About UsOur LeadershipMelissa Conner

Melissa Conner

Chief Advancement Officer

Melissa Conner is the Chief Advancement Officer at FoundationCCC, responsible for overseeing the Advancement Team which includes resource development, communications, technology development, and fiscal sponsorship.

Her passion for stakeholder engagement and communication, combined with her expertise in aligning philanthropic resources with the organization’s mission, has helped raise over $150 million annually for FoundationCCC. This financial support directly benefits California community college students, faculty, staff, and the entire system.

Since joining FoundationCCC in 2006, Conner’s entrepreneurial mindset, strategic leadership, and communication and technology expertise have significantly contributed to the organization’s growth. She has cultivated major partnerships with funders, higher education institutions, and state entities, and works closely with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to support large-scale, systemwide student success reforms.

Conner played a pivotal role in securing philanthropic backing for the California Community Colleges Student Success Initiative (2009), the launch of the Success Center for California Community Colleges (2014), and the system’s current adopted strategic framework, the Vision for Success: Strengthening the California Community Colleges to Meet California’s Needs.

Foundation Highlights

  • Working hand-in-hand with the Chancellor’s Office, raised more than $10 million in philanthropic support for implementing plans to achieve the Vision for Success
  • Leading the implementation of award-winning communications, outreach, and design campaigns, including the organization’s branding, recognized by a national gold award from CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education)
  • Overseeing the launch of user-centered technology initiatives, including helping to launch the nation’s first fully online community college, raising $5 million in philanthropic seed funding to conduct early research and design

Prior to joining FoundationCCC, Conner served on the Los Angeles Film School’s executive team, in addition to teaching English at both the university and high school levels. She is a board member of Sacramento’s Capital Stage theatre company. Conner holds a master of arts in English from the University of California, Davis, and a bachelor of arts in English from the University of Georgia, where she graduated summa cum laude, Honors Program, and Phi Beta Kappa.

Areas of Expertise

  • Strategic leadership
  • Strategic communications and design
  • Leveraging philanthropy for lasting impact
  • Forging collaborative partnerships for change at scale
  • Developing technology to transform outcomes