You can’t substitute material things for time with your family. I think having balance in your life as a father is critical. – Arthur Blank

Art Eddy: Let’s first talk about your foundation that is called The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. You set this up to give back to the community. Tell me about the different organizations that are under that foundation.

Arthur Blank: Beneath the family foundation each of the four businesses have a significant component of philanthropy. They are engaged in giving back through a variety of ways. They are operated beneath the umbrella of the family foundation.

The family foundation is committed to anything dealing with public education, dealing with environment, dealing with expanding cultural exposure and helping kids who don’t have advantages as others do. Try to help give them a level playing field. The beauty of all of that work is that all six of my children and my wife are very much involved in our foundation.

A lot of our areas of passion come out of areas that they have an interest in as well as their father. So for me it is a great joy in my life to have a chance to work with my older children in terms of the foundation. See my younger children show their interest. They will be emerging also in terms of philanthropy as part of the family foundation.

All of our meetings are around a round table. I don’t sit at the head of the table. Each family member gets a vote. I probably spend more time hearing from my kids than I do other directors and associate directors that we have because I want to make sure that they are engaged and that we are focused on areas that they are interesting in.

AE: How can people help out the foundation?

AB: We do a lot of work in the community. The Atlanta Falcons are based here. The Atlanta United are based here. We will put out to the community on a periodic basis of community events that we do. Places that we go. Places where fans and families want to come and engage with us and want to participate.

I think it is true for our fans and for my family and my children is that they get as much joy and value personally when they are actually engaged doing the work. It is not that doing research and writing checks are not important. It is very important, but if you talk to them whomever the recipient is that they feel strongly about being hands on. They want to make improvements and enhance life for others.

AE: Congratulations on the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The stadium looks impressive. From the first design to now with the stadium being open, for you what was going through your mind when you opened up the stadium to public?

AB: The thing about our stadium and I had said this to the public here in Atlanta and throughout the state was that while this will be an important place for the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United we will be hosting many events that are beyond the sports franchises.

It is a unique stadium. Most people who have been through it feel as though it is the finest sports and entertainment complex in the United States. We want to attract the best events here. We wanted to position and build it in downtown Atlanta. Every great city has a great downtown. We think Atlanta is a great city. We think that this can add to the other great venues that are down here in Atlanta.

We wanted it to be in the shadow of the west side. It is the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King. It was where Maynard Jackson was born and raised. He was the first African American mayor of Atlanta. It is an area that has gone through some difficult times over the last 30 years. So while we are equally committed to building the stadium we are equally committed to the social and societal issues that the folks in the west side are facing.

We have made a lot of progress in that regard. We have a training program called Westside Works. We have trained over 450 folks in a variety of programs that have job opportunities in construction, nursing and food and beverage. We had close to about 200 of them working on the stadium. These are people who had no jobs at all. They have brought back to the community over 10 million dollars of earned dollars. To their family and their communities that is very meaningful. We are working with those who are young as well. We have a program called Westside Ambassadors. Those are kids between middle school and high school.

Blank on Fatherhood

AE: What popped into your mind when you found out that you were going to be a father for the first time?

AB: I was 22 years old. That goes back a lot of years. (Both laugh.) As I remember I was just so excited that my wife and I were bringing in a child into the world. We have always been committed to family. That has always been an important value set to me. How do I the best job I can to have a balance in my life? To be there for my children despite my busy and productive career and make sure that they always felt like they were first in line for whatever they needed.

Not to spoil them, but make sure that their father is always there for them. I had all the joys of being a first time father. I remember being at the hospital. I remember them being born. Things were different then. Dads at that point didn’t go into the delivery room. So that was not available to me. I encourage any dad that has the chance to do that to go and do it. It was remarkable.

AE: As dads we look to show our kids how to do the right thing by our actions. You have given so much back to many different communities. That is a great value to share with your kids. What are some other core values you looked to instill into your kids as they were growing up?

AB: Well to be honest with you all of the six core values that we build in all of our businesses that really go back to my days at Home Depot. I was a co-founder. That value set is not only critical in terms of dealing with your associates, fans or guests or whatever the business may be. They are the same value set that you should have in your home.

