Meet Our Staff


Mel Barnard

Project Coordinator
Hometown: West Point, NY

Pronouns: they/them

Mel believes in facing the multi-faceted challenges of our time by connecting resources with the people who need them. They previously interned at two policy think tanks in DC and learned a lot from fast-paced, hard-working Development Directors. At the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, they helped write resources for partner fundraising staff and make donor reports easily understood.

Mel earned their BA in Psychology at George Mason University with a minor in Philosophy and Law. At university, where they presented an undergraduate thesis to a committee of experts as part of an Honors Psychology program and were awarded as an Outstanding Senior. They previously volunteered writing newsletters for EcoRing, a green travel nonprofit based in California. At Elevate, they have worked with a number of clients across the nonprofit sector, from homelessness to refugee services to education.

Outside of work, Mel enjoys playing board games (anything besides Monopoly) with their partner, and cuddling with their two cats, Raini and Zuzu. They also spend time making lots of art!

What punctuation mark would you be and why?

I would probably be a comma because they add a natural pausing point mid-sentence, and I love introspection, tea, art, sleep, and everything else that gives a little pause on the bustle of everyday life.

What is your grammatical pet peeve?

I've read a few articles that intentionally use passive voice to hide a bad actor. Communicating is already difficult, we don't need to further obfuscate the truth.

What is your hidden talent?

I make a lot of abstract art, which I hope is enjoyable to look at; imagine colorful impressionism, but there's no landscape.

What is your favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

I love board games! My partner and I have a whole collection, but our favorite is Wingspan by Elizabeth Hargrave. The aim is to play all sorts of bird cards using eggs and different types of food. It's a lovely game and I highly recommend it.

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