Purpose Built Carol Naughton
Carol Naughton of Purpose Built in Birmingham during the nonprofit's 2016 national gathering (Photo by Maria Saporta)

By Maria Saporta

The board of Purpose Built Communities on Thursday afternoon named Carol R. Naughton as its new CEO. Naughton has been serving as the nonprofits interim CEO since the departure of David Edwards earlier this year.

Purpose Built is dedicated to improving racial equity, economic mobility and health outcomes in neighborhoods across the country. It provides consulting services to help with a comprehensive transformation of neighborhoods in need.

The board issued a statement with the announcement:

“We are delighted to announce that after conducting a national search that surfaced many excellent candidates, we have selected Carol R. Naughton to serve as the new chief executive officer of Purpose Built Communities,” the board stated.

“Carol’s leadership, expertise, vision, and well-earned reputation as one of the nation’s experts in community development will carry the organization forward as a critical partner for holistic revitalization efforts across the country and a national leader in fighting inter-generational poverty,” the statement continued.

Carol Naughton at the 2019 Purpose Built conference in Atlanta (Special: Purpose Built Communities)

Naughton has worked at Purpose Built Communities since its founding in 2009 where she served as senior vice president and then president. Since the summer of 2020, she has served as interim CEO. Naughton’s 25-year career in holistic community development also includes leading the East Lake Foundation and serving as general counsel at the Atlanta Housing Authority.

Purpose Built Communities works with local leaders in neighborhoods across the country with the goal of breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. The Purpose Built Communities model of holistic revitalization includes mixed-income housing, a cradle-to-college education pipeline and community wellness programs and facilities in a defined neighborhood, coordinated by a dedicated, nonprofit community quarterback organization.

The Purpose Built Communities Network includes 28 members in 15 states.

Purpose Built Carol Naughton
Carol Naughton of Purpose Built in Birmingham during the nonprofit’s 2016 national gathering (Photo by Maria Saporta)
Carol Naughton of Purpose Built in Birmingham during the nonprofit’s 2016 national gathering (Photo by Maria Saporta)

In addition to her time at Purpose Built, the East Lake Foundation and the Atlanta Housing Authority, Naughton worked in the private practice of law with Sutherland, Asbill and Brennan’s real estate group, where she primarily represented real estate developers, lenders and asset managers.

Naughton is a graduate of the Emory University School of Law and Colgate University. She serves as the board chair of the Low-Income Investment Fund, a national community development financial institution with over a billion dollars invested in low-income communities across the country.

Naughton also is a long-time member of the board of the Charles R. Drew Charter School, and she currently serves as its vice chair.  She serves on the national advisory board of the Build Healthy Places Network and is currently serving as an expert advisor to the Fannie Mae Sustainable Communities Challenge.

Maria Saporta, executive editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state. From 2008 to 2020, she wrote weekly columns...

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