President and CEO

Carol Ann "Cari" DeSantis

Carol Ann “Cari” DeSantis brings more than 20 years of experience in philanthropy, health care, government relations and business management to Melwood.  Before coming to Melwood, Ms. DeSantis headed her own management consulting firm, where she led government and nonprofit agencies in the health and human services sector through organizational transformations and guided them through strategic planning and organizational effectiveness processes. Prior to her consulting work, DeSantis was executive vice president, public affairs and communications at the Casey Family Programs Foundation, a $2 billion foundation whose mission is to inspire individuals, communities, elected officials, and the media to care about American’s most vulnerable children.  From 2001-2008, she served the State of Delaware as cabinet secretary, Department of Services for Children, Youth and Families. As CEO of this large state department, she was responsible for overseeing an annual budget in excess of $175 million and more than 1,300 employees in 30 locations statewide.

DeSantis holds a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (Medical Ethics) from the University of Delaware, where she also received a Bachelor of Arts in English/Journalism. DeSantis is the author of three books, including the 2000 National Independent Publishers Book Award-winning Of Hope and Charity, as well as numerous articles. She also is the recipient of the Service Excellence Award from the American Public Human Services Association, among other individual and organizational awards.