The Sullivan Center, Inc. Launches "A Garden Party" Fundraiser

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Fox 5's The Georgia Gang Host and Atlanta Business Chronicle Columnist Dick Williams will emcee "A Garden Party," this year's fabulous fundraiser for The Sullivan Center, Inc., which provides help with dignity to individuals and families in crisis in the Atlanta area. With live and silent auctions offering something for everyone, Atlantans will enjoy music, drinks, hors d'oeuvres and networking, while benefiting a worthy cause. Tickets are now on sale to the public for the Sept. 22 gala at 999 Peachtree, 6th floor, in Midtown from 7 -10 p.m. "There are certain charitable causes that just resonate with liberals and conservatives. "It's more a hand up than a hand out…and a helping hand," said Williams.

Fox 5's The Georgia Gang Host and Atlanta Business Chronicle Columnist Dick Williams will emcee "A Garden Party," this year's fabulous fundraiser for The Sullivan Center, Inc., which provides help with dignity to individuals and families in crisis in the Atlanta area. With live and silent auctions offering something for everyone, Atlantans will enjoy music, drinks, hors d'oeuvres and networking, while benefiting a worthy cause. Tickets are now on sale to the public for the Sept. 22 gala at 999 Peachtree, 6th floor, in Midtown from 7-10 p.m.

"There are certain charitable causes that just resonate with liberals and conservatives. It's more a hand up than a hand out and a helping hand," said Williams. "What they accomplish just dazzles me."

Drawing from the Center's Garden Program the theme of "Planting Seeds of Hope" is the mission of the Center and all its programs, which is to enable people to make choices that lead to increased self-reliance.
Sister Sullivan hopes the summertime ripens her garden -- and brings in a fresh wave of donations. Tickets to the Party start at just $50. Be there to win tickets to an array of entertainment venues from professional sports and performing arts to a fusion of restaurants. And for the adventure-seeker, a fun St. Simon's Island vacation and extraordinary Montana ranch getaway are on the auction block.

"Sister Sullivan is a social service diva," said the Center's Employment Counselor Jim Fleming. "And it's pretty well-known all over if you get financial aid from The Sullivan Center, Inc. you had to do XYZ."

The Garden Program offers neighbors and youth an opportunity to sustain an on-site garden and bring to market its organic fruit, vegetables and flowers, while learning life skills in financial management, nutrition, leadership and good work ethics. It also runs a youth camp in partnership with University of Georgia and All Saints Catholic Church.    

Under the guidance of Sister Sullivan a small staff and many volunteers provide employment mentoring and administer financial aid that empowers those in crisis to help themselves emerge from temporarily difficult circumstances. Their misfortunes come from unexpected illness or disability to death in the family or the loss of a job.

Ninety percent of applicants met eligibility requirements this year, but due to funding restraints the Center can accept only an average of 75 applicants per month, or about one third of those who applied.

"A $500 cash gift could give a real boost to a person who loses a job and still has bills coming in," said Sister Sullivan. "To really put an average family who comes in here on its feet, I really need $1,000 for rent, utilities and transportation."

One hundred percent of the event's proceeds are used to support the Center, so you can bid or donate with the confidence that preventing homelessness is a cost-effective use of your contribution dollars, said Sister Sullivan, who is the Center's Executive Director, and has been serving the community since 1983.

After raising more than $17,000 at last year's event, the fundraising alliance set a goal to triple that amount this time. Working together are CBeyond's Terry Trout, a Sullivan Center Board Member and 2007 Women in Technology Woman of the Year Award recipient, and Mary Trantow, president of Dunwoody's All Saints Catholic Church Women's Guild and co-chairwoman of the event.

Already sponsoring at the Platinum level are CBeyond, and at the Gold Level Denmark The Agency, SDOC Publishing, and BeavEx Inc.
Individuals and businesses can be recognized for their various levels of contribution on the Center's web site and the gala auction brochure.

For tickets and sponsorship opportunities call Mary Trantow at 770-457-6061 or visit http://www.thesullivancenter.org.

About The Sullivan Center:
Sister Marie Sullivan uprooted herself from the inner city streets of Kansas City, Missouri, to get a master's degree in social work from St.Louis University, and she went on to establish herself as a leader of innovative crisis intervention solutions for the assistance communities of Atlanta. In 1983 she was brought here by Christian Council of Metropolitan Atlanta to manage its Outreach Ministry. A year later the Outreach Ministries under Sister Marie's direction were incorporated under the name Christian Emergency Help Centers. Sister Sullivan would lead the charge toward homeless prevention as its Executive Director.

After two more years of coalition building in 1986 Sister Sullivan created the Metropolitan Atlanta Clearing House, the first ever centralized computerized database for Atlanta area assistance agencies and organizations. In the early 1990's MACH spun off to become separately incorporated as Pathway Community Network. The Help Center's board renamed it The Sullivan Center, Inc. in 1994 in honor of Sister Sullivan's immense contributions to her adopted city of Atlanta.

Today the Center follows Sister Sullivan's unique approach of teaching people to find non-dependent solutions to their financial problems and is demonstrating a successful model for the assistance community. The success of the Center's financial management classes have already created a model adopted by other agencies in the metro area, including South Decatur Cooperative Ministries, St. Vincent de Paul and Stepping Ahead. The Center's inclusion of job training and counseling has led the way to full-time gainful employment for many of the program's participants. For some, the Center's food pantry serves their primary need. Other individuals drop in for help understanding various legal documents such as eviction notices. Sister Sullivan continues to build coalitions to meet more than just the basic needs of those in need following her motto, "A bed and a meal doesn't change a person's life."

The Center is a community partner of The United Way for which it created a citywide information and referral hotline that became its 211.

For more information or to give a donation log on to http://www.thesullivancenter.org, call (404)753 -0531 or visit Sister Sullivan at 643 Dill Ave. NW Atlanta Mon-Fri 10 a.m to 4:30 p.m.

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