Douglas Rutzen

President & CEO
Member Ex-Officio - Board of Directors

Douglas Rutzen is President and CEO of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law. Over the past 30 years, Doug has worked on the legal framework for civil society, philanthropy, digital rights, and public participation in 100 countries. Doug is also on the faculty of Georgetown Law Center, where he teaches international civil society law.

Doug serves on the advisory boards of the Partnership for American Democracy, Open Government Partnership, and the OECD Civic Space Observatory.  Doug previously served on advisory board of the United Nations Democracy Fund.  He also co-chaired the State Department’s Global Philanthropy Working Group and the civil society pillar of the Community of Democracies.

Under Doug’s leadership, ICNL received a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, the organizational analogue to MacArthur’s “genius award” for individuals. At a 2013 meeting moderated by President Obama, Doug presented remarks to world leaders attending the UN General Assembly.

For the past seven years, the Nonprofit Times has named Doug to its “Power and Influence Top 50” list for his work to safeguard civil society around the world. Doug also received the WINGS award for outstanding service to the philanthropic sector and was the recipient of Georgetown Law’s 2021 Distinguished Adjunct Professor Award for exceptional teaching.

Upon Czechoslovakia’s transition to democracy, Doug was Legal Advisor in the Czechoslovak Parliament, where he helped draft the country’s nonprofit laws. Doug also taught at Charles Law Faculty in Prague and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. In private practice, Doug was co-counsel on the first case against Qaddafi for the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

In addition to his legal career, Doug developed social enterprises for persons with disabilities, and he wrote a book that transformed the process of producing low-cost eyeglasses around the world. Doug is a graduate of Yale Law School, with undergraduate studies at Cornell and Oxford.