Dr. John Robbins

Adjunct Faculty
60 Willow Street Chelsea, MA 02150


  • Ph.D., English Language and Literature, Cornell University
  • B.A., English Literature, Swarthmore College

Dr. John Robins

Adjunct Faculty


Dr. John Robbins is a dedicated and experienced community organizer, nonprofit leader, and public intellectual. He holds a Ph.D. in English language from Cornell University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Tufts University.

A dedicated educator, he has taught algebra to high-risk youth at a public high school in Maryland, English to refugee and orphan children in Turkey, and literature at Cornell and Tufts Universities. His writings have appeared in numerous outlets, including Fortune, Time, Muslim Matters, the Hill, the Jewish Journal, the Boston Globe, and the Boston Herald, and he is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.

He joined Penny Appeal USA as its second CEO in 2021.  Previously, he was the founder and Executive Director of the Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. 

During his tenure, he oversaw an average organizational growth of at least 20% year-over-year, raised over $3,000,000 in funding from grassroots donors and foundations, built up strong legal, government affairs, and youth advocacy departments, and organized the largest rally by a Muslim organization in US history against the Muslim Ban Executive Order.  In recognition of its achievements, the organization was named CAIR Chapter of the Year in 2017.

Concurrently, John serves as the Social Impact Advisor for the Harvard Innovation Labs at the Harvard Business School, where he mentors impact-first ventures on fundraising strategies, product-market fit, demand validation, and sustainable scaling models. He also sat on the board of Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries, Massachusetts’ oldest interfaith social justice organization.