Person

Arthur Blank

Occupation:

Owner, Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC

Education:

Babson College

Arthur Blank co-founded the Home Depot in the late 1970s after being fired from a regional hardware store chain in Southern California. After stepping down as CEO of Home Depot in the early 2000s, Blank’s interests centered on a variety of Atlanta-based sports franchises and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, a private foundation that has awarded over $560 million.

Blank is a strong supporter of the Democratic Party. During the 2020 elections, Blank contributed $300,000 to the Biden Victory Fund, $35,000 to the Democratic National Convention, and tens of thousands of dollars to state Democratic Party committees. Blank also contributed $28,500 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008. [1]

Early Life

Arthur Blank was born to Molly and Max Blank in Queens, New York. He and his brother, Michael, were raised in a one-bedroom apartment. Despite being widowed at a young age, his mother managed the family’s mail-order pharmaceutical business and sold it to a large retail conglomerate. Blank credits his mother with giving him his first lesson in entrepreneurship. [2]

Career

In the late 1970s, Arthur Blank was an officer at Handy Dan, a regional hardware store chain in Southern California. He and an associate, Bernie Marcus, began experimenting with product discounts in one Handy Dan outlet and observed positive effects of decreasing costs as a percentage of sales and an increase in customer volume. In 1978, they were both fired from Handy Dan’s by a corporate raider who took over the chain’s parent company. Blank and Marcus put their discounting experiment to the test in their own brand of warehouse stores called Home Depot and opened the first two Atlanta-area stores in 1979. [3]

By 1981, Home Depot’s stock went public and raised over $4 million. In 1989, the company opened its 100th store. Marcus handed the CEO reigns to Blank in 1997; Blank held the position until a new president and CEO was hired in 2000. [4]

Blank purchased the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons for more than $540 million shortly after stepping down as CEO of Home Depot. His professional team Atlanta United FC brought professional soccer to Atlanta beginning in 2017. Blank also owns Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a sports and entertainment facility valued at $1.5 billion that hosted the 2019 Super Bowl. [5] Other Blank family businesses include the nationwide PGA TOUR Superstore as well as a handful of ranches across the country. [6] Blank was the 2003 Chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. [7]

Blank founded the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation in 1995 and has awarded over $560 million to causes such as education and early childhood development. [8] In 2012, Blank signed the Giving Pledge and committed to giving more than half of his wealth away to philanthropic efforts in his lifetime. [9]

Political Activity

Blank is a strong supporter of the Democratic Party. During the 2020 elections, Blank contributed $300,000 to Biden Victory Fund, $35,000 to the Democratic National Convention, and tens of thousands of dollars to state Democratic Party committees. Blank also contributed $28,500 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008. [10]

Following proposed changes to Georgia voting laws in early 2021, Blank released a statement saying, “We should be working to make voting easier, not harder for every eligible citizen,” and that his businesses and family foundation will support efforts that “advance voting access for the citizens of Georgia and across the nation.” [11] Blank also participated in an online call with over 100 corporate executives to discuss taking action following changes to state voting laws including the possibility of delaying investments in states that pass allegedly restrictive voting laws. [12]

Personal Life

Blank has been married three times. He had three children with his first wife Diana Blank, whom he divorced in 1993. [13] Diana is a left-of-center philanthropist based in Atlanta and anonymously contributed several high-profile donations in the area including a $4 million gift to the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra as well as a nearly $20 million gift to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. [14]

He also had three children with his second wife of 16 years, Stephanie Blank. The couple filed for divorce in 2013. Soon after, Blank met his third wife Angela Macuga whom he married in 2016 and later announced their plans to divorce in 2019. [15]

Two of Blank’s children, Dena Kimball and Kenny Blank, sit on the board of directors of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. His daughter Dena is the executive director of the Kendeda Fund, a left-of-center private foundation founded by her mother, Diana Blank. Kimball previously served as the vice president of network support at Teach for All. [16] Blank’s son, Kenny Blank, also sits on the foundation’s board and is the executive director of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. [17]

References

  1. “Browse Individual Contributions Arthur Blank.” FEC.gov. Accessed April 21, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=Arthur%2BBlank&contributor_employer=The%2BArthur&two_year_transaction_period=2016&contributor_state=GA. ^
  2. Montgomery, Elizabeth. “Molly Blank, 99: Strong Widow Grew Successful Business, Sons.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 24, 2016. https://www.ajc.com/news/local/molly-blank-strong-widow-grew-successful-business-sons/JMYrzmcGsGc4nXD58rqltJ/. ^
  3. “Bernie Marcus & Arthur Blank.” Entrepreneur. Entrepreneur, October 10, 2008. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/197614. ^
  4. “History of The Home Depot.” The Home Depot. Accessed April 20, 2021. https://corporate.homedepot.com/sites/default/themes/thd/images/timeline/History-Of-The-Home-Depot.pdf. ^
  5. “Arthur Blank.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine. Accessed April 20, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/profile/arthur-blank/?sh=ae7b330749c3. ^
  6. “Arthur Blank.” Falcons Home. Accessed April 20, 2021. https://www.atlantafalcons.com/team/front-office-roster/arthur-blank. ^
  7. “Arthur M. Blank.” The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. Accessed April 20, 2021. https://blankfoundation.org/trustee/arthur-m-blank/. ^
  8. “Arthur Blank.” Falcons Home. Accessed April 20, 2021. https://www.atlantafalcons.com/team/front-office-roster/arthur-blank. ^
  9. “Arthur Blank.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine. Accessed April 20, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/profile/arthur-blank/?sh=ae7b330749c3. ^
  10. “Browse Individual Contributions Arthur Blank.” FEC.gov. Accessed April 21, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=Arthur%2BBlank&contributor_employer=The%2BArthur&two_year_transaction_period=2016&contributor_state=GA. ^
  11. “Statement from Arthur Blank on Georgia Voting Rights.” Falcons Home, March 30, 2021. https://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/statement-from-arthur-blank-on-georgia-voting-rights. ^
  12. Frankel, Todd. “More than 100 Corporate Executives Hold Call to Discuss Halting Donations and Investments to Fight Controversial Voting Bills.” The Washington Post. WP Company, April 11, 2021.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/04/11/companies-voting-bills-states/. ^
  13. Ledbetter, D. Orlando. “Arthur Blank, Wife Angela Are Getting a Divorce.” WSB. WSB-TV Channel 2 – Atlanta, January 1, 2019. https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/arthur-blank-wife-angela-are-getting-a-divorce/897352464/. ^
  14. Saporta, Maria. “A Longtime Anonymous Donor Reveals Her Identity.” Saporta Report, September 24, 2015. https://saportareport.com/a-longtime-anonymous-donor-reveals-her-identity/sections/abcarticles/maria_saporta/. ^
  15. Ledbetter, D. Orlando. “Arthur Blank, Wife Angela Are Getting a Divorce.” WSB. WSB-TV Channel 2 – Atlanta, January 1, 2019. https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/arthur-blank-wife-angela-are-getting-a-divorce/897352464/. ^
  16. “Dena Kimball.” The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. Accessed April 21, 2021. https://blankfoundation.org/trustee/dena-kimball/. ^
  17. “Kenny Blank.” The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. Accessed April 21, 2021. https://blankfoundation.org/trustee/kenny-blank/. ^
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