Nathaniel Smith, MS Urban Policy Analysis and Management ’00, has earned praise as the founder and chief equity officer/CEO for the Partnership for Southern Equity, where he leads efforts to advance growth and opportunity in the metropolitan Atlanta region and the American South.
That praise has come from people from around the country, including Mark Ruffalo. Recently, the actor and activist nominated Smith, a Milano School alum, to appear on the Grist 50, a list of “people who are cooking up the boldest, most ambitious solutions to humanity’s biggest challenges.”
“We like to call these forward-thinking phenoms ‘Fixers,’” according to the nonprofit online magazine. “They are leaders who will actually make you feel good about the future.”
In his short essay on Smith, Ruffalo praised him for sparking “a new kind of discussion around equity and environmental justice in Atlanta that’s made an imprint on the city.”
“He’s done that through PSE and its programs, but it’s also how he sees the intersections at the local level. He’s a real weaver,” writes Ruffalo, who knows Smith through his work at the Solutions Project, which made an investment in the Partnership for Southern Equity. “What’s incredible about Nathaniel is that he has this ability to not just talk to, but connect with, all kinds of people. He can talk to people who look like him and who don’t, with people who have his life experience and who don’t. It’s really rare.”