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 United Nations Democracy Fund, the OECD Civic Space Observatory, and USAID’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid. Doug previously co-chaired the civil society pillar of the Community of Democracies and the State Department’s Global Philanthropy Working Group.

Under Doug’s leadership, ICNL received a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, the organizational analogue to MacArthur’s “genius award” for individuals. In 2013, Doug presented remarks at a meeting moderated by President Obama for 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.

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 Libya for the destruction 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.