The Women’s Fund invests $500,000 in innovative programs to move Greater Birmingham women and their children beyond poverty
The Board of Directors of The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham is pleased to announce the appointment of Melanie R. Bridgeforth, MSW as President and CEO. Bridgeforth succeeds Jeanne Jackson, TWF’s President and CEO since July 2011, who retired earlier this month.
Bridgeforth joins The Women’s Fund from VOICES for Alabama’s Children, where she has served as Executive Director since 2013. Previously, Bridgeforth was Alabama’s Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association. She also took her talents to a national level, serving with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. and on numerous national boards. She has spent her entire professional career lifting up and influencing sound policy decisions on behalf of the state’s most vulnerable populations.
“Melanie is a captivating leader,” noted board chair Leslie Carlisle, who also served on the search committee. “From our very first meeting with her, we were excited by her vision, her energy and her record on behalf of populations we care deeply about.”
Lisa Engel, immediate past chair of the board and chair of the nine-person search committee comprised of corporate and community leaders, expressed similar sentiments: “Melanie’s enthusiasm for our mission is truly infectious, and her successes at VOICES and elsewhere give us full confidence she is the right person to build on the marvelous momentum established over the past eight years by Jeanne Jackson and TWF’s dynamic team.”
At VOICES for Alabama’s Children, Bridgeforth led a transformation of the organization’s public policy platform while strengthening the nonprofits’ overall reach, visibility, and impact. She helped increase sustained funding by doubling the operating budget during her tenure and was instrumental in attracting support for Alabama initiatives from regional and national funders.
A fifth-generation Alabamian, Bridgeforth holds two degrees from the University of Alabama: a Master of Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Though her work focus has extended to Montgomery in the past several years, she calls Birmingham home.
Bridgeforth is a founding member of the board of Partnership for America’s Children, and she is on the national steering committee for the KIDS COUNT network, an advisory council of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Current and past board memberships include Preschool Partners, Project Horseshoe Farm and the Chemical Addictions Program. Bridgeforth is a member of the Montgomery Rotary Club, the Junior League of Montgomery, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
Speaking of her appointment, Bridgeforth volunteered, “The work of The Women’s Fund is essential to helping vulnerable families in Greater Birmingham and beyond secure a brighter economic future. I am honored to be asked to lead a mission focused so squarely on creating change that multiplies and an organization that uniquely combines philanthropy, advocacy, and research.” Continued Bridgeforth, “Partnering with the dynamic board, staff and stakeholders at VOICES for Alabama’s Children has been a genuine privilege, and I am grateful that my work there has prepared me so well to build on the great work already being done at The Women’s Fund.”
B. Joyce Stallworth, chair of the board of VOICES for Alabama’s Children and Associate Provost Emerita at The University of Alabama, applauded Bridgeforth’s appointment. Stallworth stated, “We simultaneously celebrate Melanie’s new position and lament her departure from VOICES. We are pleased that she will be leveraging her talents on behalf of a mission that intersects with ours in so many ways, and we wish her much success in her new role.”
Bridgeforth’s appointment at The Women’s Fund follows an extensive executive search conducted in partnership with BoardWalk Consulting, a national search firm committed to “finding leaders that matter for missions that matter.” In addition to Carlisle and Engel, the search committee of nine included Tracey Morant Adams, Chief Development and CRS Officer, Renasant Bank; Vicki Briggs, President & CEO, St. Vincent’s Medical Center (Bridgeport, CT); Nancy Dunlap, MD, PhD, MBA, Professor Emerita of Medicine and Scholar, UAB; Liesel French, MD, Birmingham Pediatric Association; Alesia Jones, Chief Human Resources Officer, UAB; Emily Hess Levine, Community Volunteer; and Guin Robinson, Director of Community Outreach, Jefferson State Community College.
Bridgeforth begins her tenure with The Women’s Fund in late March 2018.
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