DeKalb County businessman donates thousands to healthcare workers during pandemic

Ryan Millsap opened Blackhall Studios in DeKalb County in spring of 2017. From the beginning, he knew that he wanted to be involved in the community having moved to Georgia from California.

Attracted to affordable real estate in the South and this booming film industry in Georgia, Ryan found community participation, particularly in his area of DeKalb to be rewarding. Active with Decide DeKalb, the South Metro CID, and other civic organizations he has accelerated his participation since opening. Some of those include sponsorship of activities by Chick-fil-A and “Broadway Stars” at Covenant House and he is the chairman of Advance DeKalb, an organization supporting economic development.

Touched by the bravery, courage, and contribution that the frontline healthcare community has exhibited here and around the world, Ryan knew he needed to make a contribution once again. Through his friend John Dickens, he was invited to participate in a project titled Healthcare Heroes ATL to reward the brave healthcare workers on the front lines.

Ryan said, “I was looking for something to do. I wanted to make a contribution. Everyone is so affected by the impact that the pandemic has had on us as individuals, but particularly those on the front line caring for hospitalized cases.”

“When my friend John asked if I wanted to join the effort in sending meals to area hospitals, I said, absolutely. Count me in. We are now contributing a thousand dollars a week to make this effort work through DAS BBQ barbecue and Dixie Q in Brookhaven.”

The program, through anonymous donors, contributes free meals and gift certificates to health care workers. Increasing participation is particularly important as the country celebrates Nurses Day, May 6. HealthCare Heroes ATL also generates revenue for the participating restaurants. Sandwiches with chips, cookies and sauce go daily to Kennestone, Grady, Piedmont, Children’s, St. Joseph’s and Northside hospitals. Millsap is now attempting to offer his contributions to Emory.

As he has accelerated his community participation in DeKalb, he hopes to exchange property with the county to increase the studio’s footprint by 1.2 million square feet, build out a 13 acre park along Bouldercrest for the parks department, provide the county with 40 acres of forest, support a new film academy to educate neighbors for careers in the film industry and further support community and DeKalb County development.

As Millsap plans his future, philanthropy will always be a part of the Blackhall Studios formula.

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