebrating the Aquatic Center and Pool’s 10 year anniversary of its restoration in 2008! The past decade has been filled with fun and excitement at the pool, serving over 50,000 visitors each year.

The pool restoration added features: a children’s splash area, accessible beach entry, a current channel, water jets, four lap lanes, large pool deck, shade arbor, grassy area, and new showers and changing rooms. The pool also offers a concession stand for drinks and snacks in the hot summer sun. The massive restoration allowed the pool to flourish into the perfect summer getaway for local Atlantans.

In celebration of its 10 year restoration anniversary, Northside Hospital has committed to a yearlong sponsorship to further enhance Piedmont Park’s Aquatic Center.

“Piedmont Park is one of the Atlanta Region’s greatest assets, and one of the reasons Northside Hospital sought out this partnership. We believe that urban greenspace is a key part of healthy lifestyles. So for our employees, our patients, and their families, connecting Northside to Piedmont Park makes sense.

Our support of the Aquatic Center is especially important to us, as it provides awareness of both swimming and skin safety during the warm months. Northside is excited to expand our outreach in Midtown Atlanta, where many of our patients live and work. Piedmont Park, with its proximity to the Beltline and other city parks, is experiencing a surge in popularity – Northside is proud to join with them.”

– Lee Echols, VP of Marketing and Communications, Northside Hospital

With the new sponsorship, Northside Hospital will be collaborating with the Piedmont Park Conservancy to use their mascot – Sammy the Stork – to interact and engage with children and families about health, fitness and other wellness facts and fun.

Learn more about the pool and how you can join us this summer! – https://www.piedmontpark.org/things-to-do/aquatics-pool/

Green Market is So Close We Can Taste It!

The Piedmont Park Conservancy is making the final arrangements for 2018’s Green Market. March 24th is quickly approaching, and the Conservancy is excited to get this year started right! With over 40 vendors, Green Market will be the place to be on Saturday mornings.

You can look forward to walking into Piedmont Park on a beautiful spring morning and experiencing live music, occasional chef demonstrations and all the best local products to choose from! We can look forward to seeing all the smiles and conversation that will happen at Green Market!

The hand-picked vendors provide Atlantans with the highest quality products in the heart of the city including: fruits, vegetables, meat, cheeses, pastas and more. Food won’t be the only product available. There will also be pet supplies, bath and body products, handmade goods, and candles. For those who come hungry, there are prepared food and beverage options including baked goods, popsicles, food trucks, and other tasty eats.

For families, there is a child friendly activity area and the nearby Noguchi Playscapes for little ones to play and engage with other children. For dog owners or fans, Green Market is a well-known activity for on-leash dog visitors. Stop by the dog vendors, grab a coffee and some food, and then head over to our off-leash Dog Parks.

Find the list of our vendors, musicians and other information at our website: piedmontpark.org/green-market

Guest Post by Alexandra Anton

Celebrating 20 Years: Marti Kelefas

On February 12, Marti Kelefas reached her 20 year anniversary working with the Piedmont Park Conservancy. Marti, the Executive Assistant, has been with the Conservancy since its beginning years. She has experienced an immense amount of change since she began. From dozens of renovations and capital improvements to organizational growth and various leaders, Marti has been the constant through it all.

Today, Marti is the connector between Board of Directors, the CEO/President and the rest of the organization’s staff. She always has an open chair available to those who need to “talk things out” or want to share their stories.

Marti is also known for her wealth of knowledge of the Conservancy and Piedmont Park’s past. Not only does she know the history of the Park, but she shares the stories with a level of passion and enthusiasm that can only sourced from the soul. They say that history is whatever people say it is. With Marti’s true dedication and love for Piedmont Park and the Conservancy, we are honored to have her as our storyteller.

Marti Kelefas, congratulations for reaching 20 years! The Piedmont Park Conservancy cannot thank you enough for your service.