FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Arthur Blank has a long history of giving back, but on July 13, he'll be the one receiving – and it's well deserved.
Blank, the owner of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Atlanta Sports Council. The award will be presented at the 2017 Atlanta Sports Awards at Rialto Center for the Arts. Previous recipients include John Smoltz (2016), Tom Glavine (2015), Tommy Nobis (2014), Chipper Jones (2013), Dominque Wilkins (2012) and Bobby Cox (2011).
The Atlanta Sports Awards honors those who distinguish themselves from among the five million people living in Atlanta. That includes all professional sports teams, universities, junior colleges and more than 250 public and private high schools in Atlanta.
"I'm humbled to receive this special honor from the Atlanta Sports Council and grateful for the tremendous recognition it is for our family and all that our teams have contributed to our community over the years," said Blank, who is widely considered to be one of the most innovative and progressive owners in all of professional sports.
"Atlanta is a great city and it brings me a high level of satisfaction knowing that our players, coaches, associates and our family foundation have all played a small part in making it so."
Blank, who co-founded The Home Depot in 1978 and retired from the company as co-chairman in 2001, purchased the Falcons in 2002. Since then the team has made the playoffs seven times, including the franchise's second Super Bowl appearance in February.
In 2014, Blank and the Falcons broke ground on Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta's historic Westside. The stadium – which is considered to be an engineering marvel with its one-of-a-kind roof – will also be the home for the United FC, as well as play host to Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3, 2019, and other marquee events.
Blank also established the Westside Neighborhood Prosperity Fund in 2013, an investment to help transform Atlanta's historic Westside neighborhoods and the areas surrounding Mercedes-Benz Stadium in a positive way. And in 1995, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation was created to promote innovative solutions to help transform the lives of youth and their families.
Since its inception, the Foundation has invested more than $300 million in connected spaces, art inclusion, environmental stewardship, youth development and community revitalization for each of the Blank Family of Businesses, including the Falcons, United, PGA TOUR Superstore, and the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch.
In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award, winners in the following categories will be honored:
- Coach of the Year
- Collegiate Athlete of the Year
- High School Athlete of the Year
- Professional Athlete of the Year
- Team of the Year
- Community Spirit Award
It should be a big night for the Falcons, who are up for a number of awards including Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, who are finalists for the Professional Athlete of the Year. Coach Dan Quinn is a finalist for Coach of the Year and the Falcons are finalists for the Team of the Year.
For more information and tickets, visit www.AtlantaSportsAwards.com.