Melanie McElroy

Program Officer
Portrait of Melanie McElroy

Prior to joining the Joyce Foundation, Melanie helped build and lead Michigan’s largest grassroots voting rights and election protection coalition. She ran the democracy department at Michigan Voices, the statewide civic engagement table, from 2016 to 2022. She is most proud of Michigan’s passage of voter access reforms and an independent redistricting commission in 2019. Melanie’s team and grassroots, BIPOC-led organizations worked to ensure the fair implementation of these policies in 2020, despite the pandemic. This resulted in Michigan’s increased voter participation and the passage of new district maps that more fairly represent the electorate.

Prior to that, Melanie was executive director of Common Cause Michigan, a good-government watchdog organization. She lobbied to reform the influx of money in politics following the Citizens United decision, and worked to hold government accountable for the Flint Water Crisis.

Melanie began her career in fundraising for various local, congressional and statewide campaigns, most notably that of current Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson in 2010. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a concentration in Public Policy and Public Service from Albion College.

Melanie is proud to have brought her family farm in Hillsdale, MI into the 21st century, making them a leader in eco-regenerative agriculture in the Great Lakes region. Melanie has lived her adult life in the beautiful city of Detroit, while also exploring her roots in Guatemala. She and her dog Lola are new to Chicago, and excited to be here.

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Democracy Desk: Key themes to watch this election year

the first installment of Democracy Desk, an election year series highlighting key issues throughout the Great Lakes region, and spotlighting the work of our grantee partners to ensure free, fair, accessible, safe, and trusted elections.