Southern Partners Fund Announces New Leadership Team

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Selection of leadership team marks exciting new era for SPF.

Southern Partners Fund is pleased to announce its new leadership team. The Board has chosen Mr. Fernando Cuevas, Jr. to serve as its Executive Director, and Ms. Tamieka White as Assistant Director.

Cuevas has been with SPF since its inception in 1998, and has served in every capacity, as a founding member, board member and staff member. Prior to this appointment, Cuevas served as Leadership Development Coordinator for SPF where he was chiefly responsible for overseeing all aspects of Membership training and development. He also assisted in the design, implementation and evaluation of SPF’s Social Justice Institute. In his new role as director, Cuevas will provide leadership in developing SPF’s vision, financial and resource development plan, and long-range strategy for pursuing its mission.

Cuevas was born in Fostoria, Ohio to the parents of Mexican Migrant Farm Workers. He grew up as a migrant farm worker in the orange fields of Florida, later migrating with his parents to work in tomato and cucumber fields in Ohio. Cuevas’ experience as a migrant worker inspired him to become an activist for migrant workers’ rights, including advocating for just wages, improved safety conditions and other related to the health of workers. His experience as a field organizer for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) AFL-CIO dates back to 1987. While organizing for the labor union, he trained farmworkers in the skills of organizing and boycotting for equal rights. A highly experienced and effective negotiator, Cuevas was instrumental in arbitrating for rights between farmers and Campbell Soup, Heinz, Vlasic, Green Bay and Mt. Olive Corporation. For his hard work, he was awarded the Bannerman Fellowship, a yearlong paid fellowship award that honors outstanding activists.

Tamieka White, a native of Georgetown, South Carolina, joined SPF in 2010 as Program Officer and was responsible for program administration and grants management. In her new position as Assistant Director she will work closely with the Board and Executive Director to support the overall efforts of SPF, support the organizations’ fundraising plans and manage the grant making process.

Prior to joining SPF, White served as Executive Director of Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods (NBN) in Winston-Salem, NC. NBN is a grassroots non-profit whose mission encourages civic accountability and engagement while supporting grassroots led efforts to develop safe, interdependent, diverse and overall healthy neighborhoods. She has more than 12 years of combined knowledge and leadership experience in philanthropy and the non-profit sector. White is a graduate of the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

“The board and membership of Southern Partners Fund are very excited about the direction of our new leadership,” said SPF board chair Erin Byrd. “Fernando and Tamieka know how to effectively work with a wide range of diverse groups and issues. Together they bring the vision and energy of their generation and over 25 years of collective leadership in organizational development, community organizing and fundraising.”

SPF was founded in 1998 by a coalition of 18 grassroots community organizers with the belief that it is the birthright of every American to enjoy basic human rights and the equality. SPF believes that the full promise of democracy in the American South is thwarted by the persistence of deeply rooted social injustices. SPF acts as a catalyst in the civil and human rights movement, and encourages and fosters grassroots leadership through social justice philanthropy.

Since 1998 SPF has served more than 200 rural community groups in 12 of the southeastern United States, including: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. These groups represent diverse, disenfranchised people in the south from all racial/ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientation.


Want to learn more or contribute to Southern Partners Fund’s effort to advance social change in the rural South? Visit us at: Donate online.

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Fernando Cuevas, Jr.
Southern Partners Fund
404-541-9091 114

Rasheedah Ali
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