It is being a good listener. Being able to respond to what you are hearing both with your family and beyond your family, stand up for others and give back to your community. It is all of those kinds of things. Being the best role model that you can be as a parent. I think the greatest gift that you can give a child is having a home where good examples are set. Children see that parents have healthy and happy relationships between the two of them. They can model that behavior in the future. However busy the parents must be in their own pursuits the children are not put on the back burner. Taking care of family and being there for family I think is always critical.

AE: What is the one biggest piece of advice you have for new dads?

AB: I had this question a lot when I was at Home Depot. I would say the same thing now. You can’t ever put your career in front of your family. Your family is not only your children, but your spouse as well. The assumption is that in five or ten years my family will be there. They will appreciate everything that I have done.

You can’t substitute material things for time with your family. I think having balance in your life as a father is critical. If I have to give up something let it be my golf game or tennis match. It is not to say that you shouldn’t have time for yourself because you need to refuel your own tank so you can be there for your own family and work. Your kids and spouse in retrospect are not going to appreciate and understand that the dad is removed from the scene for a certain amount of time even though they are making a lot of money and moving their career along. So I would say find a way to balance your time. Maybe not every day or even every week, but of the course of a month and certainly over a year make sure that your time is balanced between your family and your vocation.

Life of Dad Quick Five

AE: Do you guys have a favorite family movie that you all love to watch together?

AB: I wouldn’t say that there is one. Anything that is funny. One that is getting the most affection by my family right now is Back to College. My twins are 16 years old. They are thinking about college. One of them right now is nervous that her dad will go back to college with her. I am thinking more about that now. (Both laugh.) I am only kidding.

AE: Do you guys have a favorite song that you all like to sing to or dance to as a family?

AB: I think a lot of the music that my kids listen to today I have never heard. I go back to Neil Diamond and Fleetwood Mac. That is my relationship to music. I love music. I do love to dance. We do a lot of Country dancing on our ranch.

AE: Describe the perfect family vacation.

AB: I think our family generally likes warm places. We have a home on Hilton Head which is always a great spot to go. Our family vacations that are the best are the ones when we are relaxing. There is not too much stuff scheduled. We have a good time together. I think it is just being together and spending some relaxing time together.

AE: Best thing about being a grandfather over a father is….

AB: I will give you the typical answer that is that you get to go home without them. In my case though three of my children live with me. My wife has three children. One of them is married and the others are not. So we always have kids in the house which is great.

AE: There have been a few concerts and athletic games in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium since it has opened up this year. Can you describe the atmosphere in one word?

AB: I would say incredible.

About Arthur Blank

Perhaps best known as co-founder of The Home Depot, Arthur Blank’s Family of Businesses portfolio currently includes the Atlanta Falcons; Atlanta United; PGA TOUR Superstore; The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation; Mountain Sky Guest Ranch; AMB West, LLC; and AMB Group, the parent company of his for-profit businesses. Blank and the Falcons, in partnership with the city of Atlanta and state of Georgia, are the private funders of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which opened in 2017. The stadium will be operated by Atlanta Falcons Stadium Company, a newly-created company also owned by AMB Group, and be home to the Falcons and Atlanta United.

While diverse in nature, all of Blank’s businesses are run based on a common set of core values, which focus on developing customer relationships, treating associates with respect, and supporting communities.

Blank believes in the importance of making a difference – professionally and personally. In addition to the company’s financial success, during his 23 years with The Home Depot the company donated more than $113 million to communities, and Home Depot associates provided hundreds of thousands of hours of personal volunteer time. Blank is applying the same business acumen and values in building his competitive, successful and community-oriented businesses today.

Blank is also dedicated to his own giving back. Through his generosity, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has granted more than $300 million to support early childhood development, education, the arts, and parks and greenspace. The foundation also leads giving programs for each of the for-profit businesses in Blank’s portfolio.

Arthur and Angie Blank’s marriage in June of 2016 brought together their respective families, including nine children and five grandchildren.

Consistent with the way he approaches work and life, his favorite T-shirt appropriately reads, “There is no finish line.”

For more on the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation go to

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