The mission of the Melanie Foundation is to provide financial assistance to graduate students in the mental health field. Each year scholarships are awarded in Ms. O’Donnell’s name to promote her legacy of helping others through the exercise of wisdom and compassion. Through scholarship awards and fundraising activities, the Foundation seeks to raise awareness about the inextricable link between mental health issues and community violence. Moreover, scholarship recipients advance the Foundation's mission by devoting their energies and talents to the needs of victims, as well as the needs of emergency management professionals and health care practitioners. 

The 2013 Scholarship Recipients
Kevin O'Leary
-Clinical Psychology, Antioch University New England 

Jessica Bodie
-Clinical Psychology, Temple University  

Keira Moore
-Behavior Analysis, Western New England University

Katherine Castejon
- School of Psychology at the University of Northern Colorado

Magda Permut
- Clinical-Community Psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore

The Melanie Foundation Application and Information

What is being awarded?
The Melanie Foundation Scholarship is a $2,500 scholarship to be awarded to a candidate pursuing a doctoral or master’s degree in the mental health field.

How long will the scholarship last? 
The scholarship will be awarded to a candidate for one year.
Candidates may reapply for additional years.

Who is eligible for the scholarship? 
Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Currently enrolled or accepted into a graduate program majoring in the mental health field in the United States. Programs must be accredited by the credentialing agency appropriate to the field of study. 
  • Provide evidence of past involvement in extracurricular, volunteer, research, and/or career-related activities.
  • Demonstrate experience and interest in one or more of the ideals to which Melanie Merola O’Donnell committed herself.  

What are the application requirements?

  • Curriculum vitae and cover letter. Please include e-mail address. (PDF)
  • Unofficial transcripts (undergraduate and/or graduate). Official transcripts may be requested at a later date. (PDF)
  • Two letters of reference supporting the candidate’s application from adults who have known the candidate for more than 1 year (at least one from a professional in the mental health field, another from an individual who has known the candidate either personally or professionally for 5 years or more). Letters of reference should be emailed directly to our email address with the applicant's name as the subject of the email ( (PDF)
  • A typed (double-spaced) essay of no more than 2-3 pages on how your experiences in the mental health profession have shaped your life and how you will use your college and graduate education to assist communities in a manner consistent with Melanie Merola O’Donnell’s values of compassion, generosity, respect, and honesty. (PDF)
  • All application materials must be sent together as a PDF in one email, with the reference letters arriving separately with the applicant's name in the subject line. Please be clear about this when requesting a reference. If your documents exceed the amount of space allowed in one email you may send multiple emails but please do so during the same time frame so they arrive together. 

As an option you may choose one of the following quotes to incorporate into your statement:

"Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."
~George Bernard Shaw

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
~Mahatma Ghandi

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
~ Lao Tzu

​All applications are due by March 4, 2014. Scholarship recipients will be personally notified and publicly announced by June 15, 2014. All other applicants will be notified electronically.   

The Melanie Foundation does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, Vietnam-era or disabled veteran status in its selection process.  

If you have questions, email us at:

Please send all materials to:

Privacy Policy: The Melanie Foundation does not collect information from site visitors only from applicants to the scholarship. The applicant information collected is used exclusively to select a scholarship recipient. Applicants will be contacted only if there are clarifying questions regarding application information and to inform applicants of their status. Thank you.

The 2007 Saratoga Palio 
Race Poster
The 2011 Saratoga Palio 
Race Poster
The Melanie Foundation hosts a half marathon and 5k race to raise funds for scholarships and other charitable giving. Please visit The Saratoga Palio website for more details.
The 2012 Saratoga Palio
Race Poster
Please click on the logo above to see an example of our mission...