Melanie Bartoletti – Bringing Sunshine into the World

Melanie Bartoletti is making a difference.

She began her professional career as a court reporter, reporting both depositions and courtroom proceedings for many years, specializing in death penalty cases. In 2001, she was forced to retire due to ongoing issues with repetitive stress.

She went back to school and got a degree in Christian leadership at Patton University, and hasn’t stopped giving back since.

An avid equestrian, Melanie started riding horses when she was 11 years old. In 2005, she founded SonRise Equestrian Foundation on Crow Canyon Road in Castro Valley, a non-profit organization guided by Christian-based values dedicated to improving the lives of children with special needs through therapeutic horse and ranch activities.

The organization has done work with terminally ill children, including those at the George Mark Hospital in San Leandro and Children’s Hospital in Oakland.

“This brought a little sunshine into a room for a family with a dying loved one,” – Melanie Bartoletti

In 2010, Melanie received Diablo Magazine’s Threads of Hope Award as well as the Jefferson Award for her outstanding contributions while working with her Foundation.

Melanie clearly has a passion for animals and owns four dogs, three horses and two cats. She owns a very special Icelandic horse and a Career Change seeing eye dog. She has taken riding adventures in Iceland in past years.

Gianni Bartoletti came into Melanie’s life in 2011. They dated for a couple years, fell in love and got married. She has become his business partner as well as life partner, handling social media and operations for the authentic Gianni’s Italian Bistro in San Ramon.

Her vision for Gianni’s Italian Bistro “Tips for Change” has been a way for her to continue to give back to the community she loves. Each Monday, Gianni’s raises money for local causes in the community. Each year, Gianni’s raises more than $100,000 for local charities.

Melanie learned about Impact 100 through Pat Burgess and Nancy Clark. The opportunity to have 100 women come together to really enact change was inspiring and in line with her philosophy.

Like most restaurant owners, Gianni’s Italian Bistro has also seen the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and has really altered its business model. At the beginning of the pandemic, Gianni’s did a pandemic relief package for families of four. The first two weeks, the restaurant was swamped with orders. They opened up an online ordering system and it blossomed from there. As the warmer weather is upon us, Melanie is working with Gianni to come up with new menus, suitable for summer.

While she misses the social feel of Gianni’s, particularly on “Tips for Change” Mondays, she has worked to find creative ways to help the community.

On March 30, 2020, Melanie worked with Pat Burgess, who came up with the idea for a “Tips for Change Take-Out”.  More than $8,500 was raised through 95 take-out orders to support Impact 100’s mission.

Melanie is a breast cancer survivor of a rare type of cancer, who spends some of her time helping others navigate treatment options to help them to live through their cancer diagnosis.

Using her powers for good, Melanie has had a consequential and lasting impact on her community through good work, virtuous deeds, and a bright outlook on life.