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Arthur Blank named ESPN’s 2021 Sports Philanthropist of the Year

The Falcons team owner is rightfully honored for his continued philanthropy.

Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

It’s the season of sports awards as the annual ESPY awards were held last week, honoring some of the greatest athletes and sports moments over the last year. On Monday evening ESPN held the seventh annual Sports Humanitarian Awards to celebrate the positive impact made by athletes, teams and sports industry professionals who are using sports to make a difference in their communities and throughout the world.

Falcons’ team owner Arthur Blank was one such award recipient, taking home the Sports Philanthropist of the Year award at the ceremony. Blank has been focused on making a positive impact on the Atlanta community and surrounding areas through his philanthropy efforts.

Formed in 1995, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has been promoting positive change and supporting meaningful programs in and outside of the Atlanta area. The Blank Foundation has invested more than $800 million in early childhood development, education, green space, community transformation, and the arts, and leads giving programs for each of the Blank Family of Businesses, including the Falcons, Atlanta United, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, PGA TOUR Superstore, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, West Creek Ranch and Paradise Valley Ranch.

Over the course of the last year, the foundation has donated $200 million to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In February of this year, the foundation announced a $17 million grant to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and Blank donated an additional $300,000 and the personal proceeds from his memoir Good Company to the center as well. These are just a few of Blank’s philanthropic actions, and he says you can expect more.

“95% or more of my estate will end up in the [Arthur M. Blank] Family Foundation. It’s just a matter of when that’s going to happen,” Blank told The Falcoholic. “I’ve been blessed and been very fortunate with all of our business. I’ve been blessed in life in a lot of ways, with six great children, and grandchildren and what have you. But you know, I feel like my passion now is to continue to give back in the ways that I can, to make a difference in peoples lives in any ways that I can. We have a wonderful foundation with great leadership, our new president Fay Twersky. So, we’ll continue to invest very heavily in area that makes sense to us as we go forward.

“I think whatever granting we’ve done in the past, I think it will be substantially higher in the future. Put on your seat belt and enjoy; if you have any good ideas or if anybody does, always send them into us. We’re always interested in ideas. We’re looking at a lot of different things. I’m blessed also having my children, all six of them, involved in our foundation. The three older ones are all trustees and board members rather, and the younger ones are becoming. So, it’s great working with my family in that regard as well.”

The Sports Humanitarian Awards ceremony will air on Saturday, July 24 at 2 p.m. ET on ABC.