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Packard Foundation Names Meshie Knight as U.S. Racial Justice Director

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation is pleased to announce that Meshie Knight has been named U.S. Racial Justice Director.  

In this role, Knight will lead the U.S. Racial Justice Initiative’s strategy development and grantmaking, including the allocation of the remaining resources in the $100 million fund the Foundation established in 2020 to address anti-Black racism in the U.S. Knight will also collaborate with colleagues to advance racial justice within the Foundation’s domestic grantmaking. 

“I’m delighted to welcome Meshie to the Foundation,” said Ruth Levine, Vice President of Just Societies and Chief Learning Officer. “Throughout her career, she’s demonstrated a combination of insightful understanding of the sources and consequences of systemic injustice, and a depth of knowledge about how to support organizations working on some of the most challenging issues we face in the U.S. I’m looking forward to supporting her work and learning along the way.” 

Knight brings deep experience in partnering directly with communities that have a history of marginalization and working with institutions, in alignment with the goals of these communities, to bring about systems-level change, especially in healthcare and housing.  

Prior to joining the Packard Foundation, Knight was a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where she led a multi-million-dollar strategic grantmaking portfolio that brought together entrepreneurs, academics, community leaders, and more to build solutions that spur measurable, lasting change within the U.S. health care system and housing sector. She also launched a national Equity Learning Lab that provides technical assistance, coaching, and a community of practice to grantees to support organizational change and integrate equity. 

Earlier in her career, Knight worked for the Universal Healthcare Foundation of Connecticut, an activist philanthropy that centers its call to action in the stories and experiences of people most impacted by systemic injustices. She also worked at the Center for Children’s Advocacy where she learned firsthand how advantage and privilege shape opportunities for a quality education and a successful transition to adulthood.  

“The U.S. has a long history of using differences to establish and maintain hierarchies of power and privilege, and yet, we have only ever been able to achieve change by coming together,” said Knight. “I am excited about the opportunity to lead work that invests in solutions that transcend limitations that are placed on us by society, especially because of our racial and other intersecting identities. I am eager to work with my colleagues and grantee partners to realize the Foundation’s vision for a just and equitable world.” 

Meshie holds master’s degrees in business administration from the Yale School of Management and in public policy from Trinity College. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Howard University.