Longtime trail supporter advances vision to connect Atlanta
The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., and the PATH Foundation are excited to announce a $30 million donation from the James M. Cox Foundation that will provide the remaining philanthropic funding needed to complete the Northwest BeltLine trails. When combined with an earlier gift from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, philanthropic funding is now in place to complete the full 22-mile BeltLine trail corridor by 2030. With its mission to build trails in metro Atlanta, PATH has been a critical partner and is working closely with Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. on the project.
“As Mayor, I’m focused on drawing circles to bring us together in our city,” said Mayor Andre Dickens. “That’s usually a metaphor, but not when it comes to the BeltLine! I’m so excited that this gift will let us finish constructing that big, beautiful circle around Atlanta. Thanks to this generous donation from the James M. Cox Foundation, we will be able to complete the full 22-mile loop, bringing the trail’s promise of access, investment and equity to all parts of our great city. This is a truly transformative gift that will benefit generations of Atlantans to come.”
The James M. Cox Foundation and Jim Kennedy, chairman of the Foundation, have been actively engaged in building Atlanta’s trail network through the PATH Foundation since 1991. Kennedy helped launch the BeltLine by co-chairing its first fundraising campaign in 2007 and made an early gift that funded the development of the Eastside Trail. With the newest gift, Kennedy and the Foundation have given $44 million to help fund the BeltLine.
“From our experience building the PATH trails, we know what a difference it makes for people to be able to be outside, exercising, meeting neighbors and building the sense of community we all need. This is an important project for Atlanta, and we are happy to play a role in making it happen,” said Kennedy.
More than a redevelopment project that will ultimately connect 45 neighborhoods within Atlanta, the Atlanta BeltLine is working to create a more inclusive and equitable community through the creation of trails and parks. The project is bringing jobs, affordable housing, and an improved quality of life for the people surrounding the corridor.
“We are incredibly grateful to the James M. Cox Foundation for their support of the Atlanta BeltLine and knitting the City together through a trail network,” said Clyde Higgs, president and CEO of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. “The Atlanta BeltLine is one of the nation’s most ambitious redevelopment and transportation projects and is only possible with broad support across philanthropic, public, and private sectors.”
“The James M. Cox Foundation and Jim Kennedy have been Atlanta’s truest champions for trail connectivity,” said Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Executive Director Rob Brawner. “Their leadership in the BeltLine’s earliest days inspired others to bring the project to life, their catalytic investments in the Eastside and Westside Trails enabled Atlantans to experience the BeltLine’s transformative impact and this landmark gift will ensure the mainline trail is completed.”