Our Staff

We believe homelessness is solvable and preventable, and that philanthropy is an essential partner in national and community efforts to end it. We are powered and united by the vision of a society where everyone has a place that they can call home–safe, decent, and affordable places in healthy, economically sound and supportive communities.

We use our funding to change larger systems, supporting innovative, results-driven approaches. We work in collaboration with government and other sectors to make investments within Connecticut and at the national level that catalyze positive change. At the core of everything we do is the idea of individual and community empowerment, of helping people get access to the tools and means to achieve.

In pursuing our work, we strive to live up to and put into action these values and principles: belief in people, innovation, results, leverage and integrity.

Janice Elliott, Executive Director

JE cropJanice Elliott brings to the Trust over twenty-five years of innovation and achievement in creating solutions to prevent and end homelessness through advocacy for systems change, and the creation of supportive and affordable housing for vulnerable individuals and families.

Before joining the Trust in September 2012, Janice led InSite Housing Solutions, a professional consulting firm specializing in the planning and creation of affordable housing that integrates human services. In this capacity, she served as a consultant to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and was the principal author of Opening Doors – Connecticut, a strategic framework for preventing and ending homelessness and the nation’s first state plan to be modeled on the federal Opening Doors initiative.

Janice served as Managing Director for the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) and was responsible for their four national programs: Policy and Research, Project Development and Finance, Resource Center, and Strategic Partnerships. She led several national programmatic and policy initiatives with CSH, including Taking Health Care Home, a multi-site initiative that advanced systems reforms to address chronic homelessness. In her prior role as Director of National and Southern New England programs at CSH, Janice worked in close partnership with the Melville Trust, advising Trust staff and board while leading the design of several statewide initiatives that have served as national models for the finance and production of supportive housing. She coordinated an unprecedented collaboration between philanthropy and the State of Connecticut’s housing, behavioral health, human service, child welfare, and workforce agencies to fund the creation of over 1,500 new units of supportive and mixed income housing in 40 communities.

Prior to joining CSH, Janice served as project manager for The Community Builders, a major nonprofit developer of affordable housing in the northeast.

Contact Janice at jelliott@melvilletrust.org

Aimee Hendrigan, Vice President, Programs

abAimeeboardcropAimee provides leadership and oversight for the Trust’s grantmaking and strategic communications and leads special initiatives related to key aspects of the Trust’s strategic plan, particularly those focused on families and youth. She provides staff support and supervision, and serves a key role in shaping strategy, guiding Trust policies and practices, and helping to develop future directions for the Trust.

Aimee joined the Trust nine years ago as Program Officer, and previously served as Senior Program Officer.  She has a Masters in City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley with a focus on community development. During graduate school she worked at the Fund for the City of New York and Berkeley’s Center for Independent Living. She was formerly a project manager at Santa Barbara County with responsibilities including: community and strategic planning, process improvement, and employee training. Before that Aimee was the Director of Communications at a software company. Aimee received her undergraduate degree from Harvard College.

Contact Aimee at ahendrigan@melvilletrust.org

Susan Thomas, Senior Program Officer

Susanshopped Susan handles grantmaking and knowledge development for key aspects of the Trust’s strategic plan. Her work advances effective strategies to increase housing affordability and to expand supportive housing to end chronic homelessness. Susan also leads the expansion of an outcome measurement system to assess the Trust’s impact, and provides support and guidance on the Trust’s financial and business planning activities.

Prior to joining the Trust, Susan was Project Officer for Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta, where she was responsible for leading “Unsheltered No More!,” an initiative to dramatically reduce street homelessness that so far has placed over 1,000 homeless men, women and children into permanent housing. As the former president of Providence Consulting Group, she helped launch a statewide foundation to assist foster families, and co-chaired an effort for the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Atlanta Housing Authority to rehouse 420 families as part of a major HOPE VI redevelopment project. Susan is a former Vice President of Community Investment and Area Development at the United Way of Greater Atlanta. Prior to her nonprofit career, she worked for 15 years in the areas of accounting, management consulting, and strategic planning. She holds an Masters of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and  Bachelors of Science in Accounting from the University of Maryland.

