A new leader will take the helm at the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham next month following the retirement of six-year President and CEO Jeanne Jackson.
A fifth-generation Alabamian, Melanie Bridgeforth will assume the role of CEO for the organization who’s mission is to help create change for women and their children through advocacy, collaboration, and philanthropy.
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.”
Bridgeforth — a University of Alabama graduate with Master of Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology — led a transformation of VOICES public policy platform while strengthening the nonprofits’ overall reach, visibility, and impact over the past six years. She also 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.
“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,” said Lisa Engel, Lisa Engel, immediate past chair of the board and chair of the nine-person search committee comprised of corporate and community leaders.
She 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, as well as 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.”
Bridgeforth continued, “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.”
Bridgeforth begins her tenure with The Women’s Fund in late March 2018.