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Power of Ten

Embracing the River

September 29, 2021

Carol Coletta is president and CEO of the Memphis River Parks Partnership. She is leading the relaunch of a nonprofit to develop, manage and program six miles of riverfront and five park districts along the Mississippi River.


Most recently she was with The Kresge Foundation where she was a senior fellow in the foundation’s American Cities Practice.  She led a $50+ million collaboration of national and local foundations, local nonprofits and governments to Reimagine the Civic Commons in five cities.  It is the first comprehensive demonstration of how a connected set of civic assets – a civic commons – can yield increased and more widely share prosperity for cities and neighborhoods. 


She was formerly vice president of Community and National Initiatives for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation where she managed a portfolio of more than $60 million annually in grants and a team of 18 in 26 communities to drive success in cities.


Carol led the two-year start-up of ArtPlace, a unique public-private collaboration to accelerate creative placemaking in communities across the U.S. and was president and CEO of CEOs for Cities for seven years.

Previously, she served as executive director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Conference of Mayors and American Architectural Foundation.  She also ran a Memphis-based public affairs consulting firm, Coletta & Company, where she served business, foundations, nonprofits and government on the broadest range of civic issues. 

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