Dr. Macheo Payne Returns to Lead Youth UpRising as New President and CEO

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Dr. Macheo Payne

Dr. Macheo Payne, an Oak­land native and founding dep­uty director of Youth UpRising (YU), has returned to lead the community-based nonprofit as president and CEO. As a re­nowned educator, social worker and activist, Payne brings nota­ble expertise and profound com­mitment to his new role, as well as deep roots in the Oakland area and a proud history with YU.

Payne helped to plan and open the 25,000-square-foot youth development center next to Cas­tlemont High School in Oakland in 2005. Now he is poised to en­sure long-term stability and es­tablish new partnerships as YU continues to provide compre­hensive opportunities for young people in the areas of health, education, leadership and jobs.

The vibrant YU community hub offers career education support, job training, social en­terprise opportunities, arts and civic engagement programs and more. The center features a GED school and job development program, media and perform­ing arts centers, and a youth-run café and catering business. Pri­mary health and mental health services, including trauma-in­formed care, are also provided in an onsite clinic, enabling YU to take a truly holistic approach to serving neighborhood youth.

“Returning to Youth UpRis­ing was an unexpected but a welcome opportunity to fully express and apply all that I have gained in 25 years of profession­al experience in Oakland,” said Payne. “I’m honored to return as president and CEO and inspired to spark community transforma­tion powered by youth develop­ment. Now, more than ever, we need to provide this resource for the youth of Oakland to ensure the unity and growth of the city.”

In his initial role with Youth Uprising, Payne engaged elect­ed officials in coordinating sup­port, cultivated partnerships, facilitated the planning process and managed day-to-day opera­tions. He went on to serve as se­nior director of equity and edu­cational initiatives at Lincoln Child Center and as an Oakland Freedom school program direc­tor. An assistant professor at Cal State University East Bay, Payne has also consulted and trained for the Children’s De­fense Fund and conducted re­search for Stanford University.

Payne earned a BA at UC Berkeley, a MSW from Cal State University East Bay and a doctorate in Educational Lead­ership from San Francisco State University. His research and dissertation on new practices to keep black male youth in the classroom made a major impact on the field of education and he is a thought leader on address­ing disparities among students of color in schools and social systems.

Yet what fuels his passion and gives him a remarkable ability to connect with youth goes beyond his academic and professional expertise. Having grown up in Oakland and shared the background and experiences that challenge local youth, he brings a depth of both personal and intellectual understanding to his work. And as a father rais­ing his sons in Oakland, he is profoundly committed to serv­ing as a role model to his fam­ily as well as the community as a whole.

According to Nate Miley, District 4, Alameda County Board Supervisor and mem­ber of the YU Board, “We are pleased to welcome Dr. Payne back to Youth Uprising to take the helm as president and CEO. He brings an unparalleled com­bination of attributes to this position, including decades of professional experience, the passion and courage to take on challenges, and a lifelong con­nection to the Oakland commu­nity.”

“The opening of Youth Up­Rising was the result of a youth leadership process that was dif­ferent in that the young people made decisions about the build out, the programming, the ap­proach and the opportunities of­fered,” said Payne.

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