GreenLight Fund named Melissa Luna as the executive director for its flagship site, GreenLight Boston. Since 2004, GreenLight Boston has invested $8.5 million to import eleven organizations on track to annually reach 75,000 low-income children and families by the end of year. Luna’s appointment comes at a time when GreenLight Fund is deepening its local community engagement and extending its partnerships with industry, entrepreneurial and philanthropic leaders in Boston.
Melissa comes to GreenLight Fund with a track record of working in low-income communities of color as a nonprofit and philanthropic leader. Most recently, she served as the Managing Director for Demand Abolition, a national program of Ambassador Swanee Hunt’s foundation, bringing research and innovative tactics to local communities in an effort to curb the harm caused by sex trafficking. While at Demand Abolition, Melissa oversaw the foundation’s multi-million-dollar investment to align federal policy work with survivor advocacy and local solutions in ten urban communities. Prior to Demand Abolition, Melissa’s career started at Sociedad Latina, a community-based nonprofit providing holistic range of services for thousands of Latino youth and families to ensure a successful pathway to college and viable careers. She founded the organization’s youth community organizing program, leading successful policy campaigns on the local and state levels in education, public health, and community development.
Melissa has been a proud resident of the Boston area since arriving here in 1999 to attend Harvard University, where she earned a B.A. in Government in 2003. She is an alumna of the Institute of Nonprofit Practice and a board member of the Phillips Brooks House Association and March Forward Massachusetts.
“I came to GreenLight as a way to create meaningful impact in the place that I live,” said Melissa. “I’m thrilled to play a role in identifying -and bringing to Boston – the solutions to persistent challenges facing those living in poverty. When we don’t have solutions, young people and their families pay the price. We know innovative solutions exist. GreenLight Fund Boston is a chance to find those that are right for our community and bring them here in the right way.”
In her new role, Melissa will lead GreenLight Fund Boston’s 12th selection cycle to identify issue areas, perform diligence and select an organization to support. She will partner with the Selection Advisory Council made up of Boston leaders from businesses, nonprofits, philanthropy and government.
Previous selection cycles resulted in the launching of organizations that have become part of the critical network of services for low-income families, like Family Independence Initiative- Boston, Friends of the Children Boston, College Advising Corps, Raising a Reader and most recently, Becoming a Man-Boston. Each year, GreenLight Fund Boston introduces its new portfolio organization to the broader philanthropic and investor community through a series of events including the Gala, Emerald Evening and the Investors vs. Entrepreneurs Golf Tournament.
GreenLight Fund’s CEO and Co-Founder, Margaret Hall remarked, “We’re thrilled that Melissa is leading GreenLight Fund Boston. Her experience in the community and philanthropy will help Boston continue its legacy of success.”
John Simon, GreenLight Fund’s Co-Founder and Board Chair echoed Margaret’s enthusiasm “I’m excited to partner with Melissa in growing and deepening our work in our founding site. Thanks to the engagement of thousands of investors, partners and friends here in Boston, the $8.5 million we’ve invested in Boston has yielded over $50 million in follow-on capital and a group of organizations reaching 75,000 low-income children and families in 2018 alone. Furthermore, the Greenlight Fund model, developed and refined in Boston, is now bringing impact in 7 communities across the country.”
About GreenLight Fund
The GreenLight Fund is a Boston-based 501(c)(3) organization that aims to transform the lives of children, youth and families in high-poverty urban areas by creating local infrastructure and a consistent annual process to: identify critical needs; import innovative programs with proven, measurable results; and galvanize local support to help programs reach and sustain impact. Current GreenLight cities include Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Kansas City, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Learn more or sign-up for the GreenLight Boston newsletter at: https://greenlightfund.org/newsletter