Detroit foundation names Clark president, CEO

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

A high-ranking U.S. Department of Justice official has been selected as president and CEO of a local nonprofit grant-making organization, its officials announced Tuesday.

Melanca Clark, current chief of staff at the DOJ’s office of community oriented policing services (COPS), will join the Hudson-Webber Foundation effective in August. She will bring to Detroit her experience overseeing nearly $1 billion in active grants funneled through the COPS office, the grant-making branch of the DOJ.

“I am honored and thrilled to have been chosen to lead a foundation that has such a storied legacy in Detroit,” Clark said of Hudson-Webber, established in 1939. “The Hudson-Webber Foundation is singularly committed to ensuring that Detroit achieves its greatest potential by improving the vitality and quality of life of the entire Detroit metropolitan community, and I look forward to working with the trustees and staff to build on the foundation’s catalytic investments.”

Clark has deep roots in Detroit, where her husband, Moddie Turay, currently works at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation as executive vice president of real estate and finance. Her father, Ed Clark, is an abstract expressionist painter with a piece of work retained by the Detroit Institute of Arts.

“Ms. Clark appreciates the transformational impact that arts and the art community can bring to revitalizing neighborhoods,” Hudson-Webber officials said in a press release announcing Clark’s hire.

The Hudson-Webber Foundation works to improve quality of life in Detroit through grants geared toward physical revitalization, economic development, the arts and safe communities, according to its website. The organization originally was born in 1939 as the Eloise and Richard Webber Foundation, which in 1984 merged with the Richard H. and Eloise Jenks Webber Charitable Fund Inc. to form the existing Hudson-Webber Foundation.

“The original donors of the Hudson-Webber Foundation left a tremendous legacy of striving to improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit,” board chair Jennifer Hudson-Parke said. “It took a deliberate and thorough search to find an individual who is particularly capable and committed to lead the Foundation into its next chapter. We found that leader in Melanca.”

Clark was hired after a national search overseen by an executive search firm called Koya Leadership Partners, according to Hudson-Webber officials.

“The search committee was taken with Melanca’s fresh perspective,” trustee and search committee chair Amanda Van Dusen said. “The Hudson-Webber Foundation will also benefit from the dual perspective she brings having served in philanthropic-funded non-profits as well as in roles providing critical and impact funding to initiatives and programs.”

Prior to her work at the DOJ’s COPS program, Clark served with the DOJ’s Access to Justice Initiative and held positions including senior policy adviser at the White House Domestic Policy Council. She also worked at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, the Gibbons Law firm and the Economic Justice Group of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. She has served as law clerk, adjunct professor and litigation associate at various institutions.

Previously, Clark earned a law degree from Harvard Law School and completed undergraduate studies at Brown University. She will move from Washington, D.C., with her two children to join husband Turay in Detroit.

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