Archive for category: Press Releases

Piedmont Park Conservancy Names Doug Widener Chief Executive Officer

The Piedmont Park Conservancy Board of Directors has appointed Doug Widener as the nonprofit’s new Chief Executive Officer. As the Executive Director of the Lincoln Park Conservancy (LPC) in Chicago, Widener’s nearly three decades of experience across nonprofit leadership, community building and sustainable practices will further the Conservancy’s vital mission of ensuring park access for all across metro-Atlanta.

The Piedmont Park Conservancy began an extensive national search in 2022 across more than 20 states following the retirement announcement of former Piedmont Park Conservancy CEO Mark Banta last July. Banta served in the position for nine years and will transition leadership to Widener this fall. In addition to his transformative work to revitalize an iconic Chicago landmark, Widener has also left a lasting impact on the field of sustainability through his leadership roles at the U.S. Green Building Council, where he advocated for environmentally conscious practices in various state, regional and national positions. Widener hopes to expand upon his dedication to nurturing a deeper appreciation of the natural environment – a passion born from his background in educational programming at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum as well as time spent as co-chairman of education and communication at the Chicago Wilderness Alliance.

“I’m thrilled to join the Piedmont Park Conservancy. I believe that parks and open spaces are vital to help us connect with each other, disconnect from the hustle of urban life and recharge our bodies and our beings,” explained Widener. “The Piedmont Park Conservancy plays a vital role in stewarding this wonderful resource for all Atlantans. I look forward to working with our great Board, donors, partners, staff and community in charting a vision for the Park as a world- class destination…for now and generations to come.

“We are at an exciting juncture in our partnership with the City of Atlanta. Doug’s joy for his work, combined with his talent for connecting and collaborating strategically with others, inspires our confidence in his ability to continue leading our beloved Piedmont Park into a promising future,” says Ellen Sacchi, Piedmont Park Conservancy’s Board Chair. “His leadership and commitment to community engagement make him a perfect fit to drive our organizations mission forward.”

In partnership with BoardWalk Consulting, a national firm based in Atlanta, the Piedmont Park Conservancy Board Search Committee conducted a national search for a new Chief Executive Officer. Widener’s arrival ensures a future of enduring strength for the Conservancy.

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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 $5 million each year to enhance and maintain the park.

 

For More Information:
Sara Barksdale
BRAVE Public Relations
404.213.8346
[email protected]

Piedmont Park Conservancy and Atlanta City Council honor CEO Mark Banta at This Year’s Landmark Luncheon

On Thursday, April 27, almost 500 people were on hand as Piedmont Park Conservancy hosted its annual Landmark Luncheon, honoring Mark Banta, its retiring Chief Executive Officer, with the Legacy Award sponsored by Delta Air Lines. This signature fundraising event is critical to sustaining the funds needed to keep Piedmont Park clean, green, and active all year long.

Banta was recognized for his years of leadership and impact on the Conservancy over the past decade.  He also received a proclamation from the Atlanta City Council in honor of his career, tirelessly working on behalf of the greenspace community.

The City of Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner, Justin Cutler, joined the Landmark Luncheon as its special guest speaker. Cutler spoke about the goals of the Department of Parks and Recreation, importance of the Conservancy and how Piedmont Park is a great example of a Park for all.

The Conservancy also announced an inclusive playground it is working to fund upon Banta’s retirement later this year.

“By creating a space where all kids can play together, regardless of their abilities, we promote understanding, respect, and empathy among children and the wider community,” said Mark Banta.

The reception was sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company, Cox Enterprises, and The Home Depot Foundation. The event was hosted by Channel 2’s Lori Wilson.

Donate to the Inclusive Playground Fund Here.

To learn more about Piedmont Park Conservancy, visit piedmontpark.org.

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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 $5 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: Courtney Bugler
Piedmont Park Conservancy
E: [email protected]
P: (404) 875-7275, ext. 223

 

PIEDMONT PARK CONSERVANCY CEO MARK BANTA ANNOUNCES INTENT TO RETIRE IN 2023

Piedmont Park Conservancy announced Thursday that the nonprofit organization’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Banta, will be retiring in 2023, upon the selection of and transition to his successor. Mark has served as CEO for eight years after a long career in operations at nationally recognized parks and greenspaces, including 16 years as the general manager of Centennial Olympic Park from 1996 to 2012.

“The Piedmont Park Conservancy continues to be very grateful for Mark’s leadership,” Ellen Sacchi, the Conservancy’s Board Chair said. “Mark has made a notable impact during his time of service, and I know we will all continue to see the significance of his work at Piedmont Park for years to come.”

