Car Dealer Helps Atlanta Park Shift Into High Gear

This is a guest post from Sharna Fulton, Director of Communications at Chastain Park Conservancy in Atlanta. Businesses are supporting nonprofits in all sorts of ways, both big and small. Are you a business, nonprofit or do-gooder that has a story to share? I would love to hear from you!

As a builder in the upscale Buckhead district of Atlanta two decades ago, Ray Mock never thought he’d one-day care for Atlanta’s most prestigious 268 acre park.

But this morning, instead of unlocking doors for new homeowners of a million dollar home, his keys open padlocks on a barn door. Inside is a new truck donated by Atlanta auto dealer Hennessy Ford Lincoln.
 
As the Director of Operations for the Chastain Park Conservancy (CPC), Ray was recently honored for his tenacious service at CPC’s ten-year anniversary fall fundraiser concert.

“It’s been a big month for us,” said Ray, as he steps into the new Ford F-150.

Ray's off to chauffeur volunteers to a job site where they’ll plant sod and beautify a street corner. He’ll then drive to the wholesale nursery and nonprofit tool rental place. Later, he’ll deliver trees to be cut into firewood.

And while the vehicle will be a workhorse for the park, it will also deliver a powerful halo to the auto dealer that donated it. Thousands of park goers will see just how much Hennessy Ford Lincoln shares their love for the park. That’s the kind of invaluable goodwill ad dollars can't buy.
 
Ray's journey to transform the CPC began nearly 17 years ago when he and is neighbors began caring for the park. 

“We’d plant a few flowers on a corner and notice they were still there the next day,” said Ray.

In 2004, the group organized as Chastain Park Conservancy, a nonprofit whose mission is to restore, enhance, maintain and preserve the park.
 
The CPC has come a long way since those flowers on a corner.

With two full-time and two part-time staffers, plus a highly devoted Board and Advisory Committee, the Conservancy has brought in $4.2 million this year towards its $5.2 million capital campaign. Funds raised will fund a wider and safer walking path, and a new 40,000 square foot playground.

“These additions are icing on the cake for all that Chastain already offers,” said Ray.  

Whatever it takes to support the city’s maintenance of Chastain Park is what drives Ray Mock. That and his new Ford truck.