Melanie Patz of Baptist Health becomes United Way of Northeast Florida's new leader

In Jacksonville's Eastside neighborhood, volunteers Jordan Mullens and Seyi Oyeyemi scrape and repaint the front porch of a home on Van Buren Street as part of a United Way of Northeast Florida day of service in June 2021.
In Jacksonville's Eastside neighborhood, volunteers Jordan Mullens and Seyi Oyeyemi scrape and repaint the front porch of a home on Van Buren Street as part of a United Way of Northeast Florida day of service in June 2021.

The United Way of Northeast Florida has named Melanie Patz, a longtime nonprofit and community leader, as its new president and CEO after a national search.

Patz, 51, earlier spent 10 years as vice president of community impact for the Jacksonville-based agency, which funds health, education and financial stability programs for residents of Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and Northern St. Johns counties.

She has 27 years of nonprofit management experience and currently serves as vice president of community investment and impact at Baptist Health.

United Way of Northeast Florida: CEO to retire, nonprofit also celebrates 211 milestone


"United Way plays a critical role in our community, and its impact throughout its nearly 100-year history is far-reaching," she said. "It’s an honor to take the helm of an organization that has benefitted so many individuals and families in our region and meant so much to me personally."

Patz begins the new job Sept. 26, succeeding Michelle Braun, who retired in April after eight years as president and CEO.

"We’ve identified an exceptional person to lead our United Way, build on the impact of its work and strengthen its relationships with our community, including its business, government and nonprofit partners," said Lisa Palmer, board chairwoman and president and CEO of Regency Centers. "Melanie is a proven leader and a natural collaborator who strives to bring people together. She has a unique understanding of our community's challenges and a history of success in developing solutions to address them."

Patz, who was born and raised in Birmingham, Ala., joined Baptist Health in 2014. Among other accomplishments there, she spearheaded two major initiatives: JaxCareConnect, an online initiative developed to connect uninsured Jacksonville residents to primary care, and Blue Zones Jacksonville, the local affiliate of a national program that helps change people's health behaviors by transforming their neighborhoods.

JaxCareConnect: Website launched to connect Jacksonville's uninsured to health care

Community health assessment: Report reveals nagging issues, inequities, opportunities for action such as Blue Zones

Hope for 'critical conversations': Baptist Health plans mental-health conference in Jacksonville

Also while at Baptist, she helped develop a strategic plan to address critical community health priorities, including infant mortality and mental health.


During her first stint at United Way, Patz worked on education, income and health initiatives and supervised programs including Achievers For Life, 211, Success By 6, RealSense and Full Service Schools of Jacksonville. She also served on the United Way Worldwide advisory councils for health and education and was a member of the United Way Worldwide Education Social Change Task Force.

She has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Samford University and a master's degree in business administration with a concentration in economics from the University of North Florida. She is a founding board member of 904WARD, formed to advance racial equity in Jacksonville, and serves on the boards of the System of Care youth mental health initiative and the Early Learning Coalition of Duval.

904Ward: With no name, Black man's reported 1925 killing being retold at Jacksonville event Sunday

$20 million to United Way: 3 Jacksonville-area nonprofits benefit from MacKenzie Scott's $4 billion in grants

Miller Electric gift: United Way of Northeast Florida receives $1M to help community address racial disparities

"The search committee ran a comprehensive and competitive national search," said committee chairman Michael Herman, senior vice president and general counsel of Regency Centers. "We couldn’t be more pleased and excited that we found our new leader right here in Jacksonville., (904) 359-4109

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Jacksonville-based United Way of Northeast Florida names new CEO