Partnering with Leaders in Education


We work globally focusing on Education, Leadership and Children.

We support collaboration and the sharing of resources between individuals, organizations and Government.


Co-founder & President


Katy Barksdale is the co-founder and President of The Rockdale Foundation. In addition to her leadership on the foundation, Ms. Barksdale serves on the Boards of the John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Charitable Foundation and Medshare International. She is a Steering Committee member of the International Education Funders Group and a member of the Atlanta Rotary Club.

Ms. Barksdale previously worked for two U.S. Senators, practiced law and chaired several Boards, including the Atlanta Board of Education. She was awarded the Silver Medallion Award of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, was named a Hometown Hero of Atlanta and a YWCA Women of Achievement.

She received her J.D. degree from Emory University School of Law, attended Hollins College, and earned her B.A. degree from the University of Georgia.

Executive Director


Jody Stephenson is Executive Director of The Rockdale Foundation. In addition to her role with the foundation, Ms. Stephenson is the Founder of SitterTree and previously launched The Dress Project, and Go Shop!.

She currently serves on the Board of Soaring Heights Communities and is a Steering Committee member of the International Education Funders Group.

Ms. Stephenson is a graduate of Oglethorpe University.


Our Board

Katy Barksdale
Joanna Adams
Winsome Hawkins David Weitnauer
Genia Cayce


Our History

The Rockdale Foundation is a private, family foundation established by Bob Pattillo and Katy Barksdale in 1994. The Pattillo and Barksdale families have deep roots in the community and commerce of Rockdale County, Georgia, and it was in recognition of this heritage that the Foundation was named.

From 2000 to 2009 the Foundation focused on community development, education, and social enterprise.   Support was directed to local Atlanta community development projects such as the South Atlanta community, educational initiatives in partnership with Atlanta Public Schools, and microfinance in the Middle East and North Africa region.

In 2010, the Foundation began incorporating more international work with a strategic focus on education, leadership and children and youth.

After visiting several Sub Saharan African countries, Sierra Leone was chosen as a geographic focus. A country which had survived a brutal civil war and was poised for development, the Foundation began grantmaking in Sierra Leone in 2011.  The Foundation does make grants elsewhere in Sub Saharan Africa in order to gain knowledge for the work in Sierra Leone.