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While helping other families do the same


The Melson Foundation is a non-profit organization that helps individuals and families achieve financial security. We believe that understanding money is essential in assisting people and families in breaking free from poverty and attaining economic independence. We aim to assist families in breaking the cycle of poverty and creating opportunities for financial freedom. We strive to create a safe and supportive environment that allows individuals and families to take control of their financial future.

Meet the Melsons


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Rashema Melson

Founder/Executive Director

The Melson Foundation was founded by Rashema Melson, who was born and raised in Southeast DC, where she and her family endured the brutality of poverty and homelessness. Through unwavering hope, grit, and determination Rashema broke a multitude of generational curses in her family.

She graduated from Georgetown University, with a Bachelor's Degree in Justice and Peace Studies, becoming the first in her family to attend and graduate from college. She went on to build a successful career as a highly sought-after consultant/coach and continues to build her success as an entrepreneur and the founder of Pain Into PURPOSE consulting. She was also the first in her family to own her own home and land.


Rashema is grooming her nieces and nephews to stand on her shoulders and carry the torch of building wealth for the generations of Melsons to come. Her hope is that through the Melson Foundation, she can help other families do the same. 


Joseph Melson Sr.


Joseph Jr.












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"Chief Creative Officer"

Noah is an honor-roll student who loves basketball, music, PlayStation, and shoes.

He wants to be a music engineer when he grows up.

Click here to read about Josiah's hopes for Noah!

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"The Real Boss"

Faith loves running outside, trampolines, and pretty much just being free.

As the boss, she already has her dream job.

Click here to read about Josiah's hopes for Faith!



"Director of Infinite Possibility"

McKenzie loves to read.

She wants to be a gymnast or dancer when she grows up.

Click here to read about Enoch's hopes for McKenzie!

D.C.'s racial disparities through the lens of OUr family's story

"D.C.'s deep history of racism, exploitation, and discrimination against Black workers—including being used as stolen labor when DC was a hub for slavery, restrictions of free Black workers to the lowest-paid jobs, federal government job discrimination through much of the 20th century, and exclusion of many Black workers from New Deal labor and housing laws—directly led to present-day racial disparities in many employment-related metrics including occupations, wages, employment levels, benefits, and opportunities to grow wealth."

Doni Crawford and Kamolika Das, “Black Workers Matter: How the District’s History of Exploitation & Discrimination Continues to Harm Black Workers,” DC Fiscal Policy Institute,, January 28, 2020.

Unfortunately, many of the struggles of Rashema's family story aren't uncommon in the black community. While many are acquainted with the statistics associated with poverty and black families, most do not know the stories of the people behind the data. Rashema want's to use her family's story in service of the goal of shedding light on the disparities in our community.


In the U.S., persons of color and males have higher premature death rates than White non-Hispanics and females. Premature deaths have instantaneous effects history, generational prospects, and cultural demographics.

(Jones-Eversley, S. D., Rice II, J., Adedoyin, A. C., & James-Townes, L. (2020). Premature Deaths of Young Black Males in the United States. Journal of Black Studies, 51(3), 251-272.

Like many other families of color, Rashema has been ripped away from her lineage, history, and access to wealth. Her father, Joseph Sr., was intelligent, but he used his intellect to get involved with illegal activities such as drug trafficking, which led to his brutal murder in 1996.


In 1960, 22% of African American children lived with single parents. In 1968, rose to 31.4%, by 2011, doubled to 64% percent (U.S. Census Bureau). Current report it has tripled to 72%. Single-mother families’ increasing prevalence both raised family income inequality and shifted children into families with high (downward) mobility rates.

(Martin Molly. Family Structure and Income Inequality in Families with Children: 1976–2000. Demography. 2006) 

Joseph Sr. left behind his four children—all under the age of eight —as well as the two mothers of his children. Rashema was his youngest child and only daughter.

After he died, Rashema was dependent on and supported through Government Welfare Services to survive— programs such as Food Stamps/SNAPS, WIC, Section 8, and Social Security Income.


As her dad’s youngest child, Rashema witnessed and learned from the generational cycles and barriers multiplying against her family while the education and wealth gap widened. She observed her older siblings' actions, heeded their wisdom of life, and did something that many people struggle to do: she changed her narrative. Rashema took her education seriously and believed it could make a difference. She created a vision for her life, executed it, and learned from her mistakes. In turn, she was able to be the one to break the generational cycles and change the narrative for not only herself but her entire family. 

Rashema was the first in her family to...

  • Graduate high school with high honors as the Valedictorian

  • Earn a bachelor's degree

  • Become financially literate 

  • Lease an apartment without government assistance 

  • Buy her own home with 1.5 acres of land

  • Launch a successful business

  • Learn how to invest in the stock market

  • Go from low income to six-figures


Once she reached a certain point in her journey she realized that the ‘getting money’ mentality was not enough, she wanted to build generational wealth and a legacy for future generations of the Melson Family.


The hope is that the foundation's actions, community service, knowledge-based courses, and programs will help individuals get to a better place in life and build a legacy for their own families.

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