Co-Founders

Institute Leadership

The Institute is distinguished by the practical experience and credentials of its co-founders, Alex J. Plinio and James Abruzzo. Together, Messrs. Plinio and Abruzzo possess over seventy years of experience that spans domestic and international nonprofit management and consulting, higher education, research, large corporate and foundation leadership, and the start-up of several nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. Both have many years of board service and track records of expanding the reach of their respective businesses and activities. Mr. Plinio developed and headed a major corporate foundation that was instrumental in the redevelopment of the city of Newark and led the turnaround of one of the world’s largest international volunteer based organizations. Mr. Abruzzo, through ongoing consulting, has participated in the growth of numerous nonprofits in Newark and throughout the United States, and placed scores of executives in leadership positions.

The Institute for Ethical Leadership’s programs reflect the practical knowledge, experience, entrepreneurial spirit and social conscience of its founders.

Alex J. Plinio, Former President/CEO of AFS-USA, the largest nonprofit international and intercultural student exchange program in the United States, previously held senior executive positions at Prudential Financial in the areas of insurance, investments, financial services and public affairs. His business experience includes executive positions in marketing, operations and administration, change management and start-ups. He was head of Prudential Annuity Services, a billion dollar revenue retirement products business.  He also led the startup and served as President of The Prudential Foundation. 

Mr. Plinio has founded and served on the boards of many organizations devoted to community and economic development, youth, education and the arts.

Mr. Plinio has presented before numerous and diverse audiences including the Conference Board, US Council of Mayors, business and professional groups among others. He was honored by Thomas Edison State College with the Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, for his distinguished record of state and national service.

He currently serves on the faculty of Rutgers Business School, the Advisory Editorial Board for the International Journal of Disclosure and Governance and is the Managing Director and President of a consulting practice, Alex J. Plinio & Associates LLC. His publications include Resource Raising: The Role of Non Cash Contributions in Corporate Philanthropy; he was a regular columnist for Fundraising Management Magazine and he is a recipient of the Private Sector Initiatives Award from the President of the United States and the Rutgers Outstanding Alumnus Award.

James Abruzzo, is an internationally recognized nonprofit and management consultant, researcher and educator. Formerly Managing Director of the Nonprofit Practice at AT Kearney, he currently serves as Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the Nonprofit Practice of DHR International. As a management consultant, he has provided ongoing strategic advice to many national and international nonprofit organizations and to local organizations.  He manages a large consulting group of professionals who work with clients including New York City Ballet, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the George Eastman House, the Apollo Theater in Harlem, the National Museums of Science and Industry in London and other clients in Germany and France.

He is on the faculty of Rutgers Business School and additionally, Mr. Abruzzo serves on the faculty of the Department of Economics, University of Bologna and is a frequent guest lecturer at the Freie Universität of Berlin. The author of Jobs in Arts and Media Management, Mr. Abruzzo has served on many nonprofit boards, including the Board of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Foundation and Dieu Donné Papermill, Inc.