On Thursday, October 14, 2021, the Council for Quality Growth held its 32nd annual Four Pillar Tribute honoring Ambassador Andrew J. Young, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and current Chairman of the Andrew J. Young Foundation. This year’s theme was “Peace in the Midst of Struggles.” The dinner and Tribute were held at the Georgia Ballroom inside the Georgia World Congress Center with over 1,100 guests and another 400 watching the live stream.
In addition to serving as a U.S. Ambassador and Chairman of his foundation, Andrew Young has demonstrated a lifetime of dedication to service and leadership as Mayor of Atlanta, a member of Congress, an ordained minister, and a champion of civil and human rights. With the Four Pillar Award, he joins a prestigious group of individuals who have made significant contributions and philanthropic efforts towards economic development and quality of life in the metro Atlanta region. Throughout the civil rights movement, the 1995 Olympic Games, and his term as Mayor, Ambassador Young continuously practiced peace as he pushed Atlanta toward international recognition.
Doug Jenkins, the 2021 Chairman of the Council for Quality Growth and Georgia Power’s Vice President of the West Region, presented Ambassador Young with the award. In his acceptance, the Ambassador recalled stories from the beginning of his involvement with the City of Atlanta, from ending a sanitation strike with Mayor Ivan Allen to setting up the lottery to benefit our state’s educational system with Governor Zell Miller. He recalled the vision for Atlanta that has existed long before our time, saying “the dreams were always there. Atlanta was not something that was built by recent generations. There is no way that I can explain the miracle that is Atlanta than by the kind of people in this room and your predecessors who built everything we walked through trying to get here and made it possible to be for us to be as successful and as happy and as wonderful as we are.” He added, “the struggles continue, but we shall overcome.”
The Four “Pillars” represent the four principles on which the Council for Quality Growth was founded – Quality, Responsibility, Vision, and Integrity. A respectable group of speakers paid tribute to the Ambassador, speaking to each of these principles present in his life. On “Quality,” Mr. Paul Rosser, Board Member of the Andrew J. Young Foundation, spoke to the quality of life that Ambassador Young has brought not only to the people of Atlanta, but to those across the world. On “Responsibility,” Andrew Young III, Board Member of Greenwood and the Ambassador’s son, spoke about his father’s fulfillment of our responsibility as humans to care for each other. On “Vision,” Ed Bastion, CEO of Delta Air Lines, spoke of the Ambassador’s vision for change that only continues to increase in scope. Finally, on “Integrity,” Mrs. Billye Aaron, Co-founder of the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation, spoke about Ambassador Young leaving “footprints of integrity” as he never tires of serving the least among us.
Michael Paris, President & CEO of the Council for Quality Growth, added, “tonight we were reminded of the great privilege it is to have Ambassador Young to guide us through our challenges and successes as a great City. His imprint will live for generations to come.”
Re-wired journalist Monica Pearson and former Mayor Bill Campbell emceed the evening. They took a moment to recognize the Ambassador as a recipient of the highly revered Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded by President Jimmy Carter in 1981. President Carter also provided a congratulatory letter for the Ambassador, part of which was read aloud at the Tribute.
Welcoming remarks were provided by Governor Brian P. Kemp as well as congratulatory remarks from Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Musical tributes throughout the evening included Zoe Upkins, contestant on The Voice, and BeBe Winans, a six-time Grammy winning artist. The Ambassador’s Tribute also featured personal video messages from Vice Present Kamala Harris, President Bill Clinton, and a surprise video performance from singer Vince Gill, who fittingly sang his unpublished song, “March On, March On,” about the ongoing fight against racism in America.
An esteemed group of Tribute Chairs were selected pay tribute to Ambassador Young for his lifelong dedication to service and demonstration of the ‘Four Pillars,’ including:
• Billye Aaron
• Ed Bastian
• Paul Bowers
• John Hope Bryant
• Dan T. Cathy
• Shan Cooper
• Rawson Haverty
• James C. Kennedy
• Charlie Loudermilk
• Tim Mapes
• Egbert Perry
• James Quincey
• Paul Rosser
• T. Dallas Smith
• Louis Upkins
• Mack Wilbourn
• Chris Womack
• Andrew Young III
The Four Pillar Tribute recognizes an outstanding individual who demonstrates the ‘Four Pillars’ of leadership – Quality, Responsibility, Vision, and Integrity – and exemplifies the Council’s mission of promoting balanced and responsible growth. The Council is proud to add Ambassador Andrew Young to its list of Four Pillar Award recipients.
The Council for Quality Growth required that proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event be shown for entry into this year’s Four Pillar Tribute. Additional information about the steps taken to reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19 can be found at https://www.fourpillartribute.com/home/health-safety/.
A free, live stream of the event was also made available. The full recording of the Tribute can be found at https://www.councilforqualitygrowth.org/re-watch-the-2021-four-pillar-tribute-honoring-ambassador-andrew-j-young/.
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