Edward A. Grefe

Mr. Edward A. Grefe

Adjunct Professor, The Graduate School of Political Management
Faculty: Adjunct


Edward A. Grefe was the Graduate School of Poltiical Management's first Grassroots Engagement professor. He led every session of the course until his passing in early 2017.

Ed spent more than 40 years in communications and politics working at various times in his career as a journalist, legislative aide, political strategist, entrepreneur, grassroots organizer, message developer, fund raiser, corporate executive, relational database innovator, graduate school adjunct professor, and undergraduate lecturer. He led more than 300 campaigns during his career.

He 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 on literacy problems in the minority community of that city. He worked for three Members of the U.S. Congress. His many campaigns included candidates seeking to become a U.S. Senator, U.S. Congressman, Governor, Mayor, as well as various organizations seeking victory in legislative battles, and groups seeking to change community attitudes at the city, state, and Federal level.

His two books on grassroots organizing principles for both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations are considered seminal, prompting the Public Affairs Council to call him “one of the ‘inventers’ of corporate grassroots.” The Harvard Business Review added: “Grefe’s wider notion is that … by keeping out of politics … business does not make the process purer, it only suffers an imbalance.”


B.A., The Catholic University of America


Grefe, E.A. & Linsky, Martin, The New Corporate Activism: Harnessing the Power of Grassroots Tactics for Your Organization, McGraw-Hill, Inc., NY, 1995.

Grefe, E.A., Fighting to Win: Business Political Power, Harcourt Brace, Inc., NY, 1981.

“Building Constituencies for Advocacy in the U.S. and Other Democracies,” Chapter 31, Johnson, D.W., Ed., Routledge Handbook of Political Mgmt, NY, 2008.

“Information, Communications Systems, and Technology in Public Affairs,” Chapter 11, Harris, Phil & Fleisher, Craig, The Handbook of Public Affairs, Sage Publications, 2005.

“E-campaigning: What it is and how to do it,” The Journal of Public Affairs (Manchester, UK), March 2003, Vol 3, No 1, pp. 21-26.

"Getting Started: More Guidelines and Considerations, Computer Applications in Public Affairs,

Public Affairs Council, Washington, DC, 1984.

Classes Taught

Grassroots Engagement
Issues Management