Meet Senior Director Melissa Fitzgerald
In November 2013, Melissa Fitzgerald joined Justice For Vets as its new Senior Director. As an actor, Melissa is best known for her seven-year role as Carol on the NBC smash hit The West Wing, but off-screen she is widely recognized as a courageous advocate for people in need. Melissa is co-founder of Voices in Harmony, a non-profit mentoring organization that uses theater to work with underserved teens. In 2007, Melissa traveled to war-torn Northern Uganda to bring the Voices in Harmony program to former abducted child soldiers and other teenagers effected by the region’s brutal rebel war. The experience opened her eyes to the lingering impact of war. In 2011, Melissa co-executive produced Halfway Home, a documentary featuring Vietnam veteran and former U.S. Senator Max Cleland and Silver Star recipient and Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, Sgt. Tommy Rieman joining other veterans in recounting their experience in war and their struggle to reintegrate and recover upon returning home. “Although most veterans are strengthened by their military service, my experience working on Halfway Home personalized the struggle of many veterans who are having difficulty reintegrating. I have followed the development of Veterans Treatment Courts closely and know that there is no better way for me to be of service to veterans than by devoting myself to the expansion of these life-saving programs,” said Melissa. “I am deeply honored and grateful to have the opportunity to be part of Justice For Vets, an organization that is having such a profound impact on veterans and their families.”
More About Melissa Fitzgerald
Even while appearing in films such as Love and Sex, Frequency and on TV in The West Wing and Grey’s Anatomy, Melissa has been dedicated to community service and outreach. In the summer of 2006 Melissa traveled with International Medical Corps as a volunteer to war-torn northern Uganda to work with IMC’s gender based violence program and with malnourished children and their mothers, giving birth to Hope Not Lost, an award winning short film she produced documenting her experience, narrated by Martin Sheen. In 2007, she traveled back to northern Uganda as the producer of the award winning feature film, After Kony-Staging Hope, a documentary that follows Voices in Harmony as they take their unique theater program to northern Uganda.
In 1995 Melissa co-founded Voices in Harmony, a non-profit youth arts organization committed to empowering at-risk teens by cultivating personal, academic, and artistic excellence. Melissa has served as Goodwill Ambassador and Board Member for the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (IAPAC), and traveled to South Africa as an IAPAC volunteer working with those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
In addition to her own organizations and projects, she is passionate about lending her support to others. She was a spokesperson for Environmental Alliance, a political organization designed to educate voters about environmental issues. In 2004 she traveled to battleground states carrying the organization’s message to prospective voters as part of the Women’s Tour for The Environment.
A year later Melissa represented the International Medical Corps at the Live 8 Concert and the G8 Summit as part of the ONE Campaign to end poverty. Major media coverage of Melissa’s work with the ONE Campaign included CNN, BBC Radio, NBC, CNBC, People Magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer and others.
In 2007 Melissa won a New York Times writing contest, Your Turn To Tell the Story sponsored by Nicholas Kristof. She has written pieces that can be found in the New York Times, Huffington Post, and the book, The Enough Moment by John Prendergast and Don Cheadle.
In 2011, Melissa joined fellow artists Martin Sheen, Matthew Perry, Harry Lennix and Trey Anastasio on Capitol Hill to advocate for Drug Courts and Veterans Treatment Courts as part of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Annual Training Conference.