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Bob Hope to address Rotary Club of Brookhaven this week

Will Rogers once said there are two kinds of people on earth – those who march in the parade and those who sit on the curb and watch.If you march, you have only one view your entire life.However, if you sit on the right curb, you see marvelous things.

Bob Hope has spent his life on a marvelous curb observing remarkable people and events.He started working for the Atlanta Braves while in college and became the team’s director of public relations and promotions at age 24.He managed the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at age 25.And he was with Hank Aaron during the chase to break the all-time home run record of Babe Ruth.

When Ted Turner bought the team, he was promoted to vice president at age 29 and worked not only for the Braves but also the Turner-owned Atlanta Hawks and for Turner’s TV station, handling marketing for the Braves and the TV while also running the Hawks operation.At Turner’s newly bought Hawks, he was ordered to cut the team’s payroll in half so it would lose games and get the top draft choice to start rebuilding.However, his hodge-podge of rookie and castoff players started the season 11-1 and made the playoffs, and the coach was named NBA Coach of the Year.He also was in charge of the first successful NBA All-Star Game, which was played in Atlanta.

He left Turner to work on sports, particularly the Olympics, for The Coca-Cola Company and then decided to go into the public relations agency business so he could work for both Coke and Turner, which led to a career in New York in a top job of the world’s largest public relations firm.

Along the way, he has been involved in many Olympics, including Atlanta.He helped several cities with their campaigns to land major league sports franchises – Charlotte in the NBA, Miami, Denver and Washington in Major League Baseball, Ottawa in hockey, and Atlanta in the WNBA.

He also attempted to open the doors to girls and women as baseball players, creating the Colorado Silver Bullets professional baseball team of elite women athletes, which traveled the world for four years playing against men’s amateur, college and minor league professional teams.The team was managed by former Braves star pitcher Phil Niekro.His involvement with the Silver Bullets led to a 14-year stint on the board of Billie Jean King’s Women’s Sports Foundation and six years as the only male on its executive committee.The WSF is the chief lobbying organization in favor of equal education opportunities, including sports, for women in colleges and universities.He was, in fact, the only male testifying before Congress in support of Title IX.He represented dads with daughters.He is recipient of the President’s Award of the Women’s Sports Foundation presented for creating opportunities for girls and women.

Bob has an intense interest in understanding developing countries and the components that create peace among nations.

For five years, he promoted the Friendship Games, a basketball tournament in Israel of college age players from countries in conflict, primarily countries from the Middle East.The tournament was designed to create understanding among the teams and their chaperones who were typically high-ranking government officials.

For the past 21 years, he has organized a group of business leaders to travel to rural Honduras for one week each spring to work on schools, in villages and in medical clinics.He formed HAVE Foundation (Honduras Agalta Valley Education) to help fund the schools that his group helped build.The group now totals about 70 travelers each March, including notables like Vince and Barbara Dooley, a former Chicago Bears football player, two Broadway singers and a host of CEOs.The group has also installed hundreds of water filters in homes in the tiny mountain villages.

Bob is on the Board of Councilors of Carter Center and has traveled twice for two-week stints in Nepal as an election observer, working in the far-flung small villages and rural areas of the tiny country.

He is currently working with Andrew Young to lead the effort to move assets of the Nobel Peace Prize to Atlanta, including recurring Nobel Peace Summits, creation of a Nobel Peace District in the city, and the creation of a Nobel Peace University to study world peace.

He has served for years on the clean water coalition of the Task Force for Global Health.Through his business, he is involved in promoting water filters as a solution to clean water challenges around the world.

Bob is an active Rotarian, a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta.He was vice chairman and emcee of the Rotary International Convention, which hosted 40,000 attendees in Atlanta in 2017.He is recipient of the Rotary International “Service Above Self Award,” the highest honor bestowed by the board of Rotary International.He has been Rotarian of the Year in the district and is the only member in the history of the Rotary Club of Atlanta to receive four of its top awards – hospitality, community service, international service and service to Rotary.

In the community, he has received an assortment of honors:

  • Hospitality Hall of Fame by the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau,
  • Father of the Year by the American Diabetes Association,
  • Most Admired CEO by the Atlanta Business Chronicle,
  • 100 Most Influential Atlantans by the Atlanta Business Chronicle
  • 500 Most Powerful Atlanta Leaders by Atlanta Magazine
  • George Goodwin Award for Community Service from the Public Relations Society of America

Robert E. (Bob) Hope is a veteran of the public relations and event marketing business.He is co-owner and president of Hope-Beckham, an independent agency based in Atlanta.

Hope and longtime friend Paul Beckham started Hope-Beckham 24 years ago by purchasing the assets of Whittle Communications.

Clients have included Chick-fil-A Foundation, Turner Broadcasting, Belk, The Coca-Cola Company, Southern Company, Home Depot, Comcast and a variety of sports teams and leagues as well as non-profit organizations.

He is author of two books – “We Could Have Finished Last Without You” about his early days with the Braves, and “Greater Late than Never” about people who achieved their life’s success after age 50.

He is active in the community and serves on several boards:

  • Founder and on the board of HAVE Foundation
  • Board of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Board of Councilors of the Carter Center
  • Investigative Committee of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church
  • Trustee of the Georgia Global Health Alliance
  • Board of the Georgia Intellectual Property Alliance
  • Board of Covenant House Georgia, co-chair of its “Night of the Broadway Stars” fundraiser

He has served on the boards of the Atlanta Braves and Ottawa Senators.

He was married for 47 to Susan, who died of cancer in 2017, and has two adult daughters and four grandchildren.

Susan inspired him to be involved in community service.Since her death, the refugee store at IRC has been named for her, Children Read dedicated last year to her as its “Year of Hope”, and the counseling center at the Hope Middle School in Honduras is now the Susan Hope Counseling Center.

Posted by Tony Shaffer
October 1, 2019

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