Mendi is Chief Community Impact Officer at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. Mendi leads grantmaking, programs, advocacy, community engagement and data science and evaluation for the $220 million regional funder. As the key liaison for cross-sector collaborations with nonprofits, funders, external constituent groups and local elected officials, she oversees the $17 million Fund for Women & Girls; Center for Nonprofit Excellence, Fairfield County’s largest capacity-building hub that serves 400+ nonprofits annually; and systems change initiatives to close the opportunity gap in education, employment, housing and health.
Prior to joining the community foundation, Mendi had diverse, cross-sector experience. She has been a strategic consultant to more than 40 of the largest U.S.-based philanthropic organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates, Ford, William and Flora Hewlett, W.K. Kellogg, Robert Wood Johnson, David and Lucile Packard and Walton Family foundations.
Her experience in the private and nonprofit sectors includes work at Goldman Sachs & Co., Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, which has repeatedly been ranked the country’s top law firm. Mendi has also served in public sector leadership positions, most recently as the Director of Development and Policy for the City of New Haven, where she secured $15 million in competitive funding for the city and developed strategies for innovation, advocacy and process improvement.
Mendi has a Bachelor in Economics cum laude from Harvard College; a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School and a Master in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, reproductive and mental health awareness, and loves trying new recipes. Mendi is Vice Chair of the NY-NJ-CT Anchor Opportunity Network and serves on the Western Connecticut Economic Development District. She and her husband live in her hometown, New Haven, with their doodle, Belle.