The Rockdale Foundation is a private, family foundation established by Bob Pattillo and Katy Barksdale in 1994. The Pattillo and Barksdale families have deep roots in the community and commerce of Rockdale County (Georgia) and it was in recognition of this heritage that the Foundation was named.

From 2000 to 2009 the Foundation focused on community development, education, and social enterprise.   Support was directed to local Atlanta community development projects such as the South Atlanta community, educational initiatives in partnership with Atlanta Public Schools, and microfinance in the Middle East and North Africa region.

In 2010, the Foundation began incorporating more international work with a strategic focus on education, leadership and children and youth.

After conducting site visits to several Sub Saharan African countries, Sierra Leone was chosen as a geographic focus. A country which had survived a brutal civil war and was poised for development, the Foundation began grantmaking in Sierra Leone in 2011.  The Foundation does make grants elsewhere in Sub Saharan Africa in order to gain knowledge for the work in Sierra Leone.


The Rockdale Foundation partners with organizations that demonstrate a vision for systemic change and a commitment to ethical leadership and the use of asset-based development approaches. We believe strong leadership and the leveraging of existing community assets are necessary to achieve sustainable impact. The foundation seeks to partner with organizations which value collaboration and share a similar vision.


Through site visits and referrals, the foundation partners with small, local non-government organizations that incubate ideas for the purpose of providing evidence to lead to scale and sustainability. The foundation also partners with larger organizations which work with governments, influence national policy and have the means to scale effective interventions.


The foundation partners with organizations supporting public education and the arts as part of a wholistic education.


Katy Barksdale

Joanna Adams

Winsome Hawkins

David Weitnauer


Recognize, Respect and Serve the human dignity of all people.


To partner with local leaders striving to help vulnerable children and youth achieve wholeness with a grantmaking emphasis in the areas of education, ethical leadership and community.


We achieve our mission by:

  1. Listening to the voices of those we serve
  2. Supporting innovative grassroots approaches
  3. Promoting ethical governance and policies which serve the underserved
  4. Encouraging collaboration and sharing of resources between individuals, organizations and government entities
  5. Strengthening the capacity of local leadership