Attorney Edward J. “Jack” Hardin, an advocate and leader in efforts to protect and enable homeless and poverty-stricken people for decades, will be honored with the Ben F. Johnson Jr. Public Service Award on Thursday, May 3, at Georgia State University College of Law.
“Jack Hardin epitomizes what the Ben F. Johnson Jr. Public Service Award represents. His selflessness and commitment to solving the problem of homelessness have made a tangible difference in our community. It is incredible how many people have benefitted from his work,” said Wendy F. Hensel, dean and professor of law.
Hardin is the co-founder and co-chair of Gateway Center and a founding partner at Rogers & Hardin. The Gateway Center, which works to end homelessness in Metro Atlanta through therapeutic programs and community collaboration, has served more than 35,000 individuals since opening in 2005. The center provides men, women and children with daily services such as a shower, laundry room, clothing closet and health clinic, as well as connects them to resources and partners in-house and throughout the Atlanta area.
“I am deeply moved by the inequity of poverty and being unhoused is poverty at its extremes,” said Hardin, a founding partner at Rogers & Hardin. “It is a problem we can and are solving in Atlanta; that is very satisfying.”
Hardin also chairs the Regional Commission on Homelessness and is vice chair of the board of Georgia Works!, an organization that helps chronically homeless men become self-sufficient through programs including transitional work.
“Jack is truly one of the most exceptional people in Atlanta,” said attorney Robert Glustrom, who serves on the Gateway Center board. “Jack has been the critical link between the various agencies and institutions working to solve seemingly intractable problems and has played an essential role in dramatically reducing homelessness in our community. He has a tireless work ethic and brings compassion and sensitivity to all he does and to all of whom he comes in contact.”
Hardin also is president of the Georgia Legal Services Foundation; a member of the board of Grady Memorial Hospital Corp., vice chair of the Fulton County Board of Health, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, former chair of the board of directors of the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta; and is a member of Georgia State Law’s Board of Visitors.
“I am the product of the generosity of others having been educated entirely on scholarship grants through all levels of my schooling,” Hardin said. “These unearned opportunities have impressed upon me what help at the right time of the right kind can do to elevate one’s life trajectory. I want to do that for others.”
Most recently, the Atlanta Business Journal named him one of Atlanta’s Most Admired CEOs for 2017. In 2016 he received the Leadership Character Award from the Turknett Leadership Group and the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.
The Ben F. Johnson Jr. Public Service Award will be presented at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 3, during an invitation-only ceremony at Georgia State Law.
“Receiving an award from the Georgia State Law that I have come to know and respect is heartwarming. Dean Johnson is a man I admired greatly as I do his son, a respected friend of mine,” Hardin said. “For that reason, it is special to have a recognition that bears the Johnson name. The past recipients of this award from the first recipient, Judge Elbert Tuttle, through the most recent recipient, Bobby Lee Cook, are outstanding and represent some of the finest lawyers our community has produced. I know and admire most of them personally and am especially honored that someone thinks I belong in their company.”