Our Chief Equity Officer
Nathaniel Smith is the founder and Chief Equity Officer of the Atlanta-based Partnership for Southern Equity. A child of Southern Freedom Movement Activists, Smith works to advance racial equity through an equity agenda, which advances just outcomes that are sensitive to the needs and circumstances of communities – erasing the barriers that stand in the way of success to create the conditions that enable just and fair inclusion into a society in which all people can participate, prosper and reach their full potential.
Under Smith’s leadership, PSE created the South’s first equity-mapping tool, the Metro Atlanta Equity Atlas (now the Metro Atlanta Racial Equity Atlas), and led a coalition of diverse stakeholders to support a $13 million transit referendum that expanded MARTA into a new county for the first time in 45 years. PSE continues to support the racial equity ecosystem through the COVID-19 pandemic through its COVID-19 Rapid Relief Fund, which distributed more than $500,000 to more than 30 organizations because of the initial investment of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and the United Way of Greater Atlanta.
Smith’s leadership was instrumental in partnering with several organizations to create the Justice40 Accelerator, designed to provide organizations with innovative front-line community climate projects the assistance to better position them to pursue and win federal funding, and to hold accountable the Biden-Harris Administration’s executive order to direct 40% of federal climate action funds to disadvantaged communities.
"The people closest to the problem are closest to the solution.”
Smith’s accomplishments include numerous awards and distinctions, including:
- Named to Grist 50 by Grist Magazine in 2018 and the
- Atlanta Magazine's "Atlanta 500: Religion, Nonprofits, & Advocacy", 2021
- 100 “Most Influential Georgians” by Georgia Trend magazine.
- Inaugural recipient of Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders: Racial Equality award
- Co-chair of the Drawdown Georgia Leadership Council, which addresses climate change in Georgia through the intersection of climate and equity.
- Honored by the Georgia House of Representatives with a special proclamation recognizing his tireless efforts toward advancing racial equity.