Near the end of last Saturday’s thrilling Atlanta Falcons playoff win over the Seattle Seahawks, TV viewers suddenly found their attention drifting away from the on-field doings of Devonta and Matty Ice and towards a petite brunette standing on the sidelines of the Georgia Dome. Who was that woman quietly celebrating alongside Falcons owner Arthur Blank and his ear-to-ear grin, many wondered?
The Falcons didn’t respond to an interview request with Mrs. Blank, 48. So we did some digging and here’s what we found out about the new Falcons first lady:
She’s a devoted mother of three. “3 fabulous children,” as her Twitter bio puts it. She occasionally retweets mentions of their activities, mostly having to do with college soccer. Her bio at the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation says that “together (she and her husband) have nine children and five grandchildren who joyfully keep them busy year-round.”
Speaking of soccer, it’s what initially brought the couple together. In 2012, Arthur Blank met Macuga while attending soccer league games in which her children and his then-15-year-old son, Joshua, played. He later described he as “the poster child of what it means to be a soccer mom, and I mean that in a great way.” (Note: In April 2014, Arthur Blank was awarded a Major League Soccer expansion team. Atlanta United Football Club will begin play this year in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, currently under construction next to the Georgia Dome).
She’s a University of South Carolina-Sumter alum with a professional background in sales and marketing and branding. Having previously worked for Graphic Solutions Group and Boundless Network, she’s now a director of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, which funds numerous initiatives and grants in the areas of early childhood development, education, green space and the arts. The Foundation, where her husband is chairman of the board of directors, recently created the Westside Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, a $15 million long-term commitment to invest in the people and communities around the Georgia Dome and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Falcons’ home starting next season.
She’s a dedicated volunteer and powerful advocate for MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Georgia. In 2015, she served as co-chair of the 11th annual Walk Like MADD and MADD Dash fundraising walk/run held at Kennesaw State University. And last September, the inaugural Atlanta Falcon Rise Up and Run 5K/Walk Like MADD took place at the Georgia Dome — further evidence of what the Blank Family Foundation describes as a “year-round partnership to expand MADD’s presence across … Georgia” that Angela Blank has helped spearhead. In a Q & A she did with MADD in September 2015, she was asked about her motivation for getting involved with the organization. She responded: “I am the mother of teenage children who lost their father to alcohol, and the daughter of an alcoholic father … I wanted to educate my children about the dangers of underage drinking while they are still young.” She later added, “For anyone tempted to drink and drive, please realize that one irresponsible decision can last a lifetime or have a snowball effect, such as taking the life of a family member or loved one.”
She danced on TV with Ellen! That’s right, the video of her husband’s, um, “dancing” in the victorious locker room last Saturday may be a viral sensation, but he’s not the only hoofer in the family. In May 2015, the engaged couple was in the audience of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” when the host entered the studio. As is her wont, she singled out an audience member — in this case, Macuga — to dance along with her briefly. But that wasn’t the power couple’s only high-profile TV moment that day. To raise money for animal rescue group Start Rescue, DeGeneres announced she was auctioning off, on-the-spot, a replica of the wedding dress she’d worn in the 1996 movie, “Mr. Wrong.” The bidding began at $10, and eventually ended with a winning $8,000 bid by Arthur Blank. Or, as an apparently-clueless-to-his-identity DeGeneres referred to the billionaire Home Depot founder, “that man right there.” Sadly, we have no idea whether Macuga donned the Ellen dress for her recent nuptials with Blank.
Want more dancing? Then check out this clip of Mr. and Mrs. Blank moving like Jagger (to shamelessly steal a phrase from the AJC’s ace Falcons reporter, D. Orlando Ledbetter) on the sidelines Jan. 14. It comes courtesy of our WSB-TV colleague Zach Klein’s Twitter feed.