“Leading the Piedmont Park Conservancy has truly been the highlight of my professional career. I’m honored to have led the amazing team here at PPC who are ready to take on the next opportunities and challenges and I look forward to helping the board position the next CEO for success,” said Mark Banta.

Mark joined the Conservancy staff as Chief Operating Officer in 2014 and was promoted shortly thereafter to CEO. Under his leadership, the Conservancy’s annual budget increased to over $4.5 million, an operating reserve was established that enabled the organization to weather the pandemic successfully and the Park’s visitation grew to about six million annual visitors.

The Board of Directors will oversee the process to choose Mark’s successor and has selected BoardWalk Consulting to conduct a national search for a new CEO. After his successor is in place and a transition period in early 2023, Mark will serve in a consulting role to the new CEO.

To learn more about Piedmont Park Conservancy, click here.

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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 $4 million annually to enhance and maintain the Park. Today, the Conservancy manages over 90% of the overall maintenance and security of Piedmont Park.

Contact: Courtney Bugler
Piedmont Park Conservancy
E: [email protected]
P: (404) 875-7275, ext. 223

 

Piedmont Park Conservancy Raises Over $400,000 at Landmark Luncheon’s 25th Anniversary

Returning to pre-pandemic levels, 475 Atlantans supported Landmark Luncheon on Thursday, April 28 which raised approximately $400,000 for Piedmont Park Conservancy. Piedmont Park attracts almost 6 million visitors and the Conservancy is responsible for 95% of daily operations. With a renewed appreciation for greenspace, events like Landmark Luncheon are critical to sustaining the funds needed to keep Piedmont Park clean, green and active all year long. 

Norfolk Southern CEO James (Jim) Squires and Karen Jones Squires chaired this year’s Landmark Luncheon, and recently gave a transformational unrestricted gift to the Conservancy. The collective impact of the luncheon raising $400,000 in addition to the Squires’ personal gift makes this year’s Landmark Luncheon the most successful fundraiser in Piedmont Park Conservancy’s history. Norfolk Southern was this year’s Presenting Sponsor.

Northside Hospital was honored with the Green Giant Award for their ongoing partnership with Piedmont Park Conservancy and for their community impact as healthcare workers during the peak of the pandemic. The Green Giant Award was sponsored by Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. Also, John Izard, Jr. was presented with the Legacy Award for his influence on Piedmont Park including the 53-acre expansion and past Board leadership. The Legacy Award was sponsored by Delta.

Other generous support includes Anniversary Sponsors Coca-Cola Company and Cox Enterprises. The event was hosted by Channel 2’s Justin Farmer.

To learn more about Piedmont Park Conservancy, click here.

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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 $3.5 million annually to enhance and maintain the Park. Today, the Conservancy manages over 90% of the overall maintenance and security of Piedmont Park.

Contact: Courtney Bugler
Piedmont Park Conservancy
E: [email protected]
P: (404) 875-7275, ext. 223

Landmark Luncheon

Piedmont Park Conservancy Guests of Landmark Luncheon

Piedmont Park Conservancy Landmark Luncheon Event Chairs Karen Jones Squires and Jim Squires with their daughter Maggie Squires (Left to right)

Piedmont Park Conservancy Landmark Luncheon Event Chairs Karen Jones Squires and Jim Squires with their daughter Maggie Squires (Left to right)

Northside Hospital Receives the 2022 Green Giant Award from Piedmont Park Conservancy. Pictured: Northside Hospital Director of Emergency Services Chris Munn and Piedmont Park Conservancy Board Chair Ellen Sacchi.

Northside Hospital Receives the 2022 Green Giant Award from Piedmont Park Conservancy. Pictured: Northside Hospital Director of Emergency Services Chris Munn and Piedmont Park Conservancy Board Chair Ellen Sacchi.

John Izard, Jr. Receives the 2022 Legacy Award from Piedmont Park Conservancy. Pictured: John Izard, Jr. and Piedmont Park Conservancy President & CEO Mark Banta.

John Izard, Jr. Receives the 2022 Legacy Award from Piedmont Park Conservancy. Pictured: John Izard, Jr. and Piedmont Park Conservancy President & CEO Mark Banta.

Piedmont Park Conservancy Board Member Tony Hilliard Speaks to Landmark Luncheon Attendees About the Importance of Piedmont Park and the Conservancy.

