ChangeMakers: Carol Coletta

Carol Coletta is Senior Fellow, American Cities Practice, at The Kresge Foundation. In addition to leading the foundation's initiative, Reimagining the Civic Commons, she is on loan as president and CEO of the Memphis River Parks Partnership.

She previously served as vice president of Community and National Initiatives for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a national foundation with deep local roots in 26 cities across the U.S. At Knight she managed a portfolio of more than $50 million annually in grants and a team of 18 in 9 cities to drive success in cities. She was recruited to the foundation to lead a new portfolio created from a merger of two departments. Her strategic focus at Knight has been to understand how robust public life can accelerate talent, opportunity and engagement. To do that, she deployed grants, challenges, research, local leadership development, and national and local convenings of academics, policymakers and practitioners (with special emphasis on practitioners). In particular, she has led a national inquiry into the value of economic integration on America’s cities and how to achieve it.

Carol led the two-year start-up of ArtPlace, a unique public-private collaboration to accelerate creative placemaking in communities across the U.S. The collaboration includes 13 of the nation’s leading foundations, eight federal agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, and six of the nation’s largest banks.

Prior to being recruited to start ArtPlace, Carol was president and CEO of CEOs for Cities for seven years. The organization under her leadership was a Chicago-based national network of urban leaders in 45 of the nation’s top metro areas. She also led the Mayors' Institute on City Design, had her own public radio show, "Smart City," a popular retail store, "Magazine" and her own consulting firm.

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