CELEBRATE | November 19, 2019

$50 Million Gift to Establish Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College

Arthur M. Blank
Photo Credit: The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

On the opening day of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Babson College and The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation announced a new collaboration to advance and amplify values-driven entrepreneurial leadership on a global scale. With a $50 million investment from the Blank Family Foundation, Babson College will establish the Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership. The new school will create opportunities for the entire Babson community to lead change, solve global problems, and create sustainable value across business and society through learning, teaching, research, and engagement in entrepreneurial practice.

"The best companies provide world-class service to their customers and their communities," said Arthur Blank, co-founder of The Home Depot, owner of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons and Class of 1963 Babson College alumnus. "The next horizon of business education is equipping and connecting more entrepreneurial leaders who create solutions and growth by putting people first, leading by example, and giving back to others, especially to those in need. Values-driven entrepreneurship is good for the bottom line and for society.  

"As a world-class leader in business education, Babson College is perfectly positioned to blaze this new path," continued Blank. "I'm continually inspired by Babson students, faculty, and its global alumni network. I'm excited to see how they will continue to change businesses and communities for the better."

This is the largest grant ever given in the 25-year history of the Blank Family Foundation.

"As a game-changing icon of entrepreneurship, and one of America's leading philanthropists, Arthur Blank has transformed business and culture," said Babson College President Stephen Spinelli Jr., PhD. "With this groundbreaking partnership between the Blank Family Foundation and Babson College, Mr. Blank's investment will dramatically enhance our students' experience and help them develop the values-based, entrepreneurial leadership skills that will address grand challenges and positively impact any organization, from large corporations and investment firms to nonprofit agencies and new ventures.

"More than ever before, people at all stages of their lives and careers need the mindset and skills of an entrepreneur to thrive in rapidly changing environments and provide leadership that makes a meaningful impact and generates growth," continued Spinelli. "At Babson's Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership, every member of Babson's global ecosystem will have the opportunity to build and practice advanced skills so that they change the world through the innovations they introduce, the problems they solve, the jobs they create, and the sustainable values they instill in the organizations they impact."

Earlier this year, in response to the changes in higher education and society, the Babson community began a strategic planning process to chart a bold course forward for the College. The new Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership is a major investment in one of the emerging, key strategic principles that focuses on inspiring and empowering entrepreneurial leaders who will change the world. This strategic principle stems from the Babson community's vision to expand partnerships that enable experiential learning and giving back to the community, increase access and diversity, and amplify the impact Babson's people, programs, and research have on businesses and communities¾from Boston and Atlanta to cities and regions around the world.

To advance this strategic priority, the collaboration between Babson College and the Blank Family Foundation will provide:

  • Need-based scholarships that increase access and affordability for low-income students who show promise as entrepreneurial leaders but would not otherwise be able to afford college
  • Creation of the Blank Chair in Values-based Entrepreneurial Leadership to shape entrepreneurial leaders who are inclusive, innovative, and prepared to be community caretakers who change the world
  • Experiential learning that offers real-world problem-solving opportunities to enable learners to make an immediate impact in uncertain, rapidly changing, and technology-driven conditions
  • The development of an Entrepreneurial Village that will dramatically expand and enhance dedicated space for Babson community members to come together to create solutions and growth opportunities through collaborative learning and experimentation
  • Greater access to Babson's renowned entrepreneurial centers and institutes for award-winning cocurricular activities and global networks
  • Funding for applied research that generates practical, actionable outcomes to expand global understanding of entrepreneurship and address societal challenges

"For five decades, Arthur Blank has inspired countless Babson students, faculty, staff, and alumni," said Marla Capozzi, chair, Babson College Board of Trustees. "As the College embarks on its second century, the collaboration with the Blank Family Foundation will define the next chapter in entrepreneurship education. This powerful relationship will fuel the passions and capabilities of future generations of business leaders who will change companies, communities, and the world for the better."

In 1995, Babson College inducted Blank into its renowned Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs® in recognition of his entrepreneurial achievements to include his current family of businesses: AMB Sports + Entertainment in Atlanta, Georgia (National Football League's Atlanta Falcons, 2016 NFC champions; Major League Soccer's Atlanta United, 2018 MLS champions; and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, host of the 2019 Super Bowl); the 41-store, nationwide PGA TOUR Superstore, America's leading golf retailer; and AMB West in Paradise Valley, Montana (Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, West Creek Ranch, and Paradise Valley Ranch).

With a diverse portfolio of sports, entertainment, retail, and hospitality interests that serve a broad range of customers, the Blank Family of Businesses are guided by six core values: Put People First, Listen and Respond, Include Everyone, Innovate Continuously, Lead by Example, and Give Back to Others. Blank instilled these core values to drive all decision making while acting as a moral compass for the way his businesses serve fans, customers, guests, his Associate Family workforce, and the communities they live in.

In 1995, Blank started his Family Foundation and has since invested more than $425 million of his personal fortune in causes that directly benefit local, national, and global interests. The Foundation's mission is to promote innovative solutions to transform the lives of youth and their families, seeking results that move communities beyond what seems possible today. The Foundation invests in education, parks and greenspace, youth development, community redevelopment, veterans, and the arts, and it leads giving programs for each of the Blank Family of Businesses.

Mark is the executive vice president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network, a platform of programs and initiatives created by the communities… About the author