Senior Program Officer
Melina Sanchez joined the Irvine Foundation as a Program Officer in June 2016 to work on the Foundation’s civic participation initiatives. She brings more than a decade of experience including leadership roles in the foundation, nonprofit, and government sectors at the national, state, and local levels.
Previously, Melina served as a Civic Engagement Officer at the California Community Foundation in Los Angeles for nearly five years. Melina helped to define and implement strategies and activities as part of the foundation’s inaugural Civic Engagement Department and convened the Los Angeles Preschool Advocacy Initiative Coalition, a cross-sector collaborative that helped restore $40 million for early learning programs at the Los Angeles Unified School District. Melina also served as Policy Chair of the LA Partnership for Early Childhood Funders’ Collaborative and received an Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy Award.
Earlier in her career, Melina served as a Legislative Assistant for Los Angeles Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, managing a broad portfolio of policy issues, including justice, civil rights, homeland security, and women and children’s issues. Melina also brings political campaign experience, having staffed congressional races and serving as a Research Analyst on Senator John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. In addition, Melina brings experience as a nonprofit consultant and an advocate for young children through her work with the statewide advocacy nonprofit Children Now. She started her career in public policy as an advocate for campaign finance reform.
Melina, a native of Los Angeles, earned her B.A. from Vanderbilt University. She completed her mid-career MPA at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government with a focus on philanthropy, working on a study of philanthropy in Latin America through the Hauser Institute for Civil Society, as well as holding a position on the editorial staff of the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy.