Director of Mental Health and Wellness
Melanie Funchess oversees projects to improve mental- and emotional-health outcomes for youth and adults across the Finger Lakes region. Responsibilities include developing and executing work-plan initiatives and helping ensure that the organization maximizes its impact through strategic alignment with national, state and local initiatives to improve health equity.
Funchess has been a family and youth advocate for more than two decades and has worked extensively in the areas of family engagement and empowerment as well as community building. Most recently, she served as CEO and principal at Ubuntu Village Works LLC, an organization dedicated to creating culturally responsive, community-driven, healing and wellness spaces. Prior to that, she served as director of community engagement and family support at the Mental Health Association of Rochester/Monroe County. In this role, she built connections to diverse communities and ensured family and peer perspectives were effectively represented and reflected in the work of systems that affect their lives.
Funchess is involved in several national and community-based coalitions and organizations such as The Child, Adolescent, and Family Branch Council for the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), The National Network to End Disparities in behavioral healthcare (NNED), African American Leadership Development Program (AALDP), African American Health Coalition (AAHC), Black Women’s Leadership Forum (BWLF), Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group (BAG), Greater Rochester Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI), Community Task Force for School Climate (CTF) and Roc The Future Parent Engagement Community Action Network (PECAN).
Melanie Funchess is working toward a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies - Health in the African American Community at SUNY Empire State College. She is a devoted wife and mother of four children.