Piedmont Park Conservancy Board Member Tony Hilliard Speaks to Landmark Luncheon Attendees About the Importance of Piedmont Park and the Conservancy.

Piedmont Park Conservancy Landmark Luncheon Event Committee: (Left to right) Donna Barwick, Sheryl Meddin, Jan Harralson, Mark Banta, Wick Garrard, Holly B. Stevens

Piedmont Park Conservancy Landmark Luncheon Event Committee: (Left to right) Donna Barwick, Sheryl Meddin, Jan Harralson, Mark Banta, Wick Garrard, Holly B. Stevens

Piedmont Park’s Green Market Now Accepts EBT

We are excited to announce the return of Green Market to Piedmont Park on Saturdays from 9am – 1pm. Green Market encourages sustainable communities in the most basic way – by providing shoppers with direct access to local farmers and small businesses. Enjoy seasonal produce, prepared foods, baked goods, bath and body products, locally made dog food and treats, and more.

New this year – Green Market now accepts EBT! Piedmont Park Conservancy is partnering with Wholesome Wave Georgia to offer Georgia Fresh For Less – a program that doubles these benefits for market fresh fruits and vegetables! How does it work? Bring your EBT Card to the Green Market. Swipe your card for the amount you choose and we’ll match your EBT dollars, dollar-for-dollar, with free tokens for fruits and vegetables.

Come walk the market and enjoy the fun every Saturday from March through December.

WHAT: Green Market Opening Day and Announcing New EBT Program

WHO: Vendors are available for interviews, as well as the Green Market Manager Matthew Bagshaw and the Director of Communications Amy Han Risher. Topics can include the market itself, importance of farmers market, how the market enhances Piedmont Park and/or the details about the new EBT program. If you plan on attending, call or text Amy 912-690-7109 to facilitate.

WHEN: Saturday, March 26, 2022 at 9 am – 1pm.

WHERE: Piedmont Park – 12th Street and Piedmont Avenue Gate.

DETAILS: Green Market Webpage

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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 $3.5 million annually to enhance and maintain the Park. Today, the Conservancy manages over 90% of the overall maintenance and security of Piedmont Park.

Media Contact: Amy Han Risher
Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations
Piedmont Park Conservancy
E: [email protected]
P: (404) 480-3758

Piedmont Park Conservancy Welcomes 2022 New Board Members

The Piedmont Park Conservancy welcomes four new members to their board of directors: Louisa Basarrate, Chris Buettner of Cox Enterprises, Allen Roberson of Sage and James A. Squires of Norfolk Southern Corporation.

The Conservancy looks forward to working with these new board members to keep Piedmont Park thriving for the Atlanta community.

Biographies:

Louisa Basarrate

After a 20+ year career in non-profit development, marketing and management, followed by time as a stay-at-home mom, Louisa Basarrate currently volunteers and enjoys living in both Atlanta and San Francisco. She is a native of Nashville, Tennessee. Louisa is married to Armando Basarrate and the mother of Sophie Basarrate (23).

Louisa achieved designation as a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) for accomplishments in professional practice, education and community service. Her previous organizations included Atlanta Speech School, Shepherd Center, Jerusalem House, AID Atlanta and SunTrust Bank.

She is engaged in her local communities including cultural organizations such as: Open Hand Atlanta, San Francisco Ballet, High Museum, Metropolitan Museum, DeYoung/Legion of Honor, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and Atlanta Ballet.

Chris Buettner

After a career on the digital agency side that spanned 20+ years, Chris Buettner now leads the Marketing and Brand team at Cox Enterprises, working on a broad range of initiatives from employment brand efforts to attract top talent to the company’s diverse family of brands to marketing strategy for new business focus areas like Cox Cleantech.

In his current role, he is also helping to bring Cox’s social impact vision to life of positively impacting 34 million lives by 2034, an initiative that allows him to combine many of his personal passions in areas such as education and environmental stewardship.

Prior to Cox, he led an international network of top digital marketing agencies focused on the future of marketing and digital experiences, expanding the international reach of the organization from 15 to 42 countries in five years. Chris lives in Decatur with his wife and two daughters – both of whom are proud alums of the Piedmont Park Conservancy’s summer camps.

Allen Roberson

Allen Roberson recently joined Sage as the Finance Director in November of 2021. Prior to Sage, Allen worked at International Hotel Group (IHG) for 15 years where he served as Head of Finance & Business Partnering; Commercial & Technology Products and Platforms. Allen also worked with IBM as a Corporate Internal Auditor and Sales & Distribution Financial Analyst.

