About Us

Our Community. Your Foundation.

Since 1995, the SouthCoast Community Foundation has served as a catalyst for philanthropic giving. Our mission is to mobilize philanthropy by matching donors and resources with community needs for the benefit of our region.

As a tax-exempt, public charity, the SouthCoast Community Foundation offers donors the guidance and flexibility to fulfill their philanthropic goals. We serve a range of charitable individuals, families, and corporations whose main concern is improving the quality of life in our community.

The SouthCoast Community Foundation allocates individual, family, and corporate funds to meet community needs. To date, the organization has distributed over $50 million from more than 200 funds to humanitarian, educational, and cultural organizations in the region.

Our History

Since 1995, the SouthCoast Community Foundation has given rise to philanthropic giving across the SouthCoast region.

In its first year of operation, the SouthCoast Community Foundation received its first charitable gift of $100,000. In 1997, we invested $1 million to establish Youth Entitled to Success (Project YES), spearheading drug abuse prevention and education efforts in our community.

For 25 years, we have supported personal and corporate philanthropy by offering a range of innovative giving options. We offer a variety of funds to help every donor meet their philanthropic goals.

The SouthCoast Community Foundation currently manages $50 million in charitable assets in support of more than 200 funds established by nonprofits, families, and businesses across Southeastern Massachusetts.

Our Region

In its 25 years of operation, the SouthCoast Community Foundation has distributed more than $50 million to charitable organizations throughout the south coast.

We are active in 41 cities and towns across four counties of Southeastern Massachusetts. Our service area includes Greater New Bedford, Greater Fall River, Southern Plymouth County and more.

The SouthCoast Community Foundation serves charitable organizations in Bristol, Plymouth, Dukes and Norfolk Counties.

Bristol County
Fall River

New Bedford
North Attleboro
Plymouth County
East Bridgewater
West Bridgewater

Dukes County

Norfolk County

Our Financials

The SouthCoast Community Foundation was established in 1995 with its first charitable gift of $100,000. For 25 years, we have shown significant growth. We now manage $50 million in charitable assets in support of more than 200 funds established by our dedicated nonprofit, individual, and corporate fundholders.

To view our most recent financial statement, click below.

Board of Directors

Gail Fortes

Gail Fortes

Board of Directors

Jayne Rebello Korn

Jayne Rebello Korn

Vice Chair

Anne Tangen

Anne Tangen


Maria A. Rosario

Maria A. Rosario


Jonathan Rounds

Jonathan Rounds

Assistant Clerk

Linda Bodenmann

Linda Bodenmann

Past Chairperson

Kate Alves

Kate Alves

Janet Coquillette

Janet Coquillette

Nathaniel Rodriguez

Nathaniel Rodriguez

Our Team

Our staff and associates are champions of our community, with focuses on public service and development, arts and culture, youth services, finance, and more.

Melanie Edwards TAvares

Dr. Melanie Edwards-Tavares
President & CEO


Over her 30-year career, Dr. Melanie Edwards-Tavares has held positions across the state and region’s nonprofit sector at organizations that include the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Service Alliance, MassHousing, PACE YouthBuild New Bedford, and New Bedford Child and Family Services. Most recently, she served as the Director of Capacity Building and Nonprofit Support at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, where she managed over $3 million in charitable giving annually, to strengthen nonprofits in the Greater Hartford region. In 2019, she earned her Doctorate from Harvard University with a focus on system-level leadership and nonprofit sustainability.

Melanie is a New Bedford native who grew up in several neighborhoods across the city, including the former United Front Homes Housing Development, where, as a teen mom with the help of her mother, they started a small nonprofit organization to encourage peer leadership, and youth advocacy around issues relative to HIV and AIDS prevention, teen pregnancy prevention and community leadership. Today, she champions youth voice by serving on the board of Big Picture Learning, an international nonprofit advocating for more equitable and student-centered education.

Melanie resides in Fairhaven with her wife, Tanina, where, in their free time, they enjoy spoiling their grandchildren. As a Johnson and Wales University Culinary Arts program graduate, you will find Melanie cooking for family and friends and exploring the fantastic culinary scene in the region. When asked what she loves most about the South Coast, Melanie said, “This region is unique because of the diversity of cultures here. My family immigrated to this community from Cape Verde and Portugal generations ago, and I can’t imagine life away from my family, my community, my culture, and the coastline.”

