OUR TEAM

Maria F. Melo, Executive Director 

Maria F. Melo is the inaugural permanent Executive Director of 805 UndocuFund. Maria is a proud bilingual (English/Spanish) immigrant and policy professional with over 20 years of experience in the non-profit and government sectors in California, Washington D.C. and Latin America.

With a passion for social justice, Maria has built a solid track record working with community stakeholders to advance the programmatic priorities of the organizations she’s worked with. These include the Consulate of Colombia in Los Angeles where she held the position of Deputy Consul, as well as the Los Angeles Region American Red Cross, and more recently, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the largest provider of LGBT specific services in the world.

Maria received a master’s degree in International Relations from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid as a scholar for the Government of Spain, completed a UCLA Extension Certificate in Business as a recipient of the Laurel Hummel Scholarship for International Students, and participated in Southern California Coro’s Women in Leadership Fellowship Program in 2020. Maria is also a Board Member at Santa Barbara’s Pacific Pride Foundation. She enjoys cooking and currently resides in Ventura, California with her wife and children.

Jennifer Ortiz, Operations Coordinator

Jennifer Ortiz is the inaugural Operations Coordinator of the 805 UndocuFund. Jennifer is a proud bilingual (Spanish/English), first-generation Chicana. Jennifer was raised in Oxnard, California and is the daughter of immigrants from Michoacan, Mexico. She graduated from Cal State Channel Islands with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology.

Jennifer’s passion for social justice, mental health and working with her community is rooted from her experience growing up in Oxnard. Before joining the 805 UndocuFund team, Jennifer became active with the youth community in Oxnard. Over the past five years, she has worked with the youth in different sectors such as a behavioral health youth counselor and as an activity leader for Oxnard City Corps. During wildfire season and Covid-19, Jennifer continued to see how the youth and families she was serving struggled to recover from disasters due to socio-economic factors and lack of social safety net services. This led to Jennifer wanting to get more involved in advocating, teaching and empowering her community to fight for equity and equality.

Jennifer is proud to be a part of the 805 UndocuFund team and hopes to continue to work with her community in creating a long-term system change. Jennifer loves to travel, going to concerts, and spending time with her family and friends.