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Melinda Fine, Ed.D.

Affiliate, Philanthropy

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Aligning strategy, learning, and collaboration to foster lasting change

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”―Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

A mission-driven philanthropy strategist and thought leader, Melinda is inspired by people and communities that bring the power of strategic smarts, collaborative will, and compassion to the goal of advancing social justice. Melinda’s role as Executive Philanthropy Affiliate builds on her service as TCC’s Director of Philanthropy and Strategic Partnerships from 2015-2020.

In her 35 years of active engagement in the philanthropy and nonprofit sectors, Melinda has worked with diverse organizations tackling challenges on the local, national, and global scale, encompassing work in civic engagement and community building, youth development and education, gender rights, health equity, immigration and refugee rights, and more. Finding her own voice early on as a feminist and anti-nuclear weapons activist, Melinda brings strong analytic chops, a big heart, and a habit of careful listening and collaborative problem-solving to her work with foundations of all shapes and sizes.

An active board member of national and global nonprofits focused on human rights, gender equity, and anti-racism, Melinda has published and spoken widely on foundation strategy and movement building. In her role as a foundation strategy advisor, she guides institutional change efforts by asking probing questions, presenting data in accessible and actionable ways, and facilitating collaborative dialogue. With a doctorate in education, Melinda has worked extensively with foundations, community-based and advocacy organizations, and research institutes to tackle persistent structural challenges and advance lasting solutions.

At TCC Group:
  • Nellie Mae Education Foundation: Melinda leads the TCC team’s multi-year strategic planning and organization change engagement for New England’s largest education funder. Bringing deep knowledge of philanthropy best practice and equity change approaches, TCC supports the Foundation in translating its recently adopted racial equity principles into strategic priorities, grantmaking approaches, and aligned mission, vision, and values. Informed by her prior experience directing a national, pooled funder collaborative focused on educational equity and community building, Melinda guides Nellie Mae’s exploration of approaches to ensure that youth and families least well-served by today’s schools and school systems drive change efforts in collaborative partnership with the Foundation.
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF): In partnership with TCC Group’s philanthropic strategy, stakeholder engagement, and evaluation staff, Melinda leads this national funder’s ambitious effort to build the health equity field by aligning and mobilizing diverse public and private funders, health equity researchers, and communities most affected by health disparities. Bringing deep expertise in funder collaboration, landscape mapping, and the practical application of research to inform strategy, TCC is guiding RWJF’s leadership in coalescing funders to advance health equity research, taking a broad, “intersectional” approach to support the development and use of research across issues and sectors to foster a culture of health.
  • Open Society Foundations (OSF) Global Drug Policy Program: Over consecutive engagements spanning three years, Melinda led the TCC team in supporting this global funder’s strategy development during a period of significant institutional transition. TCC’s work included conducting and integrating landscape research about the state of global drug policy across various countries in the Global South; key stakeholder analysis of opportunities and challenges; assessment of OSF’s global program’s distinctive strengths and capacities; and facilitating dialogue with the Global Drug Policy Program staff and Advisory Board members. TCC also worked closely with program staff to conceptualize, frame, and refine new strategy materials for the coming years.
Before TCC Group:
  • NEO Philanthropy: Serving as this 40-year-old organization’s first Vice President, Melinda helped lead the national public charity in its commitment to “marshalling the power of collaborative philanthropy to advance social justice.” Providing overall executive leadership to align movement building strategies across diverse pooled funds, Melinda wrote and spoke extensively in sector forums; launched new donor advised and pooled efforts addressing anti-trafficking, sexual assault, and domestic violence; and spearheaded organizational assessment efforts to strengthen NEO operations and learning culture.
  • Communities for Public Education Reform (CPER) Fund: Melinda directed a national, pooled donor collaborative that engaged 76 local and national funders, investing $34 million in educational equity across grassroots organizing and advocacy groups. Using all the tools in a funder’s tool box, CPER integrated grantmaking, convening, capacity building, peer learning, and strategic communities strategies. By amplifying the voice of youth and parents of color, and supporting intersectional coalitions for educational justice, immigration rights, juvenile justice reform, and gender rights, CPER helped enable grantees’ achievement of 90 systemic policy reforms while building sustained civic leadership.
  • Harvard University
    • EdD, focus on education for social responsibility, educational equity, and youth civic engagement
    • EdM, focus on education for social responsibility, educational equity, and youth civic engagement
  • Dartmouth College
    • BA, focus on feminist theory and social change
Board Service:
  • Facing History and Ourselves
  • Funders for Gender Equity Committee of Philanthropy New York
  • Humanity in Action
  • Annenberg Institute for School Reform, Community Involvement Program (past)
  • Know Your IX (past)
  • New York City Community Education Council, District 2 (past)
  • NYU Wagner School, Research Center for Leadership and Action (past)
Additional Works:
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