Nhamaa Cortes
Accounting Clerk

508-996-8253 ext. 218

Nhamaa Cortes joined the finance team at the Community Foundation in 2021, following his graduation from Bridgewater State University, where majored in accounting with a management minor. Nhamaa spent a semester abroad at the University of New York in Prague, studying international marketing and managerial accounting. He is currently enrolled in the MBA program at UMass Dartmouth with a concentration in organizational leadership.

Nhamaa was born and raised in New Bedford, where he currently resides. He enjoys taking his son for walks around Fort Taber Park. When asked what he likes most about his work at the Foundation, he said, “It is very rewarding to know that the organization I am a part of is positively impacting the region and the city I am from in a big way.”

Julie Ramos Gagliardi

Julie Ramos Gagliardi
Director of Programs

508-996-8253 ext. 216

Julie Ramos Gagliardi brings over 30 years of experience to the Director of Programs role. Most recently, she served as First Vice President of Corporate Giving and Community Relations at BayCoast Bank, managing their corporate giving program and representing the bank in a variety of civic engagement and strategic community partnerships. Earlier in her career, she worked in marketing, public relations, and development with nonprofit organizations that include the United Way of Greater Fall River and UMass Dartmouth Foundation. She currently serves on the UMass Board of Trustees.

Julie is a lifelong South Coast resident and currently lives in Somerset, where she has been a member of the regional school committee for the past 12 years. What she loves most about the South Coast is being near the water, near family, and the diversity of cultures, communities, and scenery that you find in the region.

Tricia Grime

Tricia Grime
Director of Philanthropy

508-996-8253 ext. 203

Tricia Grime joined the Community Foundation in 2019 as Development Manager, leading the annual giving campaign and special events. In February 2023, Tricia was promoted to Director of Philanthropy, focusing her efforts on direct work with donors and fund advisors. Early in her career, she was co-owner of her family business, a successful New Bedford-based chemical and knitting company, Dyl-Chem, Inc. a/k/a Whalerknits. Upon retirement from the company in 2003, Tricia joined Southcoast Health where she held various administrative positions and was most recently Development Associate and Manager of Special Events. In 2018, Tricia was recognized by the hospital for her excellence in service, leadership, and cultural values with the Southcoast Health President’s Award of Excellence.

Tricia is a lifelong New Bedford resident and makes community involvement, whether serving as a school volunteer or working at a food pantry, a central part of her everyday life.  She enjoys spending time with her family, and engaging in all that the South Coast has to offer — the seaport, diverse food, music, and arts. Tricia’s favorite saying? “Love where you live!”

Adrianna Heard
Donor Services Associate

508-996-8253 ext. 214

Adrianna Heard joined the Foundation in July 2020 as the Development Systems Administrator and in January 2021 was promoted to Donor Services Associate. Adrianna was born and raised in New Bedford and graduated with honors, from Westfield State University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

Kim Heard
Office Administrator

508-996-8253 ext. 215

Since joining the Community Foundation in 2017, Kim Heard has been the Office Administrator, and as such manages the day-to-day operations of the staff and Board. She also serves as executive assistant to the President. Previously, Kim worked at the Trustees of Reservations for 13 years, where she held various administrative roles, most recently as Executive Assistant.

Kim grew up in Tiverton, RI and has lived in New Bedford since 1994. In her free time, Kim enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and new grandson!

Charles Holley
Director of Finance and Administration

508-996-8253 ext. 204

Charles Holley joined the organization in December 2020 as the Director of Finance & Administration. Most recently Charles was the Director of Finance & Administration for Boston Harbor Now and Chief Financial Officer for Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative. He is currently the Board Treasurer for Mystic River Watershed Association.

Kristen Sarkarati

Kristen Sarkarati
Director of Marketing and Communications

508-996-8253 ext. 219

Joining the Community Foundation in 2022, Kristen brings over 20 years of experience in communications and development to the role. Most recently, she served as Director of Major Gifts and Campaign Initiatives at Beth Israel Deaconess Plymouth, and prior to that position, managed philanthropy communications and corporate giving for the hospital. Previously, she had a communications and development consultancy where she served clients that included the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, English for New Bostonians, the Boston Foundation, Joslin Diabetes Center, ArtWorks, and the New Bedford Folk Festival, among many others.

Kristen is a lifelong resident of the South Coast (with brief stints on the West Coast and in Boston) — she was born in New Bedford, raised in Fall River and now resides with her husband, two children, and a chocolate lab in Marion. She thinks the perfect day involves a morning bike ride to Planting Island in Marion (or maybe a kayak in Sippican Harbor), an afternoon of sun and sea at Horseneck Beach, and dinner at one of our region’s great seafood restaurants.