Elena Patterson was born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1952. She obtained a BA in Graphic Design at Stellenbosch University in 1973. Elena and her husband Mark emigrated to the USA in 1976, where she worked as a graphic designer for Newhouse Newspapers in NYC. She resigned in 1978 to become a stay-at-home Mom for their two sons, as well as a freelance graphic designer.
In 2002, Elena conceived of the Tannersville NY Paint Project, which transformed a collapsing rural town into a thriving economic revival, using a paintbrush. This project was twice covered by the NBC Today Show, produced sustained economic development for Tannersville, and is the subject of her first children’s book. Elena served as Chairman of the Hunter Foundation, which oversaw the reinvention of Tannersville. She also served on the Board of Advisors to Detroit’s College for Creative Studies.
The couple share their time between Hamilton, Montana and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. Both have traveled internationally extensively, including visits to more than 15 African countries. Elena is excited to support Bulamu’s work in improving healthcare and systems for the poor, among other reasons for the long-term potential of Bulamu’s Maternal and Child Health programs.