Melissa Puls - River LA

Melissa Puls - Director of Development

The possibilities of the Los Angeles River has captured Melissa’s imagination and ignited a passion to be a part of the transformation. Melissa arrived in Los Angeles from the San Francisco Bay Area to attend UCLA, thinking she would return to her northern California roots to begin her career. Destiny intervened and she came to love the City of Angels where she has worked and raised her family for over 30 years.

Recognizing an emerging new energy in Los Angeles to create a connected, diverse, and compelling urban environment, Melissa sees the work of River LA as one of the most visionary and forward thinking projects in the history of Los Angeles.  

In her role as Development Manager for River LA, Melissa supports individual donor fundraising initiatives and related systems and strategies, creating and managing an integrated and sustainable fundraising program. Her job is to support resource capacities, build relationships, and create long term funding streams connected to the important mission of bringing people, nature and design together via the L.A. River. Melissa has a passion for building meaningful relationships and partnerships; and enjoys helping people channel the energy and power of money towards positive change.

Melissa spent over 20 years in the advertising industry as an executive level commercial film producer for leading full-service advertising agencies, working with top national and international corporate brands including Nestle, Lexus, Ford, Mattel, Wells Fargo, Honda and Safeway. After the birth of her three children, she made a choice to redirect the skills towards a new career in the non-profit world and fundraising as the Director of Development & Communications for a not-for-profit K-12 school in the Pasadena area. In this role she created and led a fully integrated advancement program, including annual appeals, major gifts, capital campaigns, events, and volunteer leadership growth. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a specialization in Mass Communications and Media Institutions from the University of California, Los Angeles.  

Melissa currently resides in La Canada Flintridge with her husband and three teenaged children, two cats and a dog.  When she isn't raising money for the river, she enjoys cooking, family game nights, and long hikes in the San Gabriel mountains.

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