Knight Foundation Appoints Strategic Initiatives Program Associate

MIAMI – Jeffrey Coates, who helped community groups create sustainable plans for post-Katrina New Orleans, has joined the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as a Strategic Initiatives program associate.  

Knight’s Strategic Initiatives Program supports innovative leaders and entrepreneurial organizations working across disciplines to promote informed and engaged communities. In his new post, Coates will help identify opportunities that can create transformational change. Specifically, he will review and evaluate grant proposals, coordinate special projects and study industry trends.

As data and reporting manager at the Greater New Orleans Disaster Recovery Partnership, Coates collaborated with more than 50 nonprofit and faith-based organizations to develop strategic plans for long-term human recovery. Before that, he was a supervisor with the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Recovery Program in New Orleans. He also cofounded the RALLY Foundation, a nonprofit that monitors and evaluates post-disaster programs. 

“Through his work in building community after catastrophic disasters, Jeff has a practical understanding of the importance of resident engagement and citizen voice. His experience will help Knight as it works to help ensure communities are engaged in the issues that matter most to them,” said Paula Ellis, Knight’s vice president for strategic initiatives. 

In addition, Coates has served as a Peace Corps community health volunteer in Guyana, an ethnographer in Oklahoma and an intern with the government of Sri Lanka.  He earned a bachelor of science in anthropology from the University of Oklahoma and a master of public health from Tulane University in New Orleans.

“Working in public health and disaster recovery nationally and internationally has given me a deep appreciation for the challenges innovators face in trying to bring about systemic –change – knowledge I’m excited to bring to Knight Foundation,” Coates said. 

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed, engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit

Contact: Marc Fest, Vice President of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677; [email protected]