Melissa Saavedra is a San Francisco Bay Area native with twenty years of experience in the non-profit and social justice arena as an advocate, writer, researcher, facilitator, and storyteller. She has worked in diverse community settings, philanthropy, and policy advocacy; her work is deeply informed by her experience as a mixed race woman of color.
In the past, Melissa bridged the program and communications departments as a speechwriter, researcher, and liaison at PolicyLink, working across the full spectrum of policies, crafting forward facing communications and collaborating with the Obama administration and numerous federal agencies. Previously, Melissa led a grantmaking portfolio in community health at The San Francisco Foundation as a Multicultural Fellow in Community Health; while at the foundation she also served as coordinator of the FAITHS Youth Leadership Program. Her initial work in the field found her collaborating directly with clients in mental health service organizations, followed by leading community health outreach in low-income communities of color, local and state health policy advocacy, and coalition building in the San Francisco Bay Area, at Health Access.
Melissa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley. She has also has significant experience as a youth mentor, public speaker, facilitator, and is a certified yoga teacher currently teaching in downtown Oakland. Melissa is committed to cultural competence and sensitivity, with experience working in communities of color, low-income communities, with immigrants, youth, and LGBTQ communities.