Melissa received the “Lifetime Legacy Award of Humanities”at the 2015 Motif Awards Ceremony at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California.

The Motif Awards program was established to acknowledge and honor the many individuals whose imagination, talents, dreams and work have created systemic positive impact in the lives of youth.


Over the years I’ve been blessed to work with some great charities. Here are a few that are near to my heart.

Africa Renewal Ministries – ARM

An incredible child sponsorship program for the poorest children of Uganda, Africa. I’ve been sponsoring Jane and Gideon for quite a few years and in 2008 I got to visit them while on a mission trip. What an amazing experience! A dollar a day makes a huge difference in the lives of so many children and also their parents, as the kids learn to read and write in school and then teach their siblings and parents at home. One year Gideon sent me a picture of his very 1st mattress. That’s what he bought with the extra little bit of Christmas money I’d sent one year. Until then, he and his family had only slept on the hard dirt ground inside their homemade house. When I went to visit him, he proudly showed me the mattress. Imagine how much we take for granted. This is such a great program run by the sweetest people on earth. I encourage you to sponsor kids and let your kids become pen pals. They will love it.

Songs for Seeds

It’s been my desire for so many years to buy a well digger. I know, some people dream of new cars and clothes and normal things. Even before I traveled to Africa I wanted to help the hungry and thirsty of our world. There are so many people who are without fresh water and yet in so many areas the water is plentiful. If only they had a way to get it without having to walk miles, putting themselves in danger to get this very basic need met.

One day I met an Ethiopian missionary named Winni, an ex-model from New York, who told me that the people in the village where she was starting a school were so poor, they couldn’t even afford the seeds to plant! The ground beneath their feet was unbelievably fertile, and fresh water was only a few feet below. So, I grabbed my guitar and took off on my little Songs For Seeds tour. I raised awareness and a bit of money and we ending up taking a ton of seeds to Ethiopia for people that needed them. Thank you Seeds For Change- another great company that provided seeds for all kinds of fruits and veggies. I still didn’t have the money for a well digger, but helped in the coming months with the fundraising through Winni’s foundation and now they have 2 wells! Visit Winni’s website to learn more: Her heart is so huge!

Thirst Project

A couple years ago, I was asked to Live Announce the yearly Fundraising Gala for the Thirst Project and realized I no longer had to buy my own well digger! Thirst Project and many other wonderful companies out there already have access to them. (I still secretly want to own one… that I just keep on hand in Africa and whoever needs it can use it  The people at the Thirst Project are awesome. You can “sponsor a well” with your donation. It’s truly life saving.