Meet Melissa

Through Scholz Nonprofit Law, Melissa unites her expertise in nonprofit law with over 30 years of experience as a community leader and fundraiser. Prior to forming Scholz Nonprofit Law in 2007, Melissa worked at a large Wisconsin law firm and developed a broad knowledge of legal issues that affect nonprofits. She brings this tax and business savvy to the firm, where she is able to tailor their service to the unique needs of nonprofits and mission-driven businesses.

Originally from California, Melissa received her B.A. in History from Stanford University, then received her J.D. from University of Wisconsin Law School in 1995 (cum laude; Order of the Coif). Melissa and her husband, Karl Scholz, have enjoyed living in Madison for thirty years and raising their family of three daughters. When Melissa isn’t practicing law or working on a community issue, she enjoys UW sport and other activities, being outdoors, hearing live music, cooking or eating good food, and being with family and friends.

Legal Experience includes:

  • Fifteen years as principal attorney/owner of Scholz Nonprofit Law LLC, where she has represented hundreds of nonprofit organizations throughout the country
  • Contributing author to the State Bar of Wisconsin’s publication A Guide for Wisconsin Nonprofit Organizations, fifth edition © 2020
  • Clinical instructor for the UW-Madison Law School Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic lecturing on legal issues and advising student attorneys
  • Twelve years practicing law in a large law firm, Godfrey & Kahn SC, serving as a member of the Corporate, Healthcare, Political and Tax practice groups. Practice included general corporate and tax advice for tax-exempt groups, ranging from large hospital systems to small community-based organizations to statewide advocacy organizations. Work included contracts, financing transactions, governance issues, tax advice for 501(c)(3), (c)(4), and (c)(6) organizations, healthcare compliance, and guidance on lobbying and political activities.

Community Engagement includes:

  • March for Our Lives Action Fund (Parkland, FL) – Secretary and Board member
  • Madison Public Schools Foundation — Secretary and Director
  • Schools Make Madison Advocates — Director
  • Melissa has served on many other boards and capital campaign committees, as well as volunteered for many charitable and political causes.

Other Experience includes:

  • Founding employee of the national nonprofit organization, Campus Compact
  • Professional fundraiser for the University of Wisconsin Foundation
  • Elected member of the Dane County Board of Supervisors
  • Co-founder of a start-up ice cream company

Presentations include:

  • “Nonprofit Advocacy”, many venues and client trainings
  • “Key Legal Issues for Development Professionals,” Madison Nonprofit Day
  • “Nonprofit Or Not: Earned Revenue by Nonprofits and Other Mission Related Ventures,” UW Law School and gBETA
  • “Social Ventures 101,” UW—Madison
  • “Guidelines for Advocacy by Nonprofits,” and “Responsibilities of Directors of Nonprofit Organizations,” United Way, Community Shares, and other conferences and community forums

Meet the rest of the Team: Jessica Harrison | Jeff Femrite | West Foster | Tracy Bailey