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Melissa Jones

Executive Director

For the last six years, Melissa has led BARHII's transformation from a regional coalition of governmental public health departments to include broad based community partnerships. Together, the BARHII staff team, the public health departments and community partners have advanced groundbreaking legislation to improve community conditions for health--including serving as the public health voice for paid sick leave, COVID-19 eviction moratoriums, and now a Black housing campaign. Today, she is leading the launch of a National Racial Health Justice Center, committed to making COVID-19 the turning point that accelerates health equity and racial justice.

Melissa brings over 20 years of experience in local government, community development, and youth services to her efforts at BARHII. Before joining BARHII, Melissa served as Senior Program Officer at Boston Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), where she launched and ran Boston LISC’s Resilient Communities Resilient Families (RCRF) Initiative and was awarded the LISC Presidents award in 2014 for her service. The initiative works to ensure that residents of Boston’s neighborhoods benefitted from the rising tide of transit and other public investments. During her tenure, RCRF engaged several thousand residents and non-profits in neighborhood planning. The program has invested millions of dollars to fund affordable housing, leadership development, Family Financial Opportunity Center programs, and a local entrepreneurship pipeline program to ensure residents’ financial lives are improving.

Melissa's experience in local government and years of funding and implementing programs focused on community economic development, family financial stability, education, and civic empowerment greatly influence her systems change strategies. Specifically, she has served in youth empowerment organizations, as Program Specialist for the City of Alameda, and as Program Analyst for the City of Oakland’s Oakland Fund for Children and Youth. Early in her career, she served as Director of Professional Development for Partners in School Innovation where she trained staff to support school reform efforts in San Francisco Unified, San Jose Unified, and Oak Grove Unified school districts.

A life long learner who finds inspiration across the Globe, Melissa is honored to have been selected to serve as an Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity, a Fulcrum Fellow with the Center for Community Investment, and a doctoral candidate with the United Nation's Executive Doctorate Program in Governance at the University of Masschirat in the Netherlands.

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