A native Washingtonian, and a local philanthropist, Melodie finds her greatest joy in supporting and encouraging the visions of others. As a serial entrepreneur, she has met the many challenges that new businesses face, as well as the adversities of being a woman and a minority. The goal of the Forward Fund is to provide an opportunity to keep female entrepreneurs climbing, with an achievable entry to their next phase. "We welcome you to apply, so you can sit with us". 

Lead Funder, Forward Fund

CEO, Sole Savers, Inc

CEO, Smile Capital Recovery

Partner, The Pitch Tavern

Our Story

I know what it's like to be a female entrepreneur; I know the struggles, I know the rejection, I know the pitfalls. But, I also know the joy and the unrivaled fulfillment it brings when you succeed. I developed Forward Fund to create an avenue to provide a hand-up without the stress of being "perfect".

Our Vision

To aid women-entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams of starting a business, 

How to Get Started

Just fill out the form and wait for us to get back to you after we have verified your documents!

Fund Extenders


Contributing Funders



Melodie N. Blackwell

It is my heart's desire is to serve. I know what it's like to be a female entrepreneur. I know the struggles, rejections and pitfalls. Yet, I also know the joy and the unrivaled fulfillment it brings when you succeed. I established Forward Fund to create a path that provides a hand-up without the stress of being "perfect."


When I was searching for help, every thing I found required me to have all of my ducks in a row. And the truth is, the challenges of entrepreneurship sometimes come with compromise, because you might miss a duck or two. This fund’s goal is to help others get their ducks in a row are the starting line. It will provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to get to forward. 

Leslie Jackson

Supporting entrepreneurs is not only important, but vital. This entrepreneurial journey is not for the faint of heart. As for those who dare to dream, you need to know that you WILL make it. The process is necessary for the promise to be realized. I choose to be an anchor and supporting foundation to ensure my fellow entrepreneur has the same opportunity to excel. Being there is support coupled with action. Someone believed in me and helped me. I am where I am today because of the support of fellow entrepreneurs. It is my divine responsibility to do the same. 

Keisha Gilchrist

Women entrepreneurship is dear to my heart - because it is a heavy cross to bear and only those with the heart, mind, and soul of a warrior even attempt to try. These are my people. Through entrepreneurship, we are signing up for the responsibility of running a business while breaking down barriers - everyday. When you learn how to navigate in this space, the rewards are endless! I love to encourage women forging their way down this path. It can be done. By you. As soon as you are ready. I am excited to be a part of The Forward Fund to help budding entrepreneurs in their readiness. 

Karen Edwards

Women have what it takes to get it done! They embody the elements of entrepreneurship -- including sacrifice and go-get-it grit, courage to make quick decisions, natural ability to lead and train a team, and consistent integrity and authenticity.  I firmly believe in reaching back and lifting others anytime there is an opportunity.  As a long-time member of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), I mentor women who are neophytes in their own businesses. The Forward Fund is another lane to encourage and provide opportunities to such a fierce community - WOMEN!