May 2, 2018
Melinda MerkThis interview is with Melinda Merk, Attorney at McCandlish Lillard, new Community Foundation Board Member, Business Women's Giving Circle (BWGC) member, and active philanthropist.

Melinda has a background in providing holistic multi-generational income and wealth transfer tax planning advice and estaate and trust services to high net worth individuals, families, and business owners.

How does your work tie into your decision to join the Community Foundation board?

With the recent changes under the new tax law, donor advised funds and community foundations have become an even more important charitable giving and family legacy tool. Establishing a fund with The Community Foundation provides access to local resources for charitable giving and ensures that the donated funds will benefit the local community. Becoming a member of the Board was a natural next step to supporting and promoting the efforts and contributions of The Community Foundation of Northern Virginia.

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Tell us about your decision to support the Permanent Fund Endowment.

Establishing the Melinda Merk Fund for Animal Welfare, which is an endowed designated fund and part of the Permanent Fund, supports my love for animals and especially the rescue and adoption of dogs who have brought so much joy to my life personally. I am a long-time supporter and serial adopter of Lab Rescue, and recently became involved with Best Friends Animal Society. Several years ago, my family started a new tradition of making donations to our favorite charities in lieu of Christmas gifts. The fund will be a receptacle for these lifetime gifts as well as a beneficiary of my IRA, and leave a lasting legacy for animals in the local community.

Can you tell us about your experience with BWGC the past few years?

Becoming a BWGC member was a great way to re-engage my involvement with the Community Foundation. It offers an opportunity to network with other successful business women, while directly supporting our mission of promoting innovation, entrepreneurship and inventive opportunities for girls and young women in Northern Virginia. As a member of the Grants Committee during my first year, I was able to participate first-hand in evaluating and awarding grants to local organizations. As current Co-Chair of the Membership Committee, I enjoy sharing our Mission with potential new members and welcoming new members to the BWGC.

How can women make an impact on their local community and leave a legacy through philanthropy?

Collective philanthropy offers the opportunity to make a more direct impact with your charitable giving. Our BWGC members are leaders in business and in the local community. Joining together as members of the BWGC helps to further our mission to Invest in innovative programs that empower girls and young women in Northern Virginia, Connect meaningfully with members and grantees, and Inspire others to join the power of collective philanthropy.