Rychetta Watkins

Director, Grantmaking & Partnerships

Rychetta Watkins is the Director of Grantmaking and Partnerships for Memphis Music Initiative. After earning her PhD in contemporary African-American and Asian-American literature and publishing her study of the cultural politics of power, "Black Power, Yellow Power and the Making of Revolutionary Identity," Rychetta returned to the nonprofit sector to be more involved in addressing the systemic challenges that hinder academic achievement and social mobility for young people of color in Memphis.

The daughter of an MCS librarian, Rychetta comes from a family of educators and believes in the power of education. Realizing that education is not enough when social systems are broken, Rychetta is a passionate advocate for increased equity, access and opportunity in education, the arts, and philanthropy in her hometown. Rychetta has served in various leadership capacities within Memphis nonprofits including Whole Child Strategies, Inc., City of Memphis AmeriCorps Program, and Stand for Children. A lifelong learner, Rychetta is a graduate of the Leadership Memphis Executive and New Memphis Institute Fellows programs, and a current participant in the Association of Black Foundation Executive’s Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program.

A resident of Uptown, she uses yoga, Zumba, Chicago Stepping and long walks along the Memphis riverfront to stay active. When not spending time with her nieces and niblings as the world’s greatest aunt, you may find her gardening, reading, trying new bourbons, or cheering on her beloved Memphis Grizzlies.