Susan Patterson to retire as Knight Foundation program director for Charlotte

Press Release

October 7, 2015


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Oct. 7, 2015 – Susan Patterson, program director for Charlotte at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will retire at the end of the year, the foundation announced today.


"Outgoing Knight director reflects on Charlotte’s progress" - in The Charlotte Observer, 10/8/2015

Susan P. Patterson

Susan Patterson (larger image)

“Susan came to Knight Foundation with the same mission she had as a reporter, editor and publisher of Knight-Ridder newspapers. To strengthen the communities she served by helping them be better informed and more engaged in shaping their own futures,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation. “She has been a leader at Knight, a valued colleague and a dear friend.”

Patterson joined the foundation in 2001 and developed Knight investments in Charlotte that included: the Carolina Thread Trail; the Cultural Facilities campaign and naming of Knight Theater; Crossroads Charlotte, a community-wide engagement project; laptops for elementary students in Project LIFT; the Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte, and most recently, expansion of Center City Partners’ work in the Historic West End.

“Susan has done a superb job positioning Knight to help Charlotte continue to attract talent, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of engagement,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. “Even as we search for a successor, Susan will be driving new grantmaking in Charlotte, starting with the Knight Cities Challenge which is open through Oct. 27.”

Previously, she also led the foundation’s work in Georgia and South Carolina, and was program director for the communities program, based in Miami, covering the 26 cities where Knight invests. She was also one of the managers who was instrumental in leading the Knight Community Information Challenge, an effort to engage community foundations across the country in meeting the information needs of those they serve.

Before joining the foundation, Patterson was editor-publisher of the Union-Recorder in Milledgeville, Ga., and previously worked at The Charlotte News and The Charlotte Observer.

“What I’ve treasured most are the friendships with my Knight colleagues and my relationships with civic and nonprofit leaders across the community. It’s been such a privilege to work alongside all of them,” Patterson said.

“I once thought there could be no better job than running a small town newspaper,” she continued. “But I found one at Knight. I’m so grateful for all that it has offered, and for the opportunity it has given me to contribute to Charlotte, the community my husband George and I so love, and have chosen as our home.”

The search for Patterson’s successor has begun. Knight is looking for candidates that will build Charlotte’s momentum for success and help the city attract and keep talent, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of civic engagement. Any interested candidates should email: [email protected].

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit



Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646, [email protected]