In September, Arthur Blank, through his family foundation, committed an additional $15 million to the positive transformation efforts taking place in Atlanta’s historic Westside neighborhoods, bringing the total of the Westside Neighborhood Prosperity Fund to $30 million. On behalf of the city of Atlanta, Mayor Kasim Reed dedicated $15 million to the Bellwood Quarry Park, $1 million to move Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre to the Westside, and $1 million to Westside Works.
Averaging more fans per game than any other club in Major League Soccer, Atlanta United wrapped its successful, inaugural season in tremendous fashion with two, record-setting matches at home at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta United’s matches against Orlando City FC on September 16 and Toronto FC on October 22 have both broken the previous MLS single-game attendance record of 69,255, which was set back in 1996.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened for its first event on August 26 and welcomed more than half a million fans in its first 23 days. Highlights included the Chick-fil-A College Football Kickoff games bringing 151,437 fans into the building, Atlanta United setting a new MLS single-game attendance record with 70,425 fans at its September 16 match against Orlando City FC and the Falcons clinching a 34-23 win over the Green Bay Packers in the first regular season home football game.
A partnership between the Blank Family Foundation and community-led organizations, Westside Works is a program focused on providing job training and creating employment opportunities for residents of Atlanta’s historic Westside communities that neighbor Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Launched in 2014, Westside Works has trained more than 500 residents in the fields of construction, culinary, nursing, and IT, representing more than $12 million in wages earned by graduates.