Melanie R. Bridgeforth, MSW


President & CEO

Women’s Foundation of Alabama

A veteran advocate, Melanie has spent her entire professional career fighting for equitable systems and sustainable impact at scale. Leveraging her expertise in social change philanthropy, governmental relations, public policy development, and bridging community voice with key decision-making bodies, Melanie has a proven track-record of success with nearly two dozen public policy victories benefitting the health, safety, and economic mobility of hundreds of thousands of Alabamians. 

In 2018, Melanie took her visionary leadership to the only regional women’s foundation in the state and in three short years transformed the institution into Women’s Foundation of Alabama – the state’s leading philanthropic and leadership voice for women. Under Melanie’s leadership, the Foundation embedded an equity-informed approach, nearly doubled annual philanthropic investments to community partners, and launched the organization’s data-driven policy and grassroots arm yielding several historic legislative wins for women, including passage of the state’s first Equal Pay Statute. 

Prior to her leadership at Women’s Foundation of Alabama, Melanie led VOICES for Alabama’s Children, the state’s premiere child advocacy organization, directed the Alabama Government Relations department for the American Heart Association, and served as a policy fellow for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington D.C.

Melanie serves on the Board of Directors for the Birmingham Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the Alabama School Readiness Alliance (ASRA), Alabama Giving and Prosper. Melanie also sits on the Alabama Women’s Health Commission as an appointee of the Lt. Governor of the State of Alabama. She is a proud member of Rotary Birmingham, The Links, Incorporated – Birmingham (AL) Chapter, and the 2020 Class of Leadership Birmingham. Melanie has received numerous professional recognitions as a 2021 CEO of the Year nominee by Birmingham Business Journal, one of thirty Women Who Shape the State of Alabama in 2018 by Birmingham Magazine, and a 2019 Woman of Impact by Yellowhammer News. In 2021, Melanie was appointed by the Lt. Governor of the State of Alabama to serve on the Women’s Health Commission and was named an Aspen Institute Ascend Fellow joining a distinguished group of visionary social change agents from across the U.S. 

An Athens native, Melanie earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from The University of Alabama. She and her husband, attorney D.W. Scott and their beloved French Bulldog, Winston, call Highland Park home.