October 28, 2019

Dear Friends,

The Board of Directors of the Melville Charitable Trust is pleased to announce that after an extensive search it has selected Susan Thomas to be the foundation’s next President, effective January 6, 2020.  As many of you know, Susan is the Trust’s Program Director, leading the foundation’s housing and racial equity efforts for five years and managing a state and national portfolio of grants supporting solutions to homelessness. She will become the third leader of our 30-year-old foundation, succeeding Janice Elliott as she retires at the end of this year.

Susan emerged as our new leader because of her demonstrated skills, considerable achievements, and deep commitment to the foundation’s mission, vision, and values.  She is dedicated, resourceful, and known for her talent in developing strategic relationships, forging consensus, and galvanizing support for a common cause. We believe her leadership will open new avenues for investing in visionary organizations, advancing racial equity, and fostering deep collaboration between sectors.

“I am truly honored to serve and lead this wonderful foundation,” said Thomas. “I joined the Trust over five years ago because of its unwavering commitment to ending homelessness and its strategic support of systems change. Looking forward, the Board, our incredible staff team, and I agree that given the racial disparity of those most likely to experience homelessness, we will not end homelessness until we prevent and end it for black and brown people. It does not work the other way around. Although we don’t yet know the precise path to that end, we’re looking forward to working alongside our current and future partners to figure that out.”

In her current role, Susan has been instrumental in the creation of Funders for Housing and Opportunity,a national non-partisan, cross-sector funder collaborative focused on tackling the housing affordability crisis by supporting advocacy, narrative change work, and efforts to scale effective practices at the intersection of housing, health, economic mobility, and education. While at the Trust, she was also selected to participate in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Fellowship program targeting leaders working to improve outcomes for children, families, and communities.

Before joining the Trust, Susan was Project Officer for Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta, where she was responsible for leading Unsheltered No More!, an initiative to dramatically reduce street homelessness which placed over 1,000 homeless men, women, and children into permanent housing.  As the former president of Providence Consulting Group, she helped launch a statewide foundation to assist foster families, and she co-chaired an effort for the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Atlanta Housing Authority to rehouse 420 families as part of a major HOPE VI redevelopment project. Susan is a former Vice President of Community Investment and Area Development at the United Way of Greater Atlanta, where she was responsible for strategic investments of $107 million in grants over three years.

Before launching her nonprofit career, Susan worked for 15 years in the areas of accounting, management consulting, and strategic planning.  She holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS in Accounting from the University of Maryland.

We are tremendously proud and excited that Susan will be the Trust’s new leader.  Her background in innovative philanthropy, her deep experience leading collaborative efforts to end homelessness, and her passion for this work will be invaluable assets in her new leadership role at the Trust. Please join us in congratulating her!


Stephen Melville, Board Chair

Published on October 28, 2019
Filed in Announcements