Melanie Torres is a managing director at Arabella who leads the firm’s client innovation and strategic planning efforts. In this role, she works across the firm’s leadership team and portfolio of projects to identify and build new service capabilities to better serve the philanthropy and impact investing sectors. She also partners with Arabella’s client service and internal teams to establish and implement the firm’s business strategy. Prior to taking on this innovation-focused role, Melanie oversaw Arabella’s Advisory team, which works with institutional, family, individual, and corporate clients to help them go from idea to impact.
In her time at Arabella, Melanie has spearheaded multiple high-impact strategy and evaluation projects on behalf of both domestic and international philanthropic initiatives. She has led an evaluation of a women’s donor network that funds global health interventions, assessed a donor-driven advocacy initiative to increase foreign aid, and conducted a community health needs assessment for a major nonprofit hospital system. Melanie also partnered with a place-based funder to develop a plan to evaluate organizational capacity-building efforts across a diverse portfolio of grantees, and she worked with one of the nation’s largest education funders to design and implement a grantee learning network. Currently, Melanie is partnering with a family foundation to implement local grant-making efforts focused on mental and behavioral health, and with a major health-focused foundation to build a portfolio of impact investments.
Prior to joining Arabella, Melanie was part of the founding team to bring 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus’s vision of microfinance to the United States through the social enterprise Grameen America. She also led corporate and foundation partnership initiatives for Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, an organization committed to improving financial literacy and economic development opportunities among low-income communities. Her other professional experiences include working with Newman’s Own Foundation to identify investment opportunities in the social enterprise sector, and with the Maverick Capital Foundation, a corporate funder focused on poverty-alleviation programs in New York. She is also a board member for Puente a la Salud Comunitaria, a Oaxaca-based nonprofit focused on sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty.
Melanie holds a BS in communication studies and international studies from Northwestern University and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. While at Yale, she served as the co-chair for its annual conference on philanthropy and was a member of the Global Social Enterprise program. After helping establish Arabella’s New York office, Melanie now resides in Denver with her family.