Melinda “Mindy” Fountain is a native Hoosier and third generation Michiana resident. As a child she lived on her family’s popcorn farm in White County near the small town of Reynolds, Indiana. She and her siblings attended local public schools, participated in 4H, and loved going to the fair every summer. She regularly visited family in Granger, where her grandparents had a farm and a business, Bauer Soft Water.
Mindy graduated from LaPorte High School, where she was recognized as the most outstanding science student in her high school class and received a scholarship to pursue college in New York state. She went to college on scholarships and Pell grants, doing work-study jobs during the school year and working every summer. Another scholarship program later allowed Melinda to travel to Poland, where she eventually obtained a master’s degree in European Studies.
Through all of this, her passion for community service and a hard-earned belief in the value of education were born.
This sense of service comes naturally to Mindy.
Generations of Mindy’s family have served in public and military service. Especially after 9/11, Mindy was herself called to serve our country as a diplomat in the United States Foreign Service for over ten years. She and her husband, Tom Cumbow, served in Warsaw, Poland; Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia; Tirana, Albania; Washington, DC; and at the United Nations in New York.
While serving in Albania, Mindy remembers her oldest daughter drawing pictures of airplanes with the sidewalk chalk, saying she was “drawing planes to fly home to grandma.” This yearning for home eventually compelled Mindy and her husband to move back to the Hoosier state, where she now passes on her Indiana heritage to the next generation and gives back to the community she so fondly cherishes.
Mindy is an associate director at the University of Notre Dame, where she mentors students for careers in public service and international affairs. She is deeply committed to sharing the world with her students and supporting the same kind of educational opportunities she benefited from. Mindy will complete an Executive Master’s in Nonprofit Administration at Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business in 2023.
Mindy is an elected member of the Clay Township (St. Joseph County) Board and a Democratic Precinct Chairperson. She is a founding member and past president of Clay International Academy’s parent-teacher organization, is an active proponent for expanding public bike and walking paths in the region, and has been a board member of Arlington Pool..
She is a proud wife and mother to three children, David, Margot and Lily, who attend South Bend schools. The family enjoys visiting Lake Michigan, swimming at Arlington Pool, and walking, hiking and playing in the wonderful parks in our area.