People


Sam Smith, Jr.

Executive Director, GreenLight Charlotte

Sam L. Smith Jr. is a community cultivator, advocate, servant-leader, change agent, strategist & innovative thinker with over 13+ years of experience working for corporate and nonprofit institutions.

Sam joined GreenLight in 2022 as Executive Director of GreenLight Fund Charlotte. Previously, he served as the Director of External Engagement with the United Way of Central Carolinas. Sam expanded and managed the $3.2M Unite Charlotte grassroots-based community investment fund and led United Way’s Advocacy initiatives. The Unite Charlotte fund was established in response to the unrest in Charlotte in September 2016. The fund supports new and/or grassroots organizations led by people of color, offering innovative solutions to improve economic mobility through a racial equity trust-based approach.

Sam has been a recipient of many awards and honorary accolades throughout his career including 2022’s Class of 40 under 40 by the Charlotte Business Journal. This honor was given to a selected group of leaders shaping and making a significant impact in the City of Charlotte.

Sam has been vigorous in community advocacy for over 12+ years and has been a frequent volunteer and board member for various community-based not-for-profit organizations. Some include the International House of Metrolina, Out Teach, the City of Charlotte Community Relations Committee (CRC), and WCNC News Advisory Council.

Additionally, Sam is an appointed member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Citizen Review Board, appointed to the Citizen Advisory Committee on Governance by the Mayor and City Council, and the Mecklenburg County COVID-19 Recovery and Renewal Taskforce by the Mecklenburg County Commissioners. Sam is a co-founder of the Northwest Community Alliance (a community organizing and activism group) and founder of Tailored Career Coaching, a professional development and resumes writing boutique firm focused on assisting individuals in taking that next step in their careers.

Sam is an active member of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Beta Nu Lambda chapter where he chairs the Political Action Committee.

Sam earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from Baker College and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Phoenix. And also earned a certificate of Non-Profit Management from Duke University and certificate in Corporate Citizenship Practice from Boston College.

Sam’s GreenLight

To challenge the systematic barriers that have disadvantaged marginalized communities over many decades, while providing attainable resources, access, and outcomes for underserved families.

Meet the rest of the GreenLight team.

Paola Aragon Brown

Site Support Manager, National Portfolio

Tyeone Barner

Program Associate, GreenLight Atlanta

Capri Bell

Director, Organizational Development

Renee Berlon

Development Manager

Amber Black

Associate Director, GreenLight Boston

Diarra Brooks

Program Associate, GreenLight Twin Cities