Alan J. Abramson

Photo of Alan J. Abramson
Titles and Organizations

Professor; Interim Director, Master's in Public Administration (Fall 2020); and Director, Center for Nonprofit Management, Philanthropy, and Policy

Contact Information
Phone: 703-993-8189
Arlington: Van Metre Hall, Room 608
3351 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
MSN: 3B1


Alan J. Abramson is a Professor of Government and Politics and Interim Director, Master's in Public Administration (Fall 2020) in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University; Founding Director of Mason’s Center for Nonprofit Management, Philanthropy, and Policy; and a Senior Fellow at the Aspen Institute. In these several positions, he teaches, conducts research, and works with leaders on a broad range of nonprofit and philanthropic issues. For more than a decade, Alan directed the Aspen Institute’s nonprofit and philanthropy program, overseeing the Nonprofit Sector Research Fund and other initiatives that helped to build the nonprofit research field in the U.S., strengthen nonprofit and foundation leaders, and deepen the understanding of policymakers about nonprofit activities. Before joining the Aspen Institute, Alan Abramson was on the research staff of the Urban Institute, where he worked on a variety of domestic public policy issues. Alan Abramson received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University and his B.A. from Wesleyan University. He is the author and co-author of numerous books and articles, and his work has twice won awards from the American Political Science Association. Alan is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, and has also been named among the 50 most influential leaders in the U.S. nonprofit sector. In 2015-2016, Alan served as President of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), the nation’s premier association of nonprofit researchers. In 2018-2019, while on study leave from George Mason University, Alan served as the first Visiting Scholar at Independent Sector, a leading national membership organization for the charitable sector. Knowledgeable about a broad range of nonprofit issues, Alan’s major, current interests are: nonprofit-government relations; foundation policy and practice; social enterprise and social entrepreneurship; and shared governance, the engagement of all three sectors – nonprofit, government, and business – in addressing social problems.

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Areas of Research

  • Nonprofit Management
  • Philanthropy
  • Public Administration
  • Public Management
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Third-party (Collaborative) Governance