Stephanie Blank said she’s always stressed kindness, a characteristic she got from her mother.
“True kindness is a way of being,” she said. “Nice is a superficial act. But true kindness … leaves an indelible impression that lifts up rather than tears down. Kindness isn’t weak or wishy-washy. It’s easy to be mean and petty, but it can be really hard to be kind.”
For that attitude, Blank received the Rotary Club of Buckhead’s Rev. Robert Ross Johnson Humanitarian Award Monday at its weekly lunch meeting at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Buckhead. The honor is named after a club member who died in 2000 and goes to a nonmember who exemplifies Rotary’s “service above self” motto.
Blank was honored for her philanthropic work, especially for children. She is the board president for the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students, which encourages kids to be educated as early as possible.
The Stephanie V. Blank Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Scottish Rite and Hughes Spalding campuses advocates for patients who are victims of neglect or abuse. Also, Blank previously served as board chair for the Children’s foundation and now serves on another board with the pediatric hospital system.
Blank is also involved with the United Way of Greater Atlanta, chairing its annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast in December. The United Way has identified ways to improve metro Atlanta children’s well-being and is working to accomplish that goal.
“She reminds me all the time of the important work the United Way is doing and reminds me of what more it should do. If there is a children’s champion in Atlanta, she meets the bar for that term,” said Milton Little, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Atlanta and one two individuals who presented the award to Blank before her acceptance speech.
Children’s President and CEO Donna Hyland, who also presented Blank with the accolade, said, “Her passion for children and ability to allow them to grow and learn is deeply rooted. It’s apparent in her own three kids (Kylie, Max and Joshua). Think about the factors that impact a child’s life. … Ask her anything about early learning. She’s a font of knowledge and will take any of you on to debate how important early learning is for a child.”
Blank donated a children’s book to each table at the luncheon and encouraged one individual at each table to take the book home and read it to a young child in his or her life.
In an interview after the meeting, the Inman Park resident it was “very humbling” to win the award.
“It really does make me aware of how much more we are all capable of,” she said. “There is so much need out there and so much more that we can do. I feel rejuvenated by this award. It’s inspired me to try to go out and do more.”