Partnering with Leaders in Education

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 conducting site visits to 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.


Our Approach

The Rockdale Foundation partners with organizations that demonstrate a vision for systemic change and a commitment to ethical leadership and the use of asset-based development approaches. We believe strong leadership and the leveraging of existing community assets are necessary to achieve sustainable impact. The foundation seeks to partner with organizations which value collaboration and share a similar vision.


Our Values

We value and build upon traditional culture and local assets.
We listen to local leaders who have the best understanding of the needs and assets of their communities.
We support the capacity building of local leaders.
We believe education should be inclusive of all children.
We promote ethical governance and policies
We encourage collaboration and the sharing of resources between individuals, organizations and government entities.
We value interdependent partnerships based on trust, mutual respect, shared accountability and open communication.  


Our Board

Katy Barksdale
Joanna Adams
Winsome Hawkins
David Weitnauer
Genia Cayce