MacArthur Fellows Program

William Drayton

Public Service Innovator | Class of November 1984

Public Service Innovator
Arlington, Virginia
41 at time of award
Published November 1, 1984

About William's Work

William Drayton is a social entrepreneur and public service innovator.

In 1978, Drayton founded Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, a global association of leading public entrepreneurs that seeks out and helps launch practical, society-wide solutions to critical public needs in the environment, health, education, the law, human rights, and economic development.  Ashoka also provides long-term professional and financial “venture” support to the creative and pragmatic social innovators behind these ideas. Drayton has initiated a number of other voluntary, public service organizations, including Yale Legislative Services and Save EPA.


Drayton is the Chair and CEO of Ashoka in Arlington, Virginia.  He also serves as chair of Youth Venture, Social Entrepreneur Associates, and Get America Working!  He served as assistant administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1977-81), and has taught at Stanford University’s Law School and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Drayton received a B.A. (1965) from Harvard University, an M.A. (1967) from the University of Oxford, and a J.D. (1970) from the Yale University Law School.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

Select News Coverage of William Drayton
More Fellows

View All 1984 Fellows

Stay Informed
Sign up for periodic news updates and event invitations.

Connect with us on social media or view all of our social media content in one place.

The privacy of your data is important to us. We've updated our privacy policies in response to General Data Protection Regulation.