Melanie Hildreth


Vice President for External Relations

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Melanie Hildreth works closely with key programs of IJ to ensure that the Institute for Justice has the kind of resources necessary to succeed in all the areas where IJ operates, from litigation and communications to activism and strategic research. She contributes actively to the development and implementation of strategic efforts throughout the organization and is an integral part of maintaining IJ’s recognized stellar fiscal responsibility, which has earned Charity Navigator’s highest “4-star” rating for 17 consecutive years.

Melanie oversees institutional relationships with major supporters, traveling to meet with IJ’s top-tier donors and prospects and ensure that their investment is recognized and results are reported to them. She coordinates efforts with other senior staff to build IJ’s relationships with its base of support and serves as editor of Liberty & Law. She initiated and directs IJ’s Four Pillars Society, which recognizes supporters who have included IJ in their estate plans, and has grown from 17 members in 2006 to more than 500 today. In that capacity, Melanie led the Selz Legacy Challenge, a multi-year, $50 million planned gift campaign, ultimately securing $117 million in planned gift pledges for IJ. She also helps manage and develop the professionalism of IJ’s development team and conducts professional presentations on nonprofit development, planned giving, and donor relations.

Melanie joined IJ in 2005. Before coming to IJ she worked in development at the Bill of Rights Institute in Arlington, Va. She graduated summa cum laude from DePauw University with a degree in philosophy and lives in northern Virginia with her husband Jeff and their three children.

Melanie was previously interviewed by the podcast Palm Beach Philanthropy.

Melanie and IJ Attorney Rob Peccola conducted a call for supporters about tax-smart charitable giving in light of tax reform in 2017. An audio recording and summary of key points are available here.

She also conducted a Four Pillars Society podcast with Litigation Director at the Institute for Justice, Dana Berliner.

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