Ferndale, Mich.—January 27, 2023— LifeLab Kids, a Ferndale-based nonprofit center offering therapy, recreation, skill development, and creative outlets for individuals with disabilities from 18 months to young adult, is pleased to announce that Melanie Esland has come on board as Chief Development Officer—the organization’s first. Since joining LifeLab Kids in the fourth quarter of 2022, Esland has been directing the organization’s strategic funding and giving initiatives, fostering ongoing stewardship and building new partnerships that will help the rising nonprofit continue to flourish.
Prior to LifeLab Kids, Esland held development roles as the Major Gift Officer at The Henry Ford and the Director of Alumni and Corporate Engagement at Walsh College. Interestingly, she started her career in Boston in commercial litigation after graduating with a law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Chicago. She eventually moved back to Michigan to represent management side negotiations in labor disputes.
Esland then shifted her legal practice area to represent children in abuse and neglect cases, subsequently working for the State of Michigan in the Children’s Protective Services Program where she was charged with overseeing field investigations, including high-profile cases, child deaths, and human trafficking. It was during this time that Esland began doing volunteer fundraising for the Junior League of Birmingham, MI’s programming, and for special events at Lighthouse of Oakland County, including serving on the host and planning committee for the Lighthouse gala.
Finding her calling in helping community causes, Esland moved into fundraising professionally, which ultimately led her to her current role as Chief Development Officer at LifeLab Kids and her current service as Board President of the Junior League of Birmingham, MI.
“Melanie is an exceptional person-of-action who brings a wealth of unique experiences and knowledge to LifeLab Kids,” LifeLab Kids CEO and Founder Jai Reddy said. “She is already proving to be an integral part of our vision for growth.”
About LifeLab Kids
Founded in Ferndale, Michigan in 2019, with a second location in Clinton Township, LifeLab Kids is an immersive therapeutic, recreation, and learning center that provides unique, comprehensive and individualized programming to help differently-abled youth and their families be healthy and active – and to belong. Empowering these individuals to see past their limitations and lead full lives, the 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization brings a multidisciplinary team together under one roof to collectively work with students to discover their strengths and engage in their passions. Learn more at www.lifelabkids.org.