By John Schaffner
editor@reporternewspapers.net

In just a couple of moments during the Spring luncheon of the Sandy Springs Society May 21, $17,000 was donated by the Society toward the purchase of 22 acres of parkland for the city of Sandy Springs and $1,000 was given to help preserve a 75-year-old water oak tree on Abernathy Road.

But, that was just a tenth of the total amount of philanthropic donations the Society is presenting to groups in Sandy Springs this year and less than 10 percent of the amount it has contributed since 1989.

In raw numbers, The Sandy Springs Society distributed $172,840 to organizations in the city during the past year and, since 1989, has distributed a cumulative total of $1,932,971, including the popular city turtle project.

During its luncheon, Society members learned that the organization’s two recent major events — the Garden Tour and Tossed Out Treasures — raised a total of more than $80,000.

The Sandy Springs Society is donating $17,000 toward the purchase by the city of property known as the Lost Corner Preserve, located at the corner of Dalrymple and Brandon Mill roads and within the 2000-foot Chattahoochee River corridor. It will ultimately become one of the city’s largest passive parklands.

Also, Society president Bev Ellithorp decided to spend her $1,000 discretionary fund as seed money to help the “Abernathy Oak” survive the Georgia Department of Transportation’s widening of Abernathy Road. Ellithorp dedicated her fund to mitigate the impact of road construction on the specimen tree.

Following is a listing of how the Society is distributing its philanthropic funds in 2008:

Heritage Sandy Springs, $54,600; Sandy Springs Conservancy (Lost Corner Preserve), $17,000;

Community Action Center, $15,500; Heritage Sandy Springs (dues for Society members), $14,840;

Adaptive Learning Center (support services for students), $10,000; Senior Citizen Services of North Fulton, $8,000; YMCA Prime Time, $7,500; Sandy Springs Mission, $7,000; Abernathy Arts Center, $5,000; Horizons, $5,000; Mary Hall Freedom House, $5,000; Prevent Blindness of GA, $4,300;

English for Successful Living, $4,000; Los Ninos Primero, $4,000; Franklin Pond Music, $3,000; Happy Tails Pet Therapy, $3,000; Leadership Sandy Springs, $2,000; Friends of the Developmentally Disabled, $1,100; President’s Discretionary Fund, $1,000, and Spirit of Sandy Springs Award, $1,000.