Melanie Edwards-Tavares

President & CEO

SouthCoast Community Foundation

Over her 30-year career, Dr. Melanie Edwards-Tavares has held positions across the state and region’s nonprofit sector at organizations that include the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Service Alliance, MassHousing, PACE YouthBuild New Bedford, and New Bedford Child and Family Services. Most recently, she served as the Director of Capacity Building and Nonprofit Support at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, where she managed over $3 million in charitable giving annually, to strengthen nonprofits in the Greater Hartford region. In 2019, she earned her Doctorate from Harvard University with a focus on system-level leadership and nonprofit sustainability.Melanie is a New Bedford native who grew up in several neighborhoods across the city, including the former United Front Homes Housing Development, where, as a teen mom with the help of her mother, they started a small nonprofit organization to encourage peer leadership, and youth advocacy around issues relative to HIV and AIDS prevention, teen pregnancy prevention and community leadership. Today, she champions youth voice by serving on the board of Big Picture Learning, an international nonprofit advocating for more equitable and student-centered education.Melanie resides in Fairhaven with her wife, Tanina, where, in their free time, they enjoy spoiling their grandchildren. As a Johnson and Wales University Culinary Arts program graduate, you will find Melanie cooking for family and friends an