Poverty Forum

Melissa Rogers

Melissa Rogers serves as director of Wake Forest University Divinity School's Center for Religion and Public Affairs.  The Center promotes research, study, and dialogue regarding the intersection of religion and public affairs and provides resources for policymakers, divinity school students, and religious leaders on these issues.  Rogers previously served as the executive director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and as general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty. 

In 2008 Baylor University Press published a casebook co-authored by Rogers, Religious Freedom and the Supreme Court.  President Barack Obama appointed Rogers to his Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2009.  During her tenure at the Baptist Joint Committee, Rogers helped lead a diverse coalition that was instrumental in bringing about the enactment of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000She also served as a draftsperson for several amicus briefs in church-state cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Rogers has testified before the Judiciary Committee to the U.S. Senate on religious freedom issues.  In 2004 National Journal recognized her as one of the church-state experts "politicians will call on when they get serious about addressing an important public policy issue."

Rogers has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts, including NBC Nightly News, CNN, Fox News, PBS, Court TV, and NPR, and her opinion-editorials have been published by media outlets such as ABC News, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The Fort-Worth Star Telegram, Legal Times, and Religion News Service.  Rogers earned her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she was a member of the National Moot Court Team.  She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Baylor University.


Each member of The Poverty Forum participated as an individual and not as a representative of any association. Their individual support and association with any and all proposals may not reflect the agency for which they work.


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Acces information on poverty policy & other resources

The Poverty Forum is made up of 8 teams who came up with 25 policy proposals addressing domestic poverty. Brief summaries, complete white paper policy proposals, and a press kit can be found on our Resource page.

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