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Public Viewing
Friday, June 7, 2024, from 2-6 pm
Willie A. Watkins Historic West End Chapel
1003 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd Atlanta GA 30310

Celebration of Life Services 
Saturday, June 8 at 11:00 a.m.
Lindsay Street Baptist Church at 11:00 a.m.
550 Lindsay St, Atlanta, GA 30314

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorial contributions be made to 
ANDP or Partnership for Southern Equity

Contributions to ANDP can be made here or mailed to
Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Inc.
229 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 705, Atlanta, GA 30303.

Contributions to Partnership for Southern Equity

by visiting
In one of the optional boxes, please put as a note "In Memory of Hattie B. Dorsey."

Hattie B. Dorsey: A life of purpose

The Staff and Board of Directors of ANDP are heartbroken to learn of the passing of ANDP's founding President and CEO, Hattie B. Dorsey. Hattie was a tireless pioneer in the affordable housing sector in Atlanta and beyond. Her tenacity, leadership, and vision laid the groundwork for ANDP's 33-year history of providing affordable housing options to thousands of metro Atlantans. While we mourn her passing and hold her daughter Michelle and extended family in our hearts, we also pause to reflect on Hattie's incredible journey and legacy.


Born in Teachey, North Carolina, and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the oldest of 11 children survived a battle with Rheumatic Fever that started at age 10. While under complete bed rest for three years, Hattie was tutored bedside and developed a passion for reading.


Hattie and her family remained in New York until her father, the Reverend Edward Henry "E.H." Dorsey, became pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Atlanta. Hattie graduated from David T. Howard High School and attended Spelman College before transferring to Clark Atlanta University, where she received her Bachelor's in Secretarial Sciences and Business Studies.


Hattie's earlier career included secretarial positions for several companies, including the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Representative Charles Weltner (GA-5), and the National Urban League. She continued her civil rights engagement by working on the NAACP's legal defense team throughout the 1970s and 1980s, helping to bring landmark legal suits against those who practiced housing discrimination.


In 1968, Hattie was hired as Assistant to Mayor Ivan Allen, making her the first Black employee in the City's mayoral office. In the early 1970s, Hattie headed West to seek new opportunities and found her way to Stanford Mid-Peninsula Urban Coalition. Leveraging the many skills of her past positions, she entered as an administrative assistant, and in the decade that followed, she was promoted to Director of Resource Development and ultimately became the organization's Executive Director.

In 1984, Hattie returned to Atlanta and found her old neighborhood in disarray. She was bothered by Black neighborhoods in decline, especially the lack of safe, affordable housing. Hattie was named Vice President for Administration at the City's Atlanta Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) and was involved with increasing minority participation during the redevelopment of Hartsfield Airport. But it was the need for affordable housing that captured her imagination. She soon leveraged her position at AEDC to win hearts and minds. With help from Shirley Franklin, the Neighborhood Development Department at AEDC was created. Her life's passion was beginning to bloom.

IN HER OWN WORDS: Hattie speaks to the 30th Anniversary of the Atlanta Regional Housing Forum, explaining the conditions in Atlanta just prior to the formation of ANDP. For the featured clip, please forward to the 32:38 mark in the video.

As a result of her travels, Hattie came to understand that best practices in community development and affordable housing were being carried out around the country by community development corporations (CDCs). She began to lay the groundwork for growing the CDC network in Atlanta.


Two catalytic events would ultimately add fuel and support to Hattie's view on the need for greater investment in community development.


First, the Atlanta Journal and Atlanta Constitution's Pulitzer-Prize-winning 1988 investigative series "The Color of Money" provided data that confirmed suspicions of a systemic, segregated mortgage market that discriminated against Black families aspiring to achieve the dream of homeownership.


Second, in 1990, Atlanta was officially selected to host the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.


Recognizing the world's focus would soon be on Atlanta, public and private sector leaders began to work on preparations for the Olympics, including addressing neighborhoods in decline. Soon after, Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson announced the formation of the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP), a merger of AEDC's Neighborhood Development Department and the Chamber of Commerce's Housing Resource Center.


"And here we were with this tremendous desire to serve, in Atlanta, all these not-for-profit organizations – and among 23 major American cities, we were dead last in nonprofit housing development," said Mayor Maynard Jackson at the national conference of the Housing Partnership Network. "We're pleased to announce the formation of the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, dedicated to rebuilding Atlanta's very low-income neighborhoods. And I'd like to thank Hattie for her tremendous work on this."

As the founding President & CEO of ANDP, Hattie spent the next 15 years supporting the growth of the CDC network, ultimately coordinating more than $15 million in capacity-building funding for 20 regional CDCs. In 1998, Hattie led the organization's efforts to establish a U.S. Treasury Certified Development Financial Institution (CDFI) subsidiary. At the time of her retirement in 2006, the ANDP Loan Fund had $11 million in assets, revolving more than $80 million in capital to develop affordable and mixed-use housing. Today, that loan fund has $33 million in assets and has supported projects with 7,653 housing units valued at nearly $1 billion. She laid the foundation for a future of continued innovation and success.

30 YEARS LATER: ANDP President and CEO John O'Callaghan introduces Hattie at ANDP's 30th Anniversary. For the featured clip, please forward to the 16:28 mark in the video. 

During her career and retirement, Hattie rallied community groups and advocates around public policy issues of predatory lending, gentrification, and unfair zoning practices. Ever the catalyst for change, she spent many years promoting the concept of mixed-income communities and mixed-use developments, commonplace terms today.


Throughout her time with ANDP, Hattie received many well-deserved awards for her dedication to affordable housing and community development. Among those offering gratitude and recognition were the Atlanta Business League, Atlanta Tribune, Atlanta Women's Magazine, Atlanta Regional Commission, Georgia Trend, Spelman College, and many more. 


Upon her retirement, ANDP created The Hattie B. Dorsey Award for Excellence in Community Development, which is presented to deserving recipients at ANDP anniversary events.


"Hattie's legacy will never end. We will work to ensure that her passion, fierce voice, skillful leadership, and the indelible mark left on the affordable housing community endure and inspire all," said ANDP President & CEO John O’Callaghan.

Hattie B. Dorsey

May 31, 1939 - May 25, 2024

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