Samantha Mellerson is the Chief of Strategy and Impact with the W. Haywood Burns Institute. Sam brings over 15 years of experience working with issues of social justice, racial and ethnic equity, education, diversity, youth justice, child welfare and wellbeing. She also brings a depth of knowledge around nonprofit capacity building and is a certified empowerment and diversity coach. Sam has worked across public and private sectors in various capacities such as non-profit direct service and management, local and state government and philanthropy.
Samantha previously worked for the Annie E. Casey Foundation as the Senior Associate of Capacity Building. Her primary focus was to strengthen the field of the nonprofit sector by increasing organizational effectiveness through a race equity informed and results based capacity building strategy to produce meaningful results for children and families.
Prior to joining Casey, Samantha was the Chief Operating Officer for the Department of Social Services for Baltimore City, where she worked on and led major Child Welfare and Family Investment Administration reforms.
Sam also served as the Chief Program Officer for Baltimore’s Local Management Board, The Family League, where she was responsible for delivering results within a portfolio of work that included Out of School Time; Food and Nutrition Programs; Community Schools; Ready by 21 Initiatives; Disproportionate Minority Contact and Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities; and System Reform.
Samantha has many years of experience and expertise in community based programming such as alternatives to detention, and youth and parent engagement through her work history as the Detention Reduction Advocacy Program Director for Building Communities Today for Tomorrow, Inc.; a Case Developer for the Baltimore City Mayor's Office Juvenile Offender Project; an Assessment Placement Specialist for an Annie E. Casey Foundation Department of Juvenile Justice Special Project; a Case Management Supervisor for the Baltimore Empowerment Project's Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice Detention, Diversion and Advocacy Program; and as a Forensic Adult Case Manager with the Suncoast Center for Community Mental Health in Florida.
Samantha is a graduate from the University of Toronto, and is an active community volunteer and serves on several committees and boards focused on giving young people greater opportunities to thrive.