About Robert Penna

Before turning my attentions to my latest book, I served for five years as a consultant to  Charity Navigator on grants and performance measures, as its International Coordinator responsible for the development of CN activities beyond the U.S. borders,  and on its advisory board.  I also served as the outcomes consultant for the Geneva-based World Scout Bureau, and thereafter advised the WSB Africa Regional Office on a periodic basis for several years.  I have presented before nonprofit organizations and state nonprofit associations across the U.S., in Canada, Poland, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, and Australia.

I was a senior consultant to The Rensselaerville Institute from 2000 to 2008, facilitated seminars at the Institute’s Center for Outcomes, worked on such projects as the Ohio Outcome Funding Community Development effort, and assignments for the A.E. Casey Foundation, the National Geographic Foundation and the Ford Foundation.  One of the assignments that I most enjoyed and of which I am most proud was serving as Project Lead on the Institute’s three United Nations projects in 2003, designing the prototype for the organization’s Programme Performance Report, leading the Institute team creating the materials for the organization’s world wide training seminars on the new system, and facilitating training sessions at UN Headquarters in New York.  The Institute’s resident expert on non-Institute outcome models, I was also the lead author of its book, Outcome Frameworks.

Prior to joining the Institute, I was a member of the staff of the New York State Senate for 13 years beginning in 1982. Over that period I held several senior-level positions, including Director of Research for the Legislative Commission on Public-Private Cooperation, and Director of Communications for the Senate Finance Committee.  I served on the staff of the Majority Leader for five years and also held the positions of Director of Operations and Special Projects Director for, respectively, two members of the Senate Majority. I was an adjunct professor of political science at Siena College, worked on the national field team of the Steve Forbes for President campaign in 1995-96, and was one of New York State’s leading experts in intergovernmental consolidation and special use zoning.

I grew up in the Bronx, graduated from Fordham University, and hold a Ph.D. in Political Science from Boston University with a specialization in urban and municipal affairs.

After thirty years in Albany, I moved to Wilmington, NC, with my wife, Elise.  Our youngest, our daughter Sara, is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and works as a school counselor in Cary, NC.  We have two grown sons: Billy, the architect, living in Schenectady with his (architect) wife and two sons, and Matthew, a West Point graduate who is finishing medical school in Pennsylvania.

I am, in spite of my Bronx roots, a long-suffering Mets and Jets fan.  I probably know more about Superman, Batman, and related DC Comics characters than any adult should admit to knowing.  In spite of actually liking to dress up, I really am a country mouse, being far more comfortable in a cabin in the woods than in a big city penthouse.  I love backpacking and camping (although my body keeps telling me I far am too old to be sleeping on a rock!) and, since moving to NC, truly miss the woods of the north.  I love to tinker, and when AWOL, can usually be found in my shop playing with my tools.

I am an avid cook (although my wife is better!), have very eclectic tastes in music and reading, and am a cat person.  Before we moved to Wilmington, I was very pleased to serve as Vice-President of the Italian American Heritage Foundation, and on the Board of the Italian American Community Center, both in Albany, NY.  Involved in Scouting for over 50 years, I am a counselor for six Merit Badges for the Cape Fear Council of BSA here in Wilmington.

One Comment

Comments are closed.

Recent posts from the blog

RSS Feed
Announcement: new book coming
November 1, 2017
The United States today supports the largest, most varied nonprofit sector in the world.  It is more broad in its reach, better organized, and better funded than any of its counterparts anyw
A Weird Sort of Sense
July 14, 2017
It remains one of the most jarring things anyone has ever said to me, one of those unplanned, unguarded lines people occasionally utter that are completely crazy, but at the same time make a...
The Giving Dilemma; Part 6
June 6, 2017
Those who have read this now-and-then series before might be interested in hearing about a friend who posted a story on Facebook. He and his wife were pulling into the parking lot of a Fl...