Melissa Weisse

Chief Philanthropy Officer

Melissa walks outdoors toward the camera, smiling, with a yellow Labrador ambassador dog in green ambassador jacket walking next to her on leash

As chief philanthropy officer, Melissa leads the national philanthropy and fundraising team at Leader Dogs for the Blind. With over 15 years of experience in fundraising to serve people who are blind or visually impaired, Melissa has raised over $115 million dollars, diversified and grown Leader Dog’s revenue streams and led the successful $14.5 million-dollar capital campaign for the canine development center. She oversees Leader Dog’s philanthropic efforts including major and planned giving, foundation gifts, annual giving, estate giving, donor relations and stewardship and Lions club giving, which encompasses over 4,900 participating clubs nationwide. She has achieved year over year revenue growth and a 40% increase in major gift giving to the organization.

Prior to coming to Leader Dog, Melissa was a private client advisor at Christie’s, London, the world’s leading art business, where she worked extensively with high net worth individuals and foundations in 46 countries and 10 international showrooms. She has worked in Hong Kong, Singapore and Washington, D.C.

Melissa graduated from the University of Notre Dame and has a master’s degree from the University of Glasgow. She is a graduate of the Non-Profit Executive Leadership program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and of fundraising and nonprofit management programs at Georgetown University and the Lily School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Melissa serves on the Women’s Impact Initiative Committee for the International Board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and on the Executive Committee of the Board of the American Fundraising Professionals Greater Detroit Chapter. She is a member of the Rochester Lions Club and serves as a board committee member for the American Foundation for the Blind. Melissa is the recipient of the Crain’s Notable Women in Nonprofits 2018 award, which recognizes women who innovate and lead in the social sector,