Holland Children's Institute and Movement Announce New Leadership

Former Nebraska State Senator selected as new COO


OMAHA, NE – Earlier today, Andy Holland, President of the Holland Children’s Institute and Movement, announced former State Senator Heath Mello as the organizations’ new Chief Operating Officer.

“Over the past few months, the Holland Children’s Institute and Movement have undergone an in-depth strategic planning process to focus our future work and initiatives toward making Nebraska the national beacon in economic security and opportunity for all children and working families,” said Holland. “As part of that process, we are expanding our agenda and role within the research and public policy arena to help address key challenges facing middle class families in Nebraska.”

“The Holland Children’s Institute and Movement are excited to have Senator Heath Mello, and the new energy he brings, as the leader of both organizations,” Holland said. “As a former State Senator and Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Heath has proven himself not only as a public policy expert, but as a dynamic, consensus-building leader who also commands respect as a strategist in partnerships and engaging the public to effectively bring about change.”

As a State Senator for Nebraska’s 5th Legislative District, Senator Mello served on the Appropriations Committee, the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee, the Legislature’s Planning Committee, Building Maintenance Committee, Legislative Performance Audit Committee, Rules Committee, and the Legislature’s Executive Board.

Over the course of eight years in the Unicameral, Senator Mello built a legacy of bipartisan work influencing public policies affecting middle class families, our state’s most vulnerable populations, and long term economic development needs. Mello served on special task forces and select committees tackling some of Nebraska’s biggest challenges.  

Mello’s new role leading the Holland Children’s Institute and Movement is a continuation of his commitment to championing opportunities for children and working families across Nebraska.

“I’m honored and excited to lead the Holland Children’s Institute and Movement during this critical time in our state,” said Mello. “Now more than ever, we need organizations like the Holland Children’s Institute and Movement to lead on engaging the public and our policymakers with new ideas and strategies to build and strengthen our middle class.”

Senator Mello’s policy background aligns with the vision of Holland Children’s Institute and Movement in several notable areas. Mello played a key role in reducing the cliff effect in Nebraska’s public benefit programs, making it easier for Nebraskans to earn higher wages. The Holland Children’s Institute and Movement view Mello’s victories on pregnant worker fairness, equal pay, early childhood investments and workforce development as key steps forward for our state. 

The Holland Children’s Institute and Movement look forward to Senator Mello leading our organizations with an emphasis on collaboration.  While in the Unicameral, Mello’s collaborative leadership paved the way for neighborhoods to become safer through the Omaha Municipal Land Bank, for families and businesses to make energy efficiency improvements with PACE, and for DACA recipients to be able to acquire professional licenses in Nebraska.

“From child care to paid family leave to better incomes, Nebraska’s children and middle class families need a seat at the decision-making table in our government,” Mello said. “We are working hard every day bringing new ideas, approaches, and conversations forward to help our public officials make the best decisions on behalf of children and middle class families.”


Organizational Background

Richard D. Holland founded the Holland Children’s Movement and Holland Children’s Institute as sister organizations in 2013. Our vision is for Nebraska to become the national beacon in economic security and opportunity for all children and families.

 Movement Mission

The Holland Children’s Movement works to ensure Nebraska children and families are prioritized in state budget and policy decisions through strategic advocacy, public engagement and effective collaboration. The Holland Children’s Movement is a 501 (c)(4) nonprofit organization. www.childrensmovement.com

 Institute Mission

The Holland Children’s Institute serves as the trusted destination for research and analysis related to income disparities and equitable access to opportunities essential to prosperity for Nebraska children and families. The Holland Children’s Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  www.hollandchildrensinstitute.com


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