Mr. Roberson possesses demonstrated passion for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) through Community Partnership Committee leadership with the Black Employee Resource Group (ERG) and active member of the Out & Open LGBTQ+ ERG. He implemented blind resume reviews and diverse interview panels into the function’s recruiting process to improve the diversity of candidate interview slates.

Mr. Roberson currently serves as a valued member of Piedmont Park Conservancy’s Finance Committee.

James A. Squires

Jim Squires is chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC), a FORTUNE 500 transportation company whose railroad operates across 19,500 miles in 22 states, connecting businesses and communities to the marketplaces of the world.

Jim joined Norfolk Southern’s Law Department in 1992 and has held roles of increasing responsibility. They include vice president law; senior vice president law; senior vice president financial planning; executive vice president finance and chief financial officer; and executive vice president administration. Jim became president of the company in 2013 and was named chairman and CEO in 2015.

A native of Hollis, New Hampshire, Jim is a 1983 graduate of Amherst College and was an Amherst-Doshisha Fellow at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. He earned his J.D. degree from the University of Chicago Law School, where he has served as a member of the Visiting Committee. He is a proud veteran of the U.S. Army.

Currently serving as chair of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, Jim also has served as chair of the Association of American Railroads, as a board member of the board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as a trustee of the Sentara Healthcare System, and as chairman of Virginia’s Transportation Accountability Commission.

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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 $3.5 million annually to enhance and maintain the Park. Today, the Conservancy manages over 90% of the overall maintenance and security of Piedmont Park.

Media Contact: Amy Han Risher
Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations
Piedmont Park Conservancy
E: [email protected]
P: (404) 480-3758

Over 650 Dogs Make a Splash to Support Piedmont Park Dog Parks

On October 2 and 3, dogs and their owners filled the Piedmont Park Pool during the return of the 12th annual Splish Splash Doggie Bash. The Piedmont Park Conservancy hosted this special fundraiser that directly supports the maintenance of Piedmont Park Dog Parks. A great time was had by all as local dog owners and dog lovers gathered together for a weekend of fun to kick off the Fall season!

This event took place at the end of pool season, allowing the dogs to run free and let out all their energy in the Piedmont Park Pool. This made for some amusing photo opportunities and adorable moments between many different kinds of pups! Canine owners also had a great time as they were allowed to take their pets off-leash and witness the doggy party.

Various vendors added to the excitement by giving away free treats, toys and merchandise for participants. Park visitors observed from outside the pool and many took advantage of the walk-up registration. Splish Splash Doggie Bash 2021 was a huge success, registering over 660 dogs and raising over $20,000 for the Piedmont Park Dog Parks.

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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 $3.5 million annually to enhance and maintain the Park. Today, the Conservancy manages over 90% of the overall maintenance and security of Piedmont Park.

Media Contact: Amy Han Risher
Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations
Piedmont Park Conservancy
E: [email protected]
P: (404) 480-3758

 

Dogs were spoiled with pool toys and tennis balls during Piedmont Park Conservancy’s Splish Splash Doggie Bash 2021.

Owners created some lasting memories with pets, while supporting the maintenance of Piedmont Park Dog Parks. 

Over 650 dogs of all shapes and sizes were free to play off-leash over a fun-filled weekend.

Piedmont Park Conservancy Launches Safe Haven Fund at Landmark Luncheon

At the Piedmont Park Conservancy’s Landmark Luncheon on September 14, the Conservancy made an inaugural announcement of the Piedmont Park Safe Haven Fund. In response to increased concerns about safety, the fund will allow Piedmont Park Conservancy to financially support safety improvements recommended by the city of Atlanta and other public safety experts.

Themed “Together, We Grow,” Landmark Luncheon celebrated the strength of the Piedmont Park community and the park’s role as Atlanta’s green refuge. A socially-distant meal under individual tents allowed attendees to connect with the Conservancy’s mission while in comfort for their health and safety.

The 2021 Legacy Award Recipient is Penny McPhee for her work with the Arthur M. Blank Foundation. The Piedmont Park Conservancy gives thanks to the luncheon’s presenting sponsor, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, and reception sponsor, the Coca-Cola Company. The event was hosted by Channel 2’s Lori Wilson.

Landmark Luncheon attendees were the first to be invited to donate to the Safe Haven Fund. The fund was announced to the public on Wednesday, September 15. A generous donor will match all gifts to the Safe Haven Fund from September 15 through September 30, up to $100,000. You may learn more about the fund at piedmontpark.org.

