When the vision for the stadium became a reality in 2013, the Blank Foundation committed $15 million towards community revitalization of neighborhoods adjacent to Mercedes-Benz Stadium and in tandem, are working with founding partners to create meaningful impact in the Westside communities.
Last year, Novelis, the world’s largest recycler of aluminum, joined the The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Atlanta Falcons, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium to create a program called Recycle for Good that built a Habitat for Humanity home in English Avenue.
“Recycle for Good’s mission is to inspire fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the greater community to recycle and by doing so, make an impact with every aluminum can they recycle. As part of Recycle for Good, every 3 million aluminum bottles and cans we collect for recycling will completely fund a Habitat for Humanity home and allow a working family to realize the dream of homeownership in the Westside community,” said Ashley Gravlee, manager of corporate social responsibility at Novelis.
Since Novelis is a local and international partner of Habitat for Humanity, and given the need for safe, decent and affordable housing in the Westside, it made for a perfect partnership to have the value of the recycled cans benefit Habitat. The goal was also to be bold and inspiring to fans by connecting the funding and building of an entire home with that of recycling aluminum bottles and cans
Through the collection of 3 million cans totaling $80,000, Rashawn A. Medley and her two young daughters got a home of their own.
“This home means the world to me and my family. It wasn’t an easy road for us to travel to make it this far, but now, I look forward our future here at our new home,” said Medley. “I hope and pray that my daughters remember this experience, become great leaders and appreciate all the people that have put their time and energy into helping us. And I hope they remember where we came from and what it took to make it where we are. I look forward to being involved and having my girls involved in the community.”
Recycle for Good is ongoing and wants to continue spreading the word about recycling and seeks the community’s help in building another home for a deserving family. In addition to recycling when at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, fans can support Recycle for Good in their own communities. Individuals and community organizations can collect cans and drop them off at Atlanta Habitat for Humanity. Businesses, schools and organizations can also begin a collection program to support the program.
Novelis and Recycle for Good partners want everyone who recycles at the stadium or collects cans to know that every can/bottle recycled gets a local family one step closer to having a safe place to call home.
“Westside residents yearn for the same things most of us take for granted: they want to feel safe walking down the street, feel good about the schools they send their kids to, have a job that allows them to take care of themselves and their families, and have a place to call home. And that is why Recycle for Good is so impactful. A home provides a sense of place, a sense of stability, and a sense of community,” said Frank Fernandez, vice president of community development of the Blank Family Foundation.
The goal is to continue the program and build more homes on the Westside over the next few years, using Mercedes-Benz Stadium as the primary collection point from Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United games.
In addition to building homes, the program is also aiming to recycle aluminum and get it out of landfills. In North America alone, more than $1.5 billion worth of aluminum is sent to landfills every year, despite the fact aluminum can be recycled forever. In Georgia, the value of aluminum going to landfill each year is more than $70 million.
“Novelis knows that this substantial value can be put to use in our communities to create jobs, help our environment and fund important community initiatives,” added Gravlee. “When people recycle, there are many benefits, and since aluminum is infinitely recyclable without losing its properties, recycling aluminum can be a sustainable funding source for communities and nonprofits.”
Extracted from AJC.