Shirley Clarke Franklin

Director

Shirley Franklin is executive board chair of Purpose Built Communities and the former Barbara Jordan Visiting Professor of Ethics and Political Values at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin. In 2002, Franklin was elected mayor of Atlanta, becoming the first African American female mayor of a major Southern city, and served two terms (the office is term limited). Upon leaving office in 2009, she was appointed to an endowed chair at Spelman College and served until June 2011.  

Atlanta experienced unprecedented growth over Franklin’s eight years as mayor. That afforded her the opportunity to partner and collaborate with many local and regional leaders in addressing policy challenges, which included urban planning, economic development, and infrastructure. Franklin is best known for developing successful business and public sector partnerships and alliances and advocating for and tackling major government operations and ethics reform: launching the Atlanta Beltline, planning and executing over $5 billion in airport and water infrastructure improvements, leading the acquisition of the Morehouse College Collection of the papers of Martin Luther King Jr., starting the Regional Commission on Homelessness. In addition to her role as a public official, her community service spans nearly forty years in Atlanta and comprises her active participation in the arts, homelessness, and higher education. 

Franklin serves on the board of directors of Mueller Water Products. Her civic engagement includes her work as chairman of the board of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and as a board member of the Volcker Alliance and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Foundation. She is a former member of Delta Air Lines’ board of directors.
Franklin cochaired the Democratic National Convention in 2008 and the DNC Platform Committee for the 2016 convention. During her mayoral term she was an active member of the US Conference of Mayors.

Having served more than three decades as an executive in government and business, Franklin is a frequent speaker and subject matter expert on leadership, public policy, and community engagement. She served as an executive in the administrations of former Atlanta mayors Andrew Young and Maynard Jackson and counts them among her most important professional mentors.

Born and reared in Philadelphia, educated at Howard University and the University of Pennsylvania, Franklin has lived with her family in Atlanta since 1972.