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Melanie Hildreth

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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 18 consecutive years.

Melanie oversees institutional relationships with major supporters, traveling to meet with IJ’s top-tier investors and others who contribute to the organization’s long-term and ongoing growth and effectiveness. She serves as editor of both the print and electronic versions of Liberty & Law, IJ’s flagship publication, and hosts Deep Dive with the Institute for Justice, a video and podcast series exploring aspects of IJ’s strategy and tactics. Melanie 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 600 today. In that capacity, she led IJ’s multi-year, $50 million planned gift campaign, which concluded in 2018 and secured $117 million in planned gift pledges. She helps manage and develop the professionalism of IJ’s development team and conducts professional presentations on nonprofit development and planned giving.

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 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.

Melanie has been interviewed by The Chronicle of Philanthropy and by the podcast Palm Beach Philanthropy.

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