The Equity Ecosystem: Just Energy, Just Opportunity, Just Growth

Although the Partnership for Southern Equity is the brainchild of its founder, Nathaniel Smith, its rightful owners and custodians are the “Beloved Community” of stakeholders who faithfully support its work. As PSE matures, it has spawned a multi-faceted movement – an “equity ecosystem” – the sum of which is greater than any individual component.
PSE defines an equity ecosystem as … a network of organizations and individual champions who make decisions, utilize resources and work collectively to advance a mutual agenda for just inclusion.PSE works to build and strengthen an equity ecosystem necessary for systemic change, through consensus building, issue framing, training, policy advocacy, and collective impact organizing.
Our Mission: The Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE) advances policies and institutional actions that promote racial equity and shared prosperity for all in the growth of metropolitan Atlanta and the American South.  Since 2008, the Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE), an Atlanta-based nonprofit, has been advancing the cause of equity through a ecosystem-based model for multi-demographic engagement in the City of Atlanta and the surrounding metropolitan region – a bustling area emblematic of many Southern communities riven by racial, economic and class disparities.
Using its strength in its ability to connect, educate, and empower diverse individuals and organizations to encourage just, sustainable practices for shared prosperity, PSE has stood at the forefront of promoting balanced growth and shared prosperity throughout metropolitan Atlanta and the American South.
Focusing on three key areas: energy, growth and opportunity, PSE has developed strong partnerships, which have resulted in a series of successful policy initiatives that helped elevate and enable the communities we serve.

Our Focus  Just Energy (Energy Equity) PSE works with its partners to educate and engage low-income, communities of color about the sourcing and commodification of power generation in Georgia. While unfamiliar to many residents, those policies significantly impact household utility bills and impinge on the overall quality of air, water and other natural resources that affect our health and well-being.  Energy Equity Partners

Just Opportunity (Economic Inclusion)

Many low-wealth and communities of color are still reeling from the impacts of Great Recession which have been compounded by the historic economic injustices. The American South’s economic competitiveness will be dependent on its ability to strengthen and engage these communities. PSE works with its partners to advance an economic inclusion agenda that promotes and increases equity in the distribution of income, wealth building, employment, and entrepreneurship among vulnerable populations.

Economic Inclusion Partners

Just Growth

(Equitable Development)

PSE has created a powerful community engagement platform for residents of all races, incomes, and backgrounds to influence decision-making within development projects that impact them (e.g. housing, retail, infrastructure, transportation). PSE takes a systems approach to realize communities and regions where all residents can participate in and prosper from decisions that shape the places they live.

Equitable Development Partners

The Partnership for Southern Equity works to strengthen and activate an ecosystem of hundreds of volunteers, organizations and supporters all dedicated to a more equitable American South. The organizations above are instrumental in guiding and informing the work of PSE. While proud of these accomplishments, PSE is not resting on its laurels. The organization constantly works to explore innovative ways to, “measure the movement” for our stakeholders and partners.

Join this ever-growing network of individuals and organizations.

Our Methodology


(eq·ui·ty) /ekwədē/
– justice according to natural law or right; specifically: freedom from bias or favoritism


(e·qual·i·ty) /əˈkwälədē/
– regarding or affecting all objects in the same way

See the difference? While equal rights under the law have afforded many of us opportunities that were denied for so long, an equity agenda works to advance just outcomes that are sensitive to the needs and circumstances of the populations in question – erasing the barriers that stand in the way for everyone to succeed. The reality is there are groups that have much more support systems and resources that enable their success while others are forced to rely on more uncertain circumstances in under-resourced communities. PSE stands to address these inequities in our communities so prosperity can be created and shared by all.

Our History


Equity Atlanta Forum II: Census Power! Lifting Every Voice for Regional Equity
The second Equity Atlanta Forum highlighted the importance of a complete count in the 2010 U.S. Census. More than 100 participants representing diverse communities of color shared their efforts in promoting complete count in their respective communities.

Meet Our Team

Nathaniel Smith, Founder and Chief Equity Officer (CEqO)

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Board of Directors

Chairman: Chris Burke

Director of Community Relations
Georgia Institute of Technology

Hattie B. Dorsey

H. B. Dorsey and Associates

Jami Buck-Vance

Board Member
Partnership for Southern Equity

K. C. George

National Development Council

Ryan Gravel

Founding Principal

Heather Alhadeff

Center Forward, Inc.

Brian Grist

Senior Attorney
Southern Environmental Law Center

Cynthia Jones Parks

President & CEO
Jones Worley

Latest Updates

Latest From The Blog

We ALL (should) have the opportunity to prosper…

We ALL (should) have the opportunity to prosper…

Join us at the Just Opportunity Summit 2019! “We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Our cities, states, and region…

read more

Community-Wide Equity Updates

JUST Energy

(Energy Equity)

JUST Opportunity

(Economic Inclusion)

JUST Growth

(Equitable Development)

By cultivating PSE’s identity as the region’s foremost institutional authority on equity issues rooted in exhaustive field work, robust engagement, and compelling research, our mission continues to resonate with others who also embrace it as their own, which has resulted in the creation of three “circles” focused on critical issues: Just Energy (energy equity), Just Opportunity (economic inclusion), and Just Growth (equitable development).

Emphasizing PSE’s role as a principal architect of metro Atlanta’s equity ecosystem enables the organization to better communicate its mission to a broader audience and educate constituents about its hallmark approach to community-building consisting of:


Connecting vulnerable populations to solutions that empower communities


Informing decision-makers and communities on inclusive growth and development opportunities


Impacting development and business investment to promote inclusiveness, quality growth and regional competitiveness


Growing a multi-generational cadre of equity leaders and policy innovators

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