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Wife Honors Late Husband with Gift to the Grant Park Conservancy

By Shannon McCaffrey

Lawyer and community activist Richard “Dick” S. Perles was a tireless champion of Grant Park.  If you look at the park’s lush canopy, it’s likely you are seeing some of the trees Perles helped to plant and nurture. Now a generous gift in his honor will help continue that work.

Janice C. Griffith has established a $100,000 endowment for the Grant Park Conservancy, which her late husband helped found. The endowment’s goal is to help the conservancy preserve, restore, and beautify Atlanta’s oldest park. Perles had a particular interest in planting trees to replace those that had matured and Griffith said that effort should be a key focus of the endowment.

“From Dick’s perspective, Grant Park was an historic treasure that should be revitalized into a vibrant natural landscape with new trees and enhancements,” said Griffith. “He believed that the park should draw people closer to nature and give them the opportunity to enjoy well-kept public spaces in which residents of all ages could gather, relax, and embrace the habitat. In today’s COVID-19 environment, urban green infrastructure is even more important for recreation and quiet spaces.”

“This generous gift will allow us to continue the vision Dick Perles and others had when they established the conservancy: to create a vibrant and welcoming haven to connect with nature,” says Michelle Blackmon, the executive director of the Grant Park Conservancy.

Perles and Griffith moved to Atlanta from Connecticut in 1996 when she was named Dean of Georgia State University College of Law. The couple settled in Grant Park in 1997.

Perles had worked at several New York City law firms, specializing in commercial and tort litigation. In Atlanta, he set up a solo law practice and became deeply involved in the community. He was an elected representative of Neighborhood Planning Unit-W, a member of the Grant Park Neighborhood Association, and a volunteer with the Porch Press neighborhood newspaper. His legal work centered on local real estate and civic organizations. In 1999, he helped found the Grant Park Conservancy and served on its Board of Directors until his death in April 2005.

Perles attended the College of William and Mary before going on to Fordham University School of Law. In addition to his legal and community work, he was an avid sailor, making frequent trips to Savannah where he docked his prized sailboat.

To learn more about the Grant Park Conservancy visit www.gpconservancy.org or email mblackmon@gpconservancy.org.

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