Maria Melo, Executive Director 

Maria is a proud bilingual (English/Spanish) and bi-cultural immigrant Latina policy professional with over 20 years of experience in the non-profit and government sectors in Southern California, Washington D.C. and Latin America. Maria’s passion is helping build bridges between diverse communities and bringing the right partners and resources together to advance the programmatic and policy priorities of the organizations she’s worked with. These include the Los Angeles American Red Cross, one of the largest regional American Red Cross teams in the nation, and most recently, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the largest provider of LGBT specific services in the world. Ms. Melo has dedicated her career to translating her passion for social justice and mission-driven work into tangible deliverables serving underserved communities.

Originally from Colombia, Maria lives with her family in Ventura, California, having relocated from Southern California last year. Maria is also the former Deputy Consul for Colombia in Los Angeles. She holds an M.A. in International Relations from the Universidad Complutense of Madrid, Spain, and more recently completed a fellowship with Southern California Coro’s Women in Leadership Program. She is also a board member at the Pacific Pride Foundation.

En Español

María es una profesional latina, bilingüe (inglés / español), bicultural e inmigrante con pasión por su comunidad. Con más de 20 años de experiencia en los sectores gubernamentales y el sector sin fines de lucro en Los Ángeles, Washington D.C. y América Latina. María llega a esta posición después de una larga trayectoria demostrando que conoce cómo acercar lideres diversos en la comunidad y movilizar los recursos correctos para avanzar las prioridades programáticas y políticas de las organizaciones con las que ha trabajado. Estas incluyen la Cruz Roja Americana de Los Ángeles, uno de los equipos regionales de asistencia humanitaria más grandes de la nación, y más recientemente, el Centro LGBT de Los Ángeles, el mayor proveedor de servicios específicos LGBT del mundo.

Originaria de Colombia, María vive con su familia en Ventura, California, desde el año pasado. María también es la ex Cónsul de Colombia en Los Ángeles. Tiene una maestría en Relaciones Internacionales de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, España, y más recientemente completó una beca con el “Programa de Mújeres y Liderazgo” de Southern California Coro. También es miembro de la junta de la Pacific Pride Foundation.

disaster relief operation teams

Since 2018, 805UndocuFund has served more than 6,000 immigrant individuals and families when disaster hit the Central Coast. We have responded to COVID-19 and the Thomas, Woolsey and Maria Fires thanks the passion and hard work of more than five hundred Ventura and Santa Barbara County volunteers, as well as staff members from MICOP, CAUSE and Future Leaders of America. Together, we have successfully worked with key community partners to activate and scale up our disaster relief operations model to help immigrant communities recover and rebuild their lives.