Vice President of Strategy and Engagement Moves to Babcock Foundation

Staff Report

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

On behalf of its Board of Directors and staff, the Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE) announces that Dwayne Patterson, Vice President of Strategy and Engagement and one of PSE’s longest supporters, has announced his resignation effective October 7, 2020. After more than 10 years standing with Founder and Chief Equity Officer Nathaniel Smith and a 25-year career as a community organizer throughout the nation, Patterson will continue to advance racial equity and shared prosperity as the new Chief Equity Impact Officer for the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation.

In 2007, Patterson and Smith met in Atlanta, where the two quickly became great friends and “brothers in arms.” Patterson was an anchor participant in the Atlanta delegation who attended the 2008 PolicyLink Equity Summit in New Orleans. The members of this delegation would eventually become Equity Atlanta, the precursor of PSE. Patterson was there when the initial concept of PSE was sketched out on a napkin in East Point, GA. In his commitment to realizing the vision, Patterson built and led PSE’s Organizing Unit, and became the organization’s first Director of Regional Organizing and Civic Engagement. In that role, he led the “Power of the Penny” movement to rally Clayton County residents to support the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority’s expansion into the county – the first expansion in the system’s 40-year history. Later on, Patterson’s expanded role as Vice President for Strategy and Engagement included advising on the most pressing strategic and operational issues, partnering with established organizations to ensure growth, organizational performance improvement, and assessing new opportunities for impact as the field evolved.

Patterson will continue to advance racial equity throughout the American South with the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation as the foundation’s first Chief Equity and Impact Officer, where he will lead their external equity work including supporting grantee partners as they set and advance their equity goals, help publicly document the foundation’s equity journey, and influence other foundations to lean into equity more fully. Patterson will also focus on grantmaking and refine the way the Babcock Foundation documents grantee partners’ outcomes and demographics using an equity lens – an area of growth emphasized by the inequities grantees have experienced because of COVID-19 and uprisings against systemic racism.

“This is a bittersweet moment for me,” said Smith. “Dwayne, along with so many others who have come through our doors, have made Atlanta and the American South a more equitable place because of their hard work, sacrifice, and dedication. While I won’t be working with Dwayne at PSE come October, I know that we will continue the work of racial equity for a long time in his new role with the Babcock Foundation.”

“I’ve been at PSE since the beginning and now it’s time to translate what we’ve learned as a grantee who has kept racial equity at the forefront of the minds of philanthropy and community for more than a decade to other grantees throughout the American South,” said Patterson. “This is not goodbye or even see you later. This is an evolution of the work. I’m honored to  have worked with PSE and look forward to this new effort with the Babcock team.”

“While transitions aren’t easy, I’m delighted for Dwayne and know that the Babcock Foundation and their equity efforts are stronger because of this strategic move,” said Chris Burke, PSE Board chairman. “During this time of transition, I would ask that the community support the PSE family as we adjust to best serve the needs of the equity ecosystem. Please join us in thanking Dwayne for all that he has poured into the PSE village. Now, in his words, ‘go change the world’ Dwayne.”

The Board has instructed PSE staff to begin the search for a new Vice President of Strategy and Engagement immediately. Interested applicants are encouraged to send their resumes and cover letters to careers@psequity.org and to apply at www.psequity.org/careers.