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Edward A. Grefe

Adjunct Instructor
School of Leadership and Professional Advancement
Humane Leadership

Phone: 703.346.2048



Bachelor of Arts, The Catholic University of America

Ed Grefe has spent more than 45 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 program innovator, graduate school adjunct professor, and undergraduate lecturer. His campaigns total some 300+.

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 include candidates seeking to become a U.S. Senator, U.S. Congressmen, Governor, and 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.

He has also worked on political campaigns and lobbying efforts in several foreign countries. He has helped political parties, candidates, and corporations build support in the community for the issues important to them. These countries include Australia, Canada, Costa Rico, France, Germany, Mexico, The Netherlands, Suriname, and Venezuela.

He authored two books on corporate participation in the political process - Fighting to Win: Business Political Power and The New Corporate Activism - that are considered seminal. His first book is based on his experience as the Vice President charged with launching the global political affairs effort for Philip Morris, Inc.

His many published articles and book chapters on grassroots politics and issues management have covered every aspect of how to identify, mobilize, and motivate communities to win elections, change community attitudes, and raise money. The U.S. Public Affairs Council referred to Ed as "one of the 'inventers' of corporate grassroots." Impact, Sept. 1995.

Ed was co-creator, in the early 1980s, of the first relational database management system - GAMBIT - designed exclusively for grassroots organizing. Later, he joined Legislative Demographics Systems, the firm awarded the contract by the Republican National Committee to determine the algorithm to link zip codes with political districts. The two feats helped launch the twin concepts of database layering and database mining for micro-targeting.

Early in his career Ed lectured at the Institute of Politics and Government at the University of Arkansas. He taught the first course on "Using Computers in Public Relations and Public Affairs" at New York University. Since 1996, he has taught at the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University: "Grassroots Politics" and "Managing Strategic Political Issues". Since 2004, he has lectured annually at Leiden University in The Netherlands at Campus Den Haag; and, at Rosario University in Bogotá, Colombia. Since 2011, Ed has taught an online advocacy course for the School of Professional Leadership and Development at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.

See Ed Skydive!