Contact Susan at sthomas@melvilletrust.org

Rebecca Allen, Program Officer

BeccatowardltRebecca’s responsibilities include grant planning, analysis, evaluation, and program development. Her strategic focus includes the development and management of an implementation plan to achieve the Trust’s goals around fostering housing stability and resilience among families and strengthening employment outcomes among people who have experienced homelessness.

Prior to joining the Trust, Rebecca was the Chief Program Officer for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp located in Ashford, CT, and was responsible for the oversight of all off-site camp programs and the advancement of the strategic plan. Prior to that position, most of her career has been dedicated to the behavioral health field. She was the Director of Programs and Services at Columbus House in New Haven, CT, where she helped launch Abraham’s Tent and Chapel on the Green, two programs that work with local clergy to provide services to adults who are homeless. She also worked with a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar to assess and make recommendations for the discharge and admission process between the local hospital and shelter. When Rebecca was the Regional Director of Rehabilitation Services at the Southwest Connecticut Mental Health System she led the successful implementation of the evidence-based practices of supported employment and integration of peers into the workforce throughout the region. She holds a Masters of Social Work from the University of Connecticut. Becca was a past recipient of the “Unsung Hero” Award bestowed by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in Dane County, Wisconsin, and a recipient of the 2006 “Manager of the Year” Award from the State of Connecticut, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services – Southwest Region.

Contact Rebecca at rallen@melvilletrust.org

Holly Sullivan, Finance Specialist

Holly CroppedHolly’s responsibilities include financial tasks to support the mission and strategic goals of the Trust, including financial reporting, policies and procedures, budgeting, accounts payable, payroll, purchasing and benefits management.

Holly has a Masters of Business Administration from Boston University and an undergraduate degree in Finance. She has extensive experience in profit and loss management, budgeting and forecasting, cash flow development management, audit, banking and investment analysis. Holly is a Trustee of the Marblehead Community Charter Public School Educational Foundation.

Contact Holly at hsullivan@melvilletrust.org

Gabrielle DeFord, Executive Assistant


Gabrielle manages the Trust’s data, logistics and offices; and supports its leaders in their grantmaking efforts.

She has a Masters in Ethics from Yale Divinity School, with a focus on fostering well-being, and a background in human rights and humanitarian work. Her experience includes supporting veterans dealing with PTSD, substance use disorders, and homelessness; and working with adolescents in high school settings. She is currently a clinical social work degree candidate at Southern Connecticut State University.

Contact Gabrielle at gdeford@melvilletrust.org

Bonnie Rosenbaum, Communications Manager

Bonnie Rosenbaum. Photo by Jordyn Rozensky.Bonnie is the newest member of the Melville Charitable Trust and is responsible for overseeing the Trust’s communications.

Bonnie has worked at the intersection of social change and media for 20 years. Prior to joining the Trust, Bonnie served as the Director of Communications for Keshet, where she helped grow a small local organization into a national nonprofit focused on creating a fully inclusive Jewish community for LGBTQ Jews. Bonnie served as the editorial coordinator for outreach campaigns for several PBS series and as a freelancer, she worked as a researcher, associate producer, and sound recorder for documentary films such as Renewal and Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School. She is on the program advisory committee for the elder services organization, FriendshipWorks and was a writing coach for high school students at the Posse Foundation.

Bonnie graduated from Tufts University with a dual degree in International Relations and Women’s Studies, received a certificate in non-fiction writing from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, and a masters in Media and Philanthropy from Suffolk University where she received the Waterston Fellowship, sponsored by actor Sam Waterston.

Contact Bonnie at brosenbaum@melvilletrust.org

Staff Photos: Mike Ritter,  Jonathan Olson, and Jordyn Rozensky