The man who had purchased a 720-acre property in Tallapoosa in 2005 with the plan to create a sustainable boarding school campus to serve 800+ homeless, orphaned, trafficked and neglected children, called the World's Children Center, has put that property up for sale after his vision failed to materialize.
Don Whitney had announced in 2016 that phase one of his project was "successfully completed" and phase two was slated to begin in early 2017. However, when WLBB Radio last spoke with Whitney two years ago, he was not having a lot of luck finding investors.
Late last week, he released the following statement:
“It’s been a long journey and we’ve given it our all. We tried to do the right thing by working to provide hope and love for socially and economically disadvantaged children who we have a responsibility to help,” said Whitney. “For 15 years, we have had hundreds of meetings with investors, foundations, and local governments to spearhead this community for children. While there has been great interest with many investors and donors, in the end, no individual or foundation stepped up. We are extremely proud of the development, infrastructure (including roads, power, water, gas and fiber), and building construction progress to date, but our project phasing plan has grinded to a halt due to this lack of essential endowment and funding needed to sustain the project’s long-term operations. Without great partnerships with folks who share the same vision of helping children in the greatest of need, the dream of the World Children’s Center as a physical place cannot be fully realized, so we must change course. And so, after much prayer and soul-searching, it was decided that it is best to sell this magnificent property and use the proceeds to form a new foundation to help kids in a different way. The foundation will be called, appropriately, the World Children’s Foundation, in honor of the original vision of the World Children’s Center."
The completed project was slated to be built over a ten-year period and consist of public and private venues that help to ensure the well being of the children living at the center, as well as children who live in the surrounding communities and abroad.
Private venues include a Pre-K through 12th-grade school, pediatric wellness center, parks and playgrounds, Food and Clothing Distribution Training Center, International Humanitarian Development Center, worship center and 100+ homes.
The company's website claimed that the total economic impact of the World Children's Center during the first 10 years of its construction and operation was estimated to be at 450 million-dollars; and when complete would employ 300 full time associates.