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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 $3.5 million annually to enhance and maintain the Park. Today, the Conservancy manages over 90% of the overall maintenance and security of Piedmont Park.

Media Contact: Amy Han Risher
Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations
Piedmont Park Conservancy
E: [email protected]
P: (404) 480-3758

Guests enjoy Piedmont Park Conservancy’s Landmark Luncheon under socially distant, individual tents in beautiful Piedmont Park. CREDIT: DV Photo Video

Penny McPhee was honored with the Piedmont Park Conservancy’s 2021 Legacy Award at this year’s Landmark Luncheon. Pictured (left to right): Piedmont Park Conservancy President and CEO Mark Banta, WSB-TV’s Lori Wilson, and Penny and Ray McPhee. CREDIT: DV Photo Video

Aerial view of Piedmont Park Conservancy’s signature fundraiser, Landmark Luncheon.

Piedmont Park Conservancy Fundraisers Return with Picnic for Piedmont Park

On July 14, over 400 guests came together with their picnic gear in support of the Piedmont Park Conservancy. After almost a year and a half without in-person events, Piedmont Park Conservancy hosted their first outdoor fundraiser in beautiful Piedmont Park. Picnic for Piedmont Park raised $70,000 to support the Conservancy’s mission to preserve and enhance the park, including landscaping, park beautification, offering free guided history tours, hosting a farmer’s market, maintenance of the dog parks and more.

From delicious catered food and craft cocktails to games and music, it was a fun summer evening in the green heart of Atlanta. Families, friends and pets all came together under the clear skies and setting sun to celebrate Piedmont Park.

You can learn more about the Piedmont Park Conservancy at piedmontpark.org. Following Picnic for Piedmont Park is the Conservancy’s annual Landmark Luncheon fundraiser on September 14, 2021. Tickets are now available.

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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 $3.5 million annually to enhance and maintain the Park. Today, the Conservancy manages over 90% of the overall maintenance and security of Piedmont Park.

Media Contact: Amy Han Risher
Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations
Piedmont Park Conservancy
E: [email protected]
P: (404) 480-3758

Picnic for Piedmont Park guests enjoying their picnics in the greenery of Piedmont Park.

Guests of Picnic for Piedmont Park had over 200 acres of park space to spread out.

Giant family friendly games created a casual, fun vibe at Picnic for Piedmont Park.

Many furry friends were spotted at Piedmont Park Conservancy’s Picnic for Piedmont Park.

The Piedmont Park Conservancy is Rolling Up Its Sleeves

Now that summer is here, Piedmont Park is busier than ever, and keeping it clean and green for all Atlantans is quite the challenge. As more people are getting vaccinated and feeling safe to come outside, that means more events and more foot traffic, which makes keeping the Park clean that much harder. The Piedmont Park Conservancy’s biggest challenge is to maintain a flourishing landscape despite the unpredictable Georgia weather and the pressing pedestrian litter.

Everyone knows that Piedmont Park is the city of Atlanta’s backyard, where anyone can exercise with their dog, throw a birthday party or pack a picnic date. Who takes care of that backyard? A crew of less than 10 landscapers, engineers and technicians maintain 90% of Piedmont Park’s 200 acres. While they are responsible for cleaning up after us every day, the Piedmont Park Conservancy heavily relies on community participation to keep the greenspace safe, clean and beautiful. Donations and volunteer work are integral to keep the Park operating.

Volunteers and staff are constantly kept busy this summer planting new flowers, renovating park benches and taking care of trees. However, the biggest threat to the landscape, the wildlife and park guests is litter. As guests flood in to enjoy their summer in the Park, they often leave behind litter.

While the Piedmont Park Conservancy works tirelessly with the city to keep up with trash collection and staff address litter in highly trafficked areas, Piedmont Park is depending on the community to act. First, asking Atlanta residents to be mindful by packing trash in and out, doing their best to leave no trace. Then, if you can go a step further, volunteer in the Park, donate and become a keeper of one of Atlanta’s most iconic and beloved greenspaces.

Those interested in supporting the Piedmont Park Conservancy with donations or volunteering can visit piedmontpark.org/support for more information.

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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 $3.5 million annually to enhance and maintain the Park. Today, the Conservancy manages over 90% of the overall maintenance and security of Piedmont Park.

Media Contact: Amy Han Risher
Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations
Piedmont Park Conservancy
E: [email protected]
P: (404) 480-3758

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