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The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Grants $50 Million to Shepherd Center for Family Housing Expansion

Largest grant dedicated to family housing at Shepherd Center reinforces loved ones’ pivotal role in life restoration for patients.

ATLANTA — Shepherd Center today announced a $50 million capital grant from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. The gift will allow Shepherd Center, a neurorehabilitation hospital, to double its family housing capacity. This benefit will enable more families and caregivers to be close by as their loved ones participate in rehabilitation for spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and other neurological conditions – a critical care difference that positively impacts patient outcomes and lives after discharge.

The grant will support the construction of a new family housing building to be named in Arthur M. Blank’s honor, located at 1860 Peachtree Road in Atlanta. The expansion will add approximately 160 housing units, and construction will begin this fall.

“Arthur has always believed in the importance of our family-centered approach to rehabilitative care,” said Alana Shepherd, Shepherd Center co-founder and chairman of the board. “With The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s generous support of our programs like recreation therapy and the SHARE Military Initiative, he has allowed countless patients to pursue what is possible. With this investment in our family housing program, Shepherd can help restore the lives of even more who seek our care from around the world.”

Integrating family into treatment poses a challenge when patients or their families aren’t local to Atlanta. Currently, Shepherd Center provides up to 30 days of housing to families of newly injured rehabilitation patients if both the family and patient live more than 60 miles from the hospital. With the average length of stay for patients at Shepherd Center at approximately 60 days and more than 50 percent of patients and families coming to Shepherd from outside the state of Georgia, this crucial grant from the Blank Family Foundation will expand the number of family housing units, enabling families and caregivers to stay the entire time needed for their loved ones’ rehabilitation at Shepherd Center.

Blank, a long-time donor to Shepherd Center, brings a deep understanding of the tremendous value and life-changing effects of care beyond traditional clinical and rehabilitation services. He has provided significant support over the years to Shepherd Center’s SHARE Military Initiative, a program that delivers world-class treatment at no cost to veterans, service members and first responders with traumatic brain injuries. SHARE clients and families also rely on the family housing units during their treatment at Shepherd Center.

“My family and I are honored to support Shepherd Center and their promise to care for the whole family in times of such difficulty,” said Blank, chairman, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. “I’m filled with deep respect and pride that Alana and her team have remained an organization that is focused on family. Having seen the benefits firsthand of loved ones working alongside patients during recovery, I know it is a clinical imperative. It is my hope this new facility will ease their burdens in some small way so they can focus on helping their loved ones heal.”

The generous grant is a direct extension of Blank’s belief that patients can live more fulfilling lives when their hearts and minds are cared for alongside their illnesses and injuries. Family involvement and participation are a proven part of that equation.

For more than two decades, the Blank Family Foundation has supported Shepherd’s donor-funded programs like recreation therapy, which are vital to Shepherd’s industry-leading patient outcomes. From navigating airports to scuba diving and water sports to gardening, music, art, and learning self-advocacy, Shepherd has the most extensive recreation therapy program in the nation, empowering patients to embrace life fully and re-engage in their communities after they graduate.

This grant continues The Blank Family Foundation’s support of Atlanta institutions, including Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Spelman College, Atlanta Humane Society, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and the Atlanta BeltLine, among many others.

“Throughout Shepherd’s more than 46 years of experience, we’ve consistently witnessed how integral families are in the rehabilitation process,” said Sarah Morrison, PT, MBA, MHA, Shepherd Center CEO. “With the expansion of our housing program, we will reduce the financial and emotional burden on our patients’ families so they can focus on learning how to support their loved ones and each other through rehabilitation and as they return to their communities.”

Ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation, Shepherd Center specializes in medical treatment, research, and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neurological conditions stemming from a life-altering injury or diagnosis. Having served more than 35,000 patients to date, Shepherd Center is one of only a few neurorehabilitation specialty hospitals in the nation.






After 25 years and nearly $900 million in giving, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has committed to significantly accelerating the impact of its philanthropy over the next 10+ years.

The Board is embarking on a journey of deeper learning and strategy setting for its new collective areas of giving, which include: Youth Development, with a focus on workforce development and economic mobility; Democracy, with a focus on key areas of Voting Rights, and Journalism; and Environment, with a focus on key areas of Conservation and Climate Resiliency. Across these portfolios, the foundation will look for opportunities to address the growing crisis of disconnection in our nation. Geographically, much of the work will continue to prioritize Georgia (with a focus on Atlanta) and Montana, while also considering the potential for greater national impact and influence.

In addition to the collective areas of giving, the foundation will continue to oversee a large portfolio of Founder-led initiatives, including investment in the transformation of Atlanta’s Westside neighborhoods, mental health and well-being, veterans and the military, and stuttering, among others. The foundation will also continue to guide the seven Associate-led giving committees operating across the Blank Family of Businesses.

Mr. Blank, chairman of the foundation, co-founded The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, in 1978 and retired from the company as co-chairman in 2001.

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Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neurological conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.

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