Executive Director, Gaye Smith

Born, raised, and educated in Georgia, Gaye Smith views her mission of improving conditions for children, families, and communities as a personal responsibility. She considers leaving Georgia a better place than she found it as a debt she’s repaying to the state that gave her and her family so much.

Gaye was appointed executive director of Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP) in 2001 after serving as president/CEO of Parent and Child Development Services Inc., in Chatham and Effingham counties. While in Savannah she was a consultant for the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections Initiative, and served as interim executive director for the Chatham-Savannah Youth Futures Authority, a community-based collaborative organization, which later joined the Georgia Family Connection statewide network.

Under Gaye’s leadership

  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation designates GaFCP as Georgia’s KIDS COUNT grantee.
  • The Brookings Institution presents GaFCP with an international Innovation Award for programs that effectively use information to drive change in their communities.
  • American Journal of Community Psychology publishes the GaFCP evaluation team’s studies.

Always looking for new ways to improve our disciplined model of collaboration, Gaye led GaFCP on a statewide listening tour in 2011. Representatives from GaFCP visited Collaboratives in all 159 counties to tap into their wisdom and local perspective before restructuring our technical assistance, resources, and identity.

Gaye regularly educates leaders, legislators, investors, and practitioners on the value of collaboration in driving community improvement, the significance of measuring and communicating results, and effective techniques for engaging partners.

The American Society for Public Administration named Gaye Public Administrator of the Year in 2010, and in 2009, Grantmakers for Children and Youth invited her to Washington D.C. to participate on a panel before a group of national foundations. She presented the state and community perspective on effective ways to support communities and nonprofits in cooperation with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

She received the Georgia General Assembly’s Legislative Services Award for her work on behalf of children, families, and communities in 2008.

A native of Athens and a die-hard Dawg, Gaye received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from North Georgia College and State University, Dahlonega, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Georgia. She began her career in social services with the United Way of the Coastal Empire, where she was vice president of Planning and Allocations.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors, comprised of leaders in business, communication, law, health, and education, bring into focus our vision—both long and short term—where we’re going, where we are, and what we can be. The Board also has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the investment people make in the state of Georgia through GaFCP.

Executive Committee

Chair: Bryan Williams
Market President
Synovus Bank

Secretary: Kenny Ruffin
City of Riverdale

Treasurer: Jamie Loyd
Vice President, Economic Development
Columbus Technical College


Pamela Benford
School Social Worker
Morgan County Board of Education

Board Members

Natalyn Archibong

Doug Belisle
Executive Director
Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter

April Hartman, M.D.
Medical Director, Division Chief, General Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
Children’s Hospital of Georgia, Augusta University

Rick Horder
Kazmarek Mowrey Cloud Laseter LLP

LaMarva Ivory
Deputy Commissioner/External Affairs
Georgia Department of Human Services

Katie Landes
Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network
Voices for Georgia’s Children

Bob Mackey
Chief Financial Officer
Boys & Girls Club of North Central Georgia, Inc.

Jacquie Morgan

Michele NeSmith
Research and Policy Development Director
Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG)

Dana Rickman
Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education

Michael Smith
President and CEO
Greater Valdosta United Way

Laura Wagner
Community Outreach and Partnership Director
Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning