Andy Burness is founder and president of Burness, a mission-driven global communications firm supporting nonprofits and the people they serve. The company has partnered with more than 500 nonprofit and governmental organizations over its more than 30 years. Andy and his colleagues showcase solutions to the problems that cause poverty, hunger, disease and environmental degradation, often taking little-known ideas that can benefit humanity and developing strategies and tactics for taking these ideas to scale.

His company has been named five times by Washington-area media as one of the best places to work in the region.

Andy has also been an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, teaching courses on strategic communications for policy change. He is also an associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He regularly publishes articles and blogs related to the field of public interest communications, and is co-editor of the book “Roses for the Soul: Celebrating the Life and Achievements of Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook.”

In 2014, Andy was selected as a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Resident Fellow, joining 15 other policymakers, nonprofit leaders, artists and public advocates from around the world.

Andy’s international work has taken him to more than 20 countries on four continents, where he provides training and counsel on agricultural research, vaccine development, and public health interventions to control diseases of the developing world. He speaks Spanish fluently, having lectured and conducted media outreach in Latin American countries.

Andy directs the Karel Fellowship that introduces first generation and minority college students to the field of public interest communications. He is an active civic leader in Montgomery County, Maryland where he lives. He co-founded Business Leaders Fighting Hunger, and serves on the Board of Advisors for the Universities at Shady Grove and Montgomery Moving Forward. He and his wife Hope were named the county’s Philanthropists of the Year in 2019.

Before starting his firm, he was liaison with the public and primary spokesperson for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest health philanthropy in the United States. Prior to that, he served as public information officer for the President’s Commission on Medical Ethics. He was also a legislative assistant for health and education policy in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Andy has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University, and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Maryland. He is the father of two 20-something children (Alex and Molly), as well as a caretaker of Zion, the dog.