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Celebrating ARCS Atlanta

Posted on Saturday, May 28, 2022

It is hard to believe that over 30 years ago a small group of Atlanta women gathered for lunch around my dining room table to hear about the national ARCS Foundation, and more importantly, its mission.  They represented a variety of Atlanta organizations – Arts, Medicine, Technology, Education, some women had specific careers while others represented leadership in the volunteer sector.  More importantly, each of these women had a reputation for commitment to Atlanta through community service, corporate giving and family philanthropy.

At that time, Atlantans had many other community projects that needed support, and our discussion centered around the challenges of starting a new Atlanta Chapter.  However, on a national scale, the ARCS message was powerful: support for the best and brightest science and technology scholars at Atlanta’s top-ranked educational institutions and the long-term benefits to our educational, corporate and public sectors.  

We created a strategy that worked.  We carefully selected a potential membership base that reflected diversity, and targeted those with a record of community service.  We committed to have a HBCU college included in our first donor pool, selecting the Biology department at Morehouse College.  We arranged for our first recruitment luncheons to be at Emory and Georgia Tech, setting the tone that this Chapter had STEM education as its primary goal. 

With gratitude to each of these women, we were able to lay the groundwork for the Atlanta Chapter, beginning with an allocation of $15,000 to 3 students to today’s incredible total of $6.5 million to over 1,000 individual scholar awards.

Today, we are celebrating three decades of funding STEM scholars by recently initiating our 30th Anniversary Endowment Campaign, soliciting one-time gifts to provide financial security for scholarship funding for the years ahead.  We are currently in the first phase of the campaign, having recently sent requests to former Chapter Presidents and long-term major donors, many of whom have been extremely generous to the Chapter over the last 30 years.

As the world of COVID vaccines makes us aware of the value of scientific research, ARCS Atlanta strengthens the pipeline of STEM talent in Georgia.  Along with the Founding Members of the Atlanta Chapter, I take such great pride in observing the continued commitment of our members which brings innovative technology to our state and nation. 

Thank you so much for being a member of the ARCS Atlanta family and I am truly grateful for your part in keeping our mission on a successful path.


With warm regards,


Mary O'Connor