Georgia Tech Receives $30 Million Grant from The Kendeda Fund

The Georgia Institute of Technology has received a commitment for $30 million from The Kendeda Fund to build what is expected to become the most environmentally advanced education and research building ever constructed in the Southeast. The investment represents The Kendeda Fund’s largest single grant and ranks among the largest capital gifts ever received by Georgia Tech.

Given the Southeast’s heat, humidity and variable fresh water supplies, the development of any building aiming for zero net energy and water consumption brings unique challenges. Building a facility that meets Living Building Challenge 3.0 criteria — as The Kendeda Fund and Georgia Tech hope to do — will provide the opportunity to create a living-learning laboratory for hands-on educational and research opportunities that will be a model for the region and similar environments around the world.

According to Georgia Tech, the project will be integrated into the Institute’s Eco-Commons, a series of campus green spaces designed to conserve natural resources, including energy and water, and provide the community with educational and recreational amenities. This endeavor not only supports Georgia Tech’s goal to use its resources as efficiently as possible, but also manages stormwater runoff and helps protect drinking water sources.

“Georgia Tech is honored to partner with The Kendeda Fund on this groundbreaking project. The Living Building Challenge aligns with our longstanding vision for the campus and provides a unique opportunity to physically demonstrate how Georgia Tech practices thoughtful stewardship of all of our resources and how our innovative thinking can transform future generations,” said Steve Swant, executive vice president for Administration and Finance at Georgia Tech. “These are disciplines we have proudly instilled in our campus master planning as well as our academic, research and community outreach efforts.”

The Kendeda Fund has committed to investing $25 million over the next several years to privately fund 100 percent of the design and construction costs of the project as well as an additional $5 million to support programming activities. The Kendeda Fund and Georgia Tech intend for the project to become the first Living Building Challenge 3.0-certified facility of its size and function in the Southeast.

The Living Building Challenge is a program, advocacy tool and philosophy that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability possible in the current built environment. Meeting the challenge requires close adherence to some of the most stringent building performance standards in the world. To be certified under the program, a building must meet all the program requirements over a full 12-month period of continued operations and full occupancy. 

“We could not imagine a better partner than Georgia Tech to join us in pursuing the Living Building Challenge,” said Barry Berlin, a long time advisor to The Kendeda Fund who oversees its investments and Atlanta-area philanthropy. “This project builds on nearly two decades of work by The Kendeda Fund to advance sustainability throughout Atlanta’s built environment. We look forward to helping an entire region learn what’s possible as we embrace the most rigorous building performance standards in the world.”

Pending final approval by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents and reaching defined milestones, the goal is to begin construction in 2017 with occupancy targeted for late 2018 and building certification planned for 2020.

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About The Kendeda Fund

The Kendeda Fund is one of the leading philanthropic investors in civic and environmental programs in the Atlanta area, and is committed to providing solutions to social and ecological challenges at the local and national levels. The Fund accomplishes its mission by advancing green building design, community-design and public interest architecture; championing community wealth building and sustainability strategies; and leveraging innovation of cities to advance equity and sustainability. Previously, The Kendeda Fund provided $300,000 in funding for Georgia Tech’s Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business. Learn more at


About the Georgia Institute of Technology

The Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech, is one of the nation’s leading research universities, providing a focused, technologically based education to more than 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Georgia Tech has many nationally recognized programs, all top-ranked by peers and publications alike, and is ranked in the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News and World Report. It offers degrees through the Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Sciences, the Scheller College of Business, and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech has more than 100 centers focused on interdisciplinary research that consistently contribute vital research and innovation to American government, industry, and business.

News Contact

Laura Diamond 
Georgia Tech Media Relations