Melissa DePino

Co-Founder/Brand Strategist


Melissa has been an industry leader in articulating the brands of non-profits for more than 20 years. She co-founded Leapfrog Group in 2004, and in her capacity as brand strategist, she creates messaging that allows clients to distinguish themselves in a competitive marketplace in both admissions and advancement.

Having advised hundreds of independent schools, colleges and universities, healthcare, arts and advocacy organizations, her strengths-based messaging model has changed the non-profit marketing landscape. An enthusiastic and passionate non-profit advocate at heart, Melissa believes wholeheartedly in organizations that advance the greater good. Because each new client and project fascinates her, her creative and strategic solutions to their challenges are as inspired as she is.

Prior to starting Leapfrog Group, Melissa served as Director of Communications for Temple University for seven years. She has been a high school English teacher in Camden, New Jersey, and has taught graduate classes as an adjunct professor at Temple University’s College of Education.

After her 2018 viral video of two Black men unjustly arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks sparked an international conversation and prompted the coffee chain to close 8,000 stores for implicit bias training, Melissa dedicated herself to activism. She co-founded a national movement to desegregate the public conversation about race and racism, writes extensively on the role of white Americans in antiracism work, and has spoken to hundreds of audiences globally to create awareness and inspire action toward racial equity and justice. Her activism has been featured on NPR’s Radio Times and Code Switch, Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, AM Joy, Red Table Talk, and in numerous television, print and online outlets. She is at work on a forthcoming book, UNCOMFORTABLE.