Melanie Lundquist is one of the leading philanthropists in Southern California, where she gives her support to various education and health care initiatives. Most notable among her philanthropic activities is her generous support of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. The Lundquists’ $50 Million gift to the Partnership is the largest private donation ever made to Los Angeles schools.
Mrs. Lundquist and her husband Richard own the Continental Development Corporation which has developed and manages 4 million square feet of premium office, research and development, commercial, retail, restaurant and entertainment properties, including the Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco, the 30 acre Sky-Park medical Facility in Torrance, CA; and various upscale shopping plazas around Southern California.
Mrs. Lundquist is a founding member of the Board of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, past chair of the Advisory Board for Teach for America, and is co-chair of a $165 million capital campaign for the California Science Center. In addition, she is a significant donor to the Alliance for College-Ready Schools, a Los Angeles charter organization. She also lends her support to the Fulfillment Fund's endowment fund for college scholarships, and has taken active roles in Inner City Arts, United Friends of the Children, and Alliance for Children's Rights, among others. She established the Cardiovascular Institute at the Torrance Memorial Medical Center where she emphasizes women’s heart health.
Mrs. Lundquist and her husband Richard are graduates of Los Angeles public schools where, as she told Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez, "I got a wonderful education, and there are 50 teachers I could name right now who were some of my best friends, and even after I graduated, they continued to be friends." She says her public school teachers were some of the most influential people in her life.
Mrs. Lundquist is also a graduate of the University of Southern California, from which she holds both a BA and MA in Speech Pathology and Audiology.
Melanie Lundquist comes from a family of individual philanthropists. Her grandfather, a migrant to this country, became a successful business owner and was a member of the Los Angeles Merchants Association, the group that founded what would later become the City of Hope. Her mother raised funds to establish a dental clinic for impoverished children in Los Angeles in the 1920s when she was a student at U.S.C.