Melissa Roberts Chapman is a senior program officer – Kansas City in Entrepreneurship for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where she manages a diverse grant portfolio that focuses on supporting the Foundation’s work within the Kansas City regional area, and collaborates with and convenes multiple stakeholders that support entrepreneurs to help fortify Kansas City’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, Chapman served as vice president of strategy and economic development with the Enterprise Center in Johnson County, providing resources for entrepreneurs and investors in the Kansas City metro area. She led strategic development of communications, educational programs, fundraising and public policy efforts. In addition to her work with the Enterprise Center, she founded Free State Strategy Group, a boutique public affairs, lobbying, and public relations firm, serving a variety of clients in the telecom, tech, entrepreneurial, startup, and advocacy communities. Earlier, Chapman was on a planning committee for Global Entrepreneurship Week in Kansas City and was a founding organizer of 1 Million Cups in Kansas City. She has received the Startup Silver Slugger Award from KC SourceLink, was named a Next Gen Leader by the Kansas City Business Journal, and made the Kansas City Star’s 30 Under 30 list.
Chapman has a Bachelor of Arts in history from Boston College.