Raquel Patterson Selected as the 2022 Recipient of the Richard E. Herman Leadership Award
Itasca, Ill. – We Raise Foundation is pleased to announce that Raquel Patterson has been selected as the 2022 Richard E. Herman Leadership Award honoree. The Leadership Award recognizes the commitment and service of one leader interrupting the cycles of poverty, violence, and inequality in the United States, whether through their professional work or as a volunteer.
Patterson has served as the Executive Director of Oak Tree Ministries in Birmingham, Ala., since 2018. Oak Tree provides gospel-centered, trauma-informed community support to Birmingham’s largest public housing community, Marks Village.
“Being selected for the We Raise Leadership Award is an honor I never would have expected to receive,” said Patterson. “Being in a position of leadership is a sobering and humbling privilege that I do not take lightly. I view leadership as a gift and a responsibility to steward and leverage for the good of others, especially those our society has purposefully left behind. I hope that receiving this award will shine a spotlight on all of the incredible people doing the work right along side of me. I don’t feel worthy, but I am deeply grateful for the honor of bearing witness to our collective and individual stories as we write the next chapter in Birmingham together!”
Patterson first began with Oak Tree Ministries as a volunteer in 2015 before joining the team as programs director in 2017. Oak Tree is located in the neighborhood where they work, living alongside the families who have been pushed to the margins, learning from them, and dreaming together about God re-writing the story in the community. They do this through relationships and programs and aim to be a preview of God’s Kingdom where all people are gathered around the same table and everyone has what they need to thrive.
“I am very passionate about shifting the narrative in the church away from mission projects and charity to living lifestyles of justice that transform the way we interact with one another in the world,” said Patterson. “I believe God has given us a gift to steward at Oak Tree and an important part of our work is for building up the church to be better representatives of Christ in our communities.”
Prior to joining Oak Tree Ministries full-time, Patterson served as the programs director at Serving You Ministries in Birmingham, Ala., for two years. She began volunteering in the Marks Village community in 2015 through Oak Tree’s programs and mentoring at the local elementary school.
Patterson is involved with a number of community organizations, including the And Campaign Birmingham Chapter, which she helped start and currently serves as secretary of the leadership team. She is also a member of EmpowerED Birmingham, the Birmingham Coalition for Student Mental Health, and Birmingham Gospel Outreach.
As recipient of this award, Patterson will receive a cash award of $4,000 and an invitation to gather with other inspired emerging leaders to network, learn and reflect, hosted and paid for by We Raise Foundation.
The Leadership Award was established in honor of Dr. Richard Herman, We Raise Foundation’s fourth president (2006-2015), a passionate supporter and encourager of young adult Christian leaders.
About We Raise Foundation
Motivated by the belief that freedom is grace in action (Galatians 5:1a), We Raise Foundation partners with Christian nonprofit organizations and emerging leaders working at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality. We have a preference for funding solutions within the areas of education, workforce development, and criminal justice and employ a unique approach to our investing by coupling program funding with a variety of robust value-added services that empower our grantees to grow their solutions. As a result of these value-add services, every $1 that donors invest through We Raise multiplies into more than double the benefit to the organizations we support. To learn more, please visit weraise.org. You can also find We Raise on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.