Melanie R. Bridgeforth, MSWExecutive Director
With over seven years of experience in government and non-governmental social and health policy analysis and development,Melanie R. Bridgeforth joined VOICES for Alabama’s Children as the Executive Director in 2013. In her role as Executive Director, Melanie presides as the organization’s lead spokesperson and chief legislative liaison as well as serves on numerous statewide councils including the State Children’s Policy Council, the state Early Childhood Advisory Council, Alabama Literacy Alliance and the Board of Directors for the Alabama School Readiness Alliance (ASRA). She was recently selected as the newest board member of the Partnership for America’s Children representing Alabama at the national level.
A native Alabamian, Melanie has dedicated her entire professional career to advocating for vulnerable populations, in particular the children of our state. Prior to joining VOICES for Alabama’s Children, Melanie served as the Government Relations Director in Alabama for the American Heart Association — an organization she remains dedicated to as a volunteer. During her tenure there, Melanie played a pivotal role in several public policy victories, including passage of numerous smokefree laws in municipalities across Alabama as well as passage of regulation requiring in-hospital heart defect screening of all Alabama newborns to help reduce infant deaths from undetected heart issues. Before joining the American Heart Association, Melanie served as Policy Analyst for VOICES for Alabama’s Children, overseeing public policy, research, grassroots and legislative activities for the organization. She also took her talents to a national level, serving as policy intern with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C.
Melanie’s passion for public service has not only yielded advocacy wins, but resulted in professional recognition and honors, including the 2012 Excellence in Advocacy award from the American Heart Association; the 2010 King Spirit Honors recipient presented by the Montgomery Advertiser to local leaders striving to create positive change; selection for the 2009 Alabama Leadership Initiative (ALI) class and the 2010-2011 ALI Chair.
Melanie earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She currently serves on the volunteer boards of the Alabama Literacy Alliance and Project Horseshoe Farm, a community-based non-profit in Greensboro, Alabama working to address the needs of children, seniors and adults with mental illness.