Melville Charitable Trust




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2020):

Revenue: $3,576,490
Expenses: $12,003,656
Assets: $154,835,983




Susan Thomas


Private Foundation

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

The Melville Charitable Trust is a private grantmaking foundation. It was created by the Melville family, whose wealth came from the Melville Corporation, a national retailer that evolved into the CVS drugstore chain. The trust is dedicated to fighting homelessness, and funds local and national public policy programs on housing issues.

Frank Melville III

The Melville Charitable Trust was founded by Frank Melville III, whose wealth came from the Melville Corporation, a national retailer that in 1995 split into three companies, the largest of which became the national drugstore chain CVS. 1 After serving in the United States Navy during World War II, Melville was a book publisher and president of the History Book Club. His obituary stated that Melville was “throughout his life a strong supporter of liberal causes and organizations, particularly the American Civil Liberties Union.” 2

Melville declared the trust’s mission was fighting homelessness in Connecticut. The trust’s executive director, Robert Kohler, told the Hartford Courant in 2007 that Melville and the trust’s board “felt in 1990” that homelessness “didn’t get much attention from philanthropy.” 3 Trust board member John Gibb said the board chose to fight homelessness in Connecticut because “we figured New York was just too big for us and we would be lost in the shuffle.” 4

Frank Melville’s son Stephen Melville and his wife Ruth Melville both sit on the Melville Charitable Trust’s board. 5

Redevelopment in Hartford

In 2002, the Melville Charitable Trust bought the Cathedral Lyceum, built by the Archdiocese of Hartford in 1895, and turned it into an office building for nonprofits and a conference center which opened in 2004. 6 The building, renovated in 2019, is run as a social enterprise by the Partnership for Strong Communities, a nonprofit created by the trust that aims to be “a go-to organization for information about homelessness and affordable housing” in Connecticut. 7

In 2005, the Trust bought the Billings Forge apartment complex in Hartford and spent $5 million renovating it. The renovated complex opened in 2010, and the Hartford Courant reported the rebuilt buildings offered “98 apartments, artists’ studios, a community center, an upscale restaurant” as well as “community gardens.” 8

Partnership for Equitable and Resilient Communities

In 2018, the New York Times reported that the trust “has moved away from funding homeless shelters and acting as a landlord of transitional housing to being more of a policy advocate in the state’s capital, Hartford, and elsewhere.” 9

In 2021, the Trust, collaborating with the JPB and Marguerite Casey Foundations and Arnold Ventures, announced the creation of the Partnership for Resilient and Equitable Communities, an initiative with the stated goal of “ensur[ing] that federal resources target equitable solutions so that low-wealth Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities” could “implement equity-based housing and community development plans” paid for with new federal government spending. The Trust said it would contribute $10 million to this project over three years and act as lead fundraiser for donations from other nonprofits. 10


  1. [1] Jennifer Steinhauer, “Melville Plans Split Into 3 Companies.” New York Times, October 25, 1995. Accessed October 14, 2022.
  2. “Frank Melville III.” Hartford Courant, December 8, 2007. Accessed October 14, 2022.
  3. Jesse Leavenworth, “Friend of the Homeless:  Frank Melville, 1923-2007.” Hartford Courant, December 7, 2007. Accessed October 14, 2022.
  4. Jesse Leavenworth, “Friend of the Homeless:  Frank Melville, 1923-2007.” Hartford Courant, December 7, 2007. Accessed October 14, 2022.
  5. “About Us:  Board of Directors.” Melville Trust. Accessed October 14, 2022.
  6. Melissa Pionzig, “Precenting Homelessness:  Agencies with a Common Goal Share Historic Building.” Hartford Courant, November 6, 2004. Accessed October 14, 2022.
  7. “History.” Partnership for Strong Communities. Accessed October 14, 2022.
  8. Dan Haar, “A Model for City Housing.” Hartford Courant, May 28, 2010.   Accessed October 14, 2022.
  9. Paul Sullivan, “When the Foundation Is Small But The Goal is Mighty.” New York Times, October 6, 2018. Accessed October 22, 2022.
  10. “Partnership For Equitable and Resilient Communities.” Melville Trust. Accessed October 14, 2022.
  See an error? Let us know!

Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 2017

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2020 Dec Form PF $3,576,490 $12,003,656 $154,835,983 $2,000,443 $0 $0 $0 $0
    2019 Dec Form PF $11,703,778 $9,124,257 $153,673,170 $972,044 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form PF $1 $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $1 $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $1 $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $1 $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Melville Charitable Trust

    55 CHURCH ST STE 800
    NEW HAVEN, CT 06510-3027