12 04

inventing grassroots

Geplaatst door: krijvenaar in Den Haag morgen

Edward A. Grefe - adjunct professor and director of Community Advocacy at George Washington University

April 19, at the 2010 Public Affairs Convention in The Hague, Netherlands one of the fine key note speakers is adjunct professor and director of Community Advocacy at George Washington University, Professor Edward Grefe. He will address his audience of Dutch public affairs professionals with his original insights on grassroots politics and strategic management of issues.

pa-cc’s Director Michiel Krijvenaar has met Edward Grefe at a session on grass roots at the GWU in november 2001, as he participated in a weeks’ professional visit by a small group of Dutch PA professionals to Washington DC. They kept in touch over the years and now Ed Grefe is a commited watcher of pa-cc’s activities. And a close friend as well.

Ed Grefe has spent more than 40 years in communications and politics. He has been a journalist, legislative aide, political strategist, corporate public affairs executive, entrepreneur, grassroots organizer, fund raiser, and relational database innovator. He has handled more than 250 campaigns and has been hailed by the prestigious Public Affairs Council as “the inventor of corporate grassroots programs.”

Ed started his career with The Washington Post and continued his early journalism with The Baltimore News American for which he wrote a front-page series in 1964 on the city’s reading problems. In the late 1960s he worked for three Members of Congress: Jack McDonald, R-MI; Bill Widnall, R-NJ; and Tom Curtis, R-MO. His staff work for Widnall and Curtis included housing and tax issues.

His political campaigns have also included candidates for the U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, Governor, Mayor, other legislative offices, and one presidential exploratory committee. He has handled campaigns in foreign countries, as well, including Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, and France. He has raised millions of dollars for the many candidates he represented, and for three universities: the University of Pittsburgh, Johns Hopkins University, and Teachers College of Columbia University.

Ed’s corporate experience includes launching the headquarters public affairs office for Philip Morris Inc. in 1975, which led to his being named Vice President Public Affairs for Philip Morris USA in 1977; and managing advertising for Wolf Trap Farm for the Performing Arts in the 1971. He also established two businesses: E. A. Grefe & Associates, which he later sold, and International Civics which he co-created and led for 18 years before joining Legislative Demographic Services (LDS), which was purchased in 2006 by Aristotle International. Ed serves as Senior Political Strategist for AI clients.

Ed’s two books – Fighting to Win: Business Political Power and The New Corporate Activism – are seminal texts on corporate participation in the political process. And his many articles and book chapters on grassroots politics and issues management were the first to explain how to identify, mobilize, and motivate grassroots constituents in order to win elections and raise money – from training volunteers as leaders to database mining and micro-targeting.

Ed first taught at the Institute of Politics and Government at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock in the 1970s. In the 1980s he taught the first course offered jointly by the Public Relations Society of America and New York University on “Using Computers in Public Relations and Public Affairs,” and later co-created GAMBIT, the first relational database management system designed exclusively for grassroots organizing.

In 1996, Ed started teaching two courses at The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management: “Grassroots Politics” and “Managing Strategic Political Issues.” He has also been a guest lecturer since 2004 at Leiden University at its Campus Den Haag, and regularly lectures at universities in Austria, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Paraguay, Peru, and Bolivia. He also serves as GSPM’s Director of External Affairs and directs the school’s new Certificate in Community and Grassroots Advocacy. Ed received his B.A. from The Catholic University of America.