Meet The Team
President & CEO
John Robbins is a dedicated nonprofit professional committed to achieving scalable and sustainable impact. 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.
Prior to founding CAIR-Massachusetts, John was an academic, earning a Ph.D. in English Literature from Cornell University and holding postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania and Tufts University. He formerly sat on the board of Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries, Massachusetts’ oldest interfaith social justice organization.