Alan J. Abramson

Photo of Alan J. Abramson
Titles and Organizations

Professor; and Director, Center on Nonprofits, Philanthropy, and Social Enterprise

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


Alan J. Abramson is a professor and the director of the Center on Nonprofits, Philanthropy, and Social Enterprise in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. In these positions, he teaches, conducts research, and works in the broad field of public administration, with a particular focus on issues related to the nonprofit sector and philanthropy.

For more than a decade, Abramson directed the Aspen Institute’s Nonprofit Sector 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, he was on the staff of the Urban Institute, where he conducted research on a variety of domestic public policy issues.

Abramson is the author and coauthor of numerous books and articles, and his work has twice won awards from the American Political Science Association. He has served on many national and local nonprofit boards and advisory committees, and has been named among the 50 most influential leaders in the U.S. nonprofit sector. In 2015-16, Abramson served as president of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), the nation’s leading association for nonprofit researchers. In 2016, he was elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, and in 2018-19 he served as the first Visiting Scholar at Independent Sector. In July 2021, he became coeditor-in-chief of the scholarly journal Nonprofit Policy Forum.

At Mason, Abramson has previously served as interim MPA director, and he is currently a member of the Faculty Senate and an elected faculty representative to the Board of Visitors Development Committee. Knowledgeable about a broad range of nonprofit issues, his major, current interests are: the infrastructure–or support system–for the nonprofit sector; nonprofit advocacy; public policy toward social enterprise; the health of the overall nonprofit sector; and shared governance, the engagement of all three sectors–nonprofit, government, and business–in addressing social problems.

Abramson received his PhD in political science from Yale University and his BA from Wesleyan University.

View Alan J. Abramson's CV

Areas of Research

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