Melissa Phillips – Vice President of Avow Foundation
Melissa Phillips joined Avow in July, 2016 to serve as the Vice President of Philanthropy/Avow Foundation, Inc.
Prior to joining Avow, Melissa was the Senior Director of Gift Planning at the Lee Memorial Health System Foundation. She has worked within the humanitarian arena for more than 20 years where she has raised over $40 million dollars for meaningful and effective not-for-profit organizations.
Melissa began her own career as a social worker on a medical floor at a hospital, followed by a position within the mental health crisis unit. She also worked in private practice as a family therapist. A former Director at the NCH Healthcare Foundation recruited Melissa which launched her career into the not-for-profit sector. Melissa received her master’s degree from Florida Gulf Coast University. Melissa spent time outside the U.S. in Jordan studying and volunteering for a United States Aid organization. Upon her return to the states, she became the Executive Director at the American Cancer Society on Marco Island.
Melissa strongly believes that social work — a career that strives to improve the quality of life of both communities and individuals who are affected by poverty and social disadvantages—is the backbone of philanthropy and non-profit organizations. For Melissa, giving back is an innate decision — one she considers a calling and an integral part of her moral code. She grew up in a community that was predicated on families always helping one another. Fortunately, that community remains the same to this day, and it is that distinctive giving that Melissa strives for in her daily work.