The Melanie Foundation was created in 2006 to honor the life and legacy of Melanie Merola O’Donnell. Melanie lived a life of giving, focusing her career on relieving suffering inflicted by mental illness.

Melanie died at the age of 33 while in the midst of doctoral studies in psychology. Her family and friends subsequently collaborated to bring The Melanie Foundation to life, with the initial goal of providing scholarships to people who had the best chance of extending Melanie’s legacy, graduate students in a mental health field.

The Melanie Foundation’s most significant fundraiser, The Saratoga Palio, has become a signature event in Saratoga each fall. Its success has helped The Melanie Foundation expand its support of aspiring mental health practitioners. The success also has enabled The Melanie Foundation to give back to Saratoga Springs – the community that gave us Melanie.

Since 2009 The Melanie Foundation has contributed a portion of raised funds to local nonprofit organizations. Past recipients include Saratoga Bridges, the mental health unit of Saratoga Hospital, Franklin Community Center, World’s Window, Jake’s Help from Heaven and Saratoga WarHorse. In 2015 a portion of proceeds will go to Saratoga Center for the Family.


Army Ten Miler Photo
Melanie Merola O’Donnell