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Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity
Melanie R. Brown AFSEE

Melanie R. Brown

Deputy Director of Global Policy & Advocacy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Melanie is a speaker, writer, strategist and advisor on race, gender, inequality, global philanthropy, and social investment. She is currently the Deputy Director of Global Policy & Advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Melanie is also an adjunct professor at the American University School of Education and serves on the AU Alumni Association Board. She is the current Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Women’s Funding Network, the largest philanthropic network of foundations, funds and organisations dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls around the world.

Her research on activism and social change among youth and women has been featured in scholarly and trade publications such as the Journal for Applied Developmental Psychology and Alliance Magazine. Melanie has developed multimillion dollar strategies to accelerate Black and Latinx student achievement, disarm deficit narratives of Black men across social and traditional media, advance Black women’s reproductive rights, and bolster engagement and organizing on a variety of issues across rural and queer communities. Melanie has been invited to speak and advise on these issues throughout the United States, as well as in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Cuba.

In 2020, Melanie was named a BMe Vanguard Fellow, part of a network of leaders committed to centring discussions of racial equity on Black people’s aspirations and contributions.

Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree from American University. She graduated with a MA in Education from Harvard University and a MA in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University. She is a native of Pittsburgh, PA and resides in Washington, D.C.  

I believe in the transformative power of education for individuals and for a society and dream of a world in which schools are places of justice, not injustice; places where we teach to liberate, not indoctrinate or incarcerate; where we value active citizenship as much as academic achievement; where children are safe, loved and nurtured not in spite of, but because of, who they are. I do this work because I know it is needed and because I believe it is possible.

Melanie R. Brown


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