Photo: Dale Robbins

Marshall Ganz

Organizer and Activist

Marshall Ganz has been organizing social movements for over 40 years. The Bakersfield, California native began his career as a student volunteer with the Mississippi Summer Project in 1964, helping to register disenfranchised black voters in the South. Finding a passion for activism, Ganz decided to drop out of Harvard a year before graduation and embark on a full-time career as an organizer.

After working with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Ganz joined Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in the fall of 1965, working on expanding the rights of underpaid farm workers. Following a 16-year career with the UFW, he began to work with other grassroots organizations, developing voter mobilization strategies for local, state and national campaigns.

In 1991, Ganz returned to Harvard, where he completed his undergraduate degree and went on to receive an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government and a Ph.D. in sociology.

Ganz is now a senior public policy lecturer at Harvard, and a founder of The Leading Change Network, a global community of organizers, educators, and researchers, working together to “build power for sustained democratic change.” His latest book, Why David Sometimes Wins: Leadership, Organization and Strategy in the California Farm Worker Movement, was published in 2009.