Lori Mellinger


Lori Mellinger, while working as a prominent newspaper journalist and editor, succumbed to a longtime substance use disorder in 2013 and entered the Texas Department of Criminal Justice after cycling through county jail for years. While incarcerated, she decided to make some drastic changes to her life.

Lori was released from prison in 2015 and paroled to a city where she could make a fresh start. She began studying and working with women in reentry and became involved in nonprofit work and statewide advocacy. As a seasoned grant writer and expert in Texas women’s reentry, Lori then relocated to Austin in 2020. She believes that relationships are essential to successful funding and that passion drives change.

Lori is a steering committee member for the Texas Statewide Leadership Council, a group of system-impacted leaders across Texas, and a founding member of Lioness, a group of system-impacted women in Texas fighting for systematic change.