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 35 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 is currently teaching Communications Strategies and Tactics for Influencing a Better World as a Lecturer at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.  He has also been an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.  He is an Associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and has regularly presented at colleges, universities, and policy forums in the United States and around the world.  He has published 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,” a series of essays on the pioneering Black scholar and distinguished political scientist.

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.  And, he is currently an appointed member of the International Race and Health Experts Group, convened by the British National Health Service to highlight solutions to entrenched racism in health systems the world over.  He also directs the Karel Fellowship, managed out of Burness offices, that introduces first generation and minority college students to the field of public interest communications.

A fluent Spanish speaker, Andy’s international work has taken him to more than 20 countries on four continents, where he has provided training and counsel on agricultural research, vaccine development and public health interventions to control diseases of the developing world. 

In his civic life, he is an active leader in Montgomery County, Maryland where he lives.  He co-founded Business Leaders Fighting Hunger, and services on the Board of Advisors for the Universities at Shady Grove.  He and his wife Hope Gleicher 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 Masters in Business Administration from the University of Maryland.  He is the father of two children, Alex and Molly, and is a caretaker of Zion, the dog.