The Catholic University of America

Human Ecology: Integrating 125 Years of Catholic Social Doctrine

Presented by The Napa Institute and The Catholic University of America School of Business and Economics

March 16 – 18, 2016

Carl Schramm, Ph.D.
American economist and entrepreneur


Carl J. Schramm is an American economist, entrepreneur, and former President and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private philanthropic foundation. The Economist has named Schramm the "evangelist of entrepreneurship". Schramm stepped down at the end of 2011 after nearly ten years at the helm of Kauffman. The Kansas City Star observed: "Under Schramm's tenure, the foundation laid a geographically bigger entrepreneurship footprint, launching Global Entrepreneurship Week and becoming the nation's leading funder for entrepreneurship research." 

When Schramm came to the Kauffman Foundation, most of its grant-making went to local nonprofits, but he was recruited to make Kauffman a national and global institution. Schramm also made the Kauffman Foundation a pioneer in education—it became the first grant-making foundation to own and operate its own charter school.

A 1968 graduate of Le Moyne College with a B.S. in Economics, Schramm earned his M.S. (1969) and Ph.D. (1973) in economics at the University of Wisconsin, and also a law degree at Georgetown University Law Center (1978). He was a Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellow and New York State Regents Graduate Fellow while at Wisconsin. Schramm began his career as staff economist at the National Commission on State Workmen’s Compensation Laws in Washington, D.C. He later served as Special Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Policy at the US Department of Labor and Staff Economist to U.S. Senate Committee on Human Resources. In addition to serving as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow at the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, Schramm received two consecutive Career Scientist Awards from the U.S. Public Health Service. He co-authored one of the first academic articles on hospital rate regulation, "Hospital Cost Inflation Under State Rate Setting Programs", in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Schramm taught for fifteen years at Johns Hopkins University, becoming an associate professor of health policy and management. While there, he founded the Johns Hopkins Center for Hospital Finance and Management (HCFIA), leading it from 1980 to 1987 and overseeing a postdoctoral program, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Faculty Fellowships in Health Care Finance. During this time, Schramm also served as Commissioner and Chairman of the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission, assuming the economist's seat upon the retirement of Mancur Olson. After leaving the Kauffman Foundation, Schramm returned to teaching in August, 2012, after being appointed University Professor at Syracuse University. He teaches classes in entrepreneurship at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies.

After co-founding HCIA, an aggregator of hospital data, Schramm became president of the Health Insurance Association of America (today called America's Health Insurance Plans). He also served as executive vice president of Fortis (formerly Time Insurance Company, now Assurant) and as president of its health insurance operations. While there, he developed several innovations, including transition coverage for recent college graduates. He also founded Greenspring Advisors, a consulting and merchant banking firm in the health information and risk management industries.