Atlanta Hawks star, Kevin Willis, and renowned event planner, Lauren Pelissier, have partnered together to launch the 42West Entertainment Group. The new event venue is focused on creating and hosting exclusive events for high-end occasions. From film and television productions, like red carpet premieres, the facility located on Atlanta’s West Side will offer top-tier amenities in a venue that is both private and easily accessible.
“I was looking for an event space venue, and I was originally looking at a building in Decatur,” Pelissier said. A commercial real estate agent was simultaneously showing Willis new spaces for his clothing line. They ended up looking at one of the same spaces that is now the 42West venue today. “Not only did our personalities totally jam, but we both came from a philanthropic foundation just in the way that he has this very successful nonprofit serving the inner-city of Atlanta kids, and I’ve worked in nonprofit my whole life.”
Pelissier spent years running a camp for homeless children for 20 years, and Willis started the Atlanta Children’s Foundation with his brother. “[Atlanta Children’s Foundation] started in 2002. We have a 200-acre campus in Toccoa, Georgia. Right now we probably have at least a capacity of 150 beds for kids to sleep tonight,” Willis told Oz. “We have so many opportunities for kids to grow, expand, build their trust, build their self-esteem in more of a family-oriented structure, where they feel part of something that is positive in their lives so we can redirect the course of their lives, so they can be productive students and productive people and parents as they advance in life.”
It comes as no surprise that 42West is designed to give back to the community. Every event will include a charity commitment with multiple nonprofits to choose from as beneficiaries. The goal is for paid events to be a funding stream so that Atlanta nonprofits can use the space at no charge.
“Neither Kevin nor I are driven by the dollar in the sense that we want to make money,” Pelissier explained. “We’ll take our experience of providing high-end experiences, whatever it may be, and then provide a give back that’s equal or greater than …. The idea is to have events throughout the months that will allow us to then give back to nonprofits and inner-city youth who need the space.”
“The story that was behind this was when we grew up someone impacted our lives in the same way. Somebody gave us an opportunity, somebody gave us a chance. And who knew I was going to play NBA basketball for 22 years, which was a tremendous blessing? But, without that chance, and someone saying, ‘I believe in you,’ and giving me that encouragement and building faith in me, it would’ve been a very difficult task. So, through all the blessings that I’ve had, I said, ‘You know what? I need to give back now. Now it’s my turn.’”
The 9000 square foot indoor and outdoor event space is located in Atlanta and will hold space for events including but not limited to, corporate functions, product launches, photo shoots, filming and social events.