2021 40 Under 40 Winners

2019 40 Under 40 Logo

Melissa Weston Flynn

St. Joseph's Health Foundation
Paterson, New Jersey

Why is a 40 under 40 winner

  • Melissa increased St. Joseph’s Health Foundation’s grant revenue tenfold in three years, from under $300,000 in 2017 to nearly $3 million in 2020
  • She co-chaired the corporate and foundation relations track at AFP’s 2020 Fundraising Day in New York 
  • Melissa secured a $1.8 million competitive grant to launch a hospital-based violence intervention program, aimed at ending the epidemic of gun violence in her community

Q & A

1. How did you get into healthcare philanthropy?

I had been working in nonprofit development for New York City education reform. I decided I wanted to find a job across the river in New Jersey so I could have an impact in my community. My siblings are front-line healthcare providers and had seen firsthand the power of philanthropy in their own hospitals, so they encouraged me to explore the field. Fortuitously there was an opening to manage corporate and foundation relations at St. Joseph's, my local hospital. I took the leap of faith and found my calling!

2. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.

After graduating college, I spent one year as a full-time AmeriCorps volunteer with City Year, working as a teaching assistant in an under-resourced New York City middle school. My students profoundly changed my life in many ways, including my career trajectory. They inspired me to stay in the nonprofit space, doing what I could to contribute to social justice. I ultimately took a job as an entry-level development generalist and discovered my passion for grants specifically.

3. What piece of advice would you give aspiring 40 Under 40 recipients?

"Fundraisers have two ears and one mouth, and should use them in that proportion." Listen with humility—not only to your donors but also your clinical colleagues and the patients in your organization's care. 

Fun Fact:

I'm a crossword connoisseur! My husband and I do the New York Times Sunday puzzle together every week.

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