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.
More related to Melanie
Joyce Democracy Grantees Ramp Up Great Lakes Voter Education, Protection Efforts
Democracy nonpartisan organizations working to get out the vote in Great Lakes region.
How a Philanthropic Bet on Violence Intervention Is Winning Public Dollars
State, local, and city agencies are investing about $150 million this year in a variety of community violence-intervention strategies that philanthropy is road-testing. Read more about how the Joyce Foundation and others are stepping in to fund CVI work.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Poll Gauges Public Attitudes toward Political Violence in the United States
The Joyce Foundation, Trusted Elections Fund, and The Klarman Family Foundation initiated a public opinion research project exploring the public’s view of, and reaction to, political violence and extremism.
The Foundation's statement on the Bruen case ruling
The Supreme Court’s ruling today in the Bruen case will make communities across America less safe. A large and growing body of evidence demonstrates that the mere presence of a firearm increases the risk of injury and death.
Examining the Rise of Armed Extremists and Militias in Michigan
Recent political violence issues have been on the rise in the U.S. During this webinar, panelists discussed these trends, their implications on democratic institutions specifically in Michigan, and what policy makers might be poised to do about it.
Fairer Redistricting Initiatives Advance in Michigan and Ohio
Joyce grantees in Michigan and Ohio have played integral roles advancing policy for fairer implementation of legislative districts for all citizens in those states.
Fairness in redistricting
Michigan residents have a chance to help craft fairer, more equitable legislative districts, and a coalition of nonprofit organizations is banding together to help community groups take advantage of the opportunity.
COVID-19 Stories: Nailing the Ballot Question
Is 2020 the year of mail-in election ballots? In Ohio, they now sprout from trees.