Knight Foundation Names Suzanna Valdez New Program Director for Miami

MIAMI – Suzanna Valdez, an experienced public sector professional, has joined the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as program director for Miami, where she will oversee all grant making for Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Valdez comes to Knight with an extensive background in public service, most notably serving in the Clinton Administration, where she was special assistant to the president and later deputy chief of staff at the Department of Labor. Most recently, she served as executive director of the Task Force on Television Management, where her duties included evaluating the impact of measurement technology on minority audiences.

As the foundation’s program director, Valdez will work with local leaders as well as Knight’s community advisory committee to find the most innovative opportunities for grant making. “We are delighted to have Suzanna’s experience in media, research and the public sector to lead our efforts to invest in projects that are truly transformational,” said Susan Patterson, director of Knight’s Community Partners Program.

Valdez is a graduate of the University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg, Texas, and holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Knight Foundation also welcomes J. Michael Pate as program director for Tallahassee. As the former president and publisher of the Tallahassee Democrat and chair of Knight’s local community advisory committee, Pate brings a wealth of knowledge about the Tallahassee community and grant making.

Pate is also the board chair for the Community Foundation of North Florida, a member of the board of trustees for the Florida State University Foundation and a member of the Board of Visitors for the Florida A&M University School for Journalism and Graphic Communication. He is a graduate of Florida State University.

“A combination of entrepreneurial spirit and experience implementing big ideas will drive these new program directors, who will no doubt be effective leaders in our communities,” said Patterson.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes journalism excellence worldwide and invests in the vitality of Miami, Tallahassee and other communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. To see and hear stories of Knight’s transformational funding, visit