Patrice Hawkins, MSW ’17

Patrice Hawkins formal headshot.Patrice Hawkins, MSW ’17, is the CEO of Spark the Change Colorado, an organization whose mission is to “spark change and inspire a movement of good through the power of volunteerism, service and civic engagement.” Spark the Change Colorado services include a Mental Wellness Program; a Senior Companion Program; a partnership with Harvest Pack to combat food insecurity; engagement in disaster preparedness and recovery; and volunteerism and Board training and development.

Patrice said she is leading the organization “to be a strategist and partner, increasing civic engagement and volunteerism across the state of Colorado, as a tool to enhance connection, equity, health, and resilience.”

Prior to attending NYU Silver and upon graduation, Patrice worked in local government for the City and County of Denver as an executive with Denver Human Services. In her leadership roles with the city, Patrice dedicated time to working on collaborative projects addressing youth violence prevention and serving on the Mayor’s Youth Commission.

Reflecting on her NYU Silver education, Patrice said, “I have always been interested in the intersections of policy, funding, and the impact on service delivery in communities. My placement with The New York Community Trust was a wonderful experience in seeing how powerful philanthropy and foundations are as a partner in this work. My field placement, as well as participating in the Adaptive Leadership Fellowship taught me that social workers have to understand finance, legislation, skills in negotiation, and remain in strong relationship with community when leading an organization or spearheading an initiative. I'm forever thankful for the policy courses and this fellowship being offered at Silver.”

Patrice added, “NYU Silver opened many doors for me and helped me develop long-lasting relationships that not only influenced my experiences in New York, but truly positioned me to thrive when I returned to Denver, Colorado to work in government and the nonprofit sector. I felt like my peers and colleagues during my two years were brilliant! I see Silver grads all over the country running businesses, working in multiple industries, and I’m reminded of how much you learn from the person sitting next to you in class or who is a partner on a project.”