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The Dewight E. Patton Jr. Foundation took form as the result of concerns experienced by siblings Tadessa, Dewight and Phillip.  Their concern focused on the lack of direction that youth had within the community and what they could do to help improve the future outlook for this generation.  The siblings set out on a mission to empower youth to succeed through mentoring.  Each sibling worked in their communities along different avenues to change the lives of youth one step at a time.  One engaged youth within the community with supportive advice and structure, another worked in leadership capacities within the youth ministries at church and the other spoke to teen groups in various settings regarding the dangers of street life and inappropriate goal setting. Each sibling focused on developing strategies that re-directed behavior and

re-framed the thought processes of teens from negative and destructive to positive and constructive.  The Foundation bears the name of the oldest male sibling, Dewight E. Patton Jr. (deceased).  His life exemplified leading the lives of youth to a better way.   


To know Dewight was to love him.  If I had to select one word to describe Dewight it would be: passionate.  No matter what role he was undertaking: father, husband, employee, employer, son, brother, uncle, nephew, friend or cousin he did it with zeal and purpose.  He was never too busy to take a moment to share his perspective with you. He wanted youth to be respectful, dependable, conscientious and goal driven.  His conversations with teens always focused on self-improvement and not being afraid to step up and do what is right. 


Dewight was quick-witted, smart and funny. His sense of humor was infectious. His wisdom was far beyond his years. His passion to help others was contagious. He enjoyed sharing life with all who crossed his path. He especially loved youth and encouraged both male and female to stay on the right track, be successful at being the best you and don't give up no matter how things look.  He'd “drop knowledge” to youth in any setting - at the store, at a family gathering and even at church. His love for family extended even to the community. I believe his ultimate goal was for peace and harmony among all generations. 


He was involved with the after-school program at the W. D. Tharp Civic Center.  He mentored high school and middle school students on the topics of setting and achieving your goals, non-violent decision making, importance of completing school and the impact of drugs on a persons’ life and family. 


The Dewight E. Patton Jr. Foundation is an organization that equips youth ages 12 – 19 years old with the necessary life and social skills to be successful and a positive influence in their home, school and community. We are purposed to changing the lives of youths one step at a time. 


We believe that values are practical habits that enable us as individuals to live, be successful and achieve happiness.  Our commitment to the importance of values grows from the belief that ideas matter and that an individual’s character is of critical significance.  The DEPJ Foundation operates under the following “Guiding Values” when communicating with each other, the youth community we serve and agencies with which we collaborate: 

Governing Board

Gwen Patton, President

 The Murton Group


Tadessa Murray, Treasurer



Rose Mary Wilson: Secretary

Voluntary Desegregation Program 


Matthew Berry, Director

Ritenour School District 


Phillip Patton, Director

AAA Materials 


MyKing Smith, Director

GEC Psychological Consultants 

Dana Williams-Reid, Director

Community Development Corporation - U.S. Bank

Whitney Young, Director

Energizer Company

Dawn Runnels, Director

ALM Hopewell Center

Young Friends Board

Ashley Slaughter, President

Nestle Purina Corporation

Juwanna Brown, Director

Community and Economic Development

City of East St. Louis

Adam Thompson - Director

Pacific Dental Services

Anastasia Stevenson, Director

Express Scripts 


Aija Williams - Director

Express Scripts

Erica Clark - Director


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