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Summer 2017 Fellows standing or seated in wheelchairs, smiling and posing for the camera

Mary Elizabeth Mellon, Nonprofit Management Fellow

National Leadership Program, Summer 2015

Mary Mellon headshot

Mary Mellon

Mary Elizabeth Mellon was a Nonprofit Management Fellow with RespectAbility in Summer 2015. Her main tasks included researching donor prospects, as well as writing and editing op-eds and other print materials. She has worked in fundraising in Washington, D.C., and New York City, interned at Mental Health America of Illinois, and volunteered at numerous nonprofits including Sarah’s Circle, an organization that serves homeless women in Chicago.

Mellon earned her Master’s of Fine Arts in Writing at Sarah Lawrence College in December 2017, and is currently working at Norwood News in New York City as a reporter. Previously, she graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in May 2014, where she studied fine art and creative writing. In 2016, Mellon was the graduate coordinator in the Young Offenders Program of Right-to-Write, which involved teaching creative writing to inmates at Westchester Correctional Facility.

Mellon wrote a narrative nonfiction piece called “Kindness” which was featured in the Spring 2017 edition of Open Minds Quarterly. Her prose poem “Dark Hearts For Dark Minds” appeared in Chicago After Dark in September 2014.


RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact for more information.



Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the Vice President, Communications, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities, and managing editor of The RespectAbility Report, a publication at the intersection of disability and politics. Previously she was a digital researcher with the NBC News political unit. As an individual with an acquired invisible disability - Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy - she writes about the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. From entertainment professionals to presidential campaigns, journalists to philanthropists, she conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible. Behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, Appelbaum engages decision makers and creatives to improve the quality and number of authentic, diverse and inclusive presentations of people with disabilities on TV and film so audiences can see people with disabilities as vital contributors in America and around the world. She and her team have consulted on projects with Amazon, Disney/ABC Television, NBCUniversal, Netflix, and The Walt Disney Studios, among others. Appelbaum also enriches the pool of disabled talent in Hollywood by nurturing and connecting them to those who can assist with their careers, both on the creative and business sides of the industry. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit, which was created to help entertainment professionals to be as inclusive of people with disabilities as possible, and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working behind the camera. To reach her, email

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