The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Elizabeth Schmidt

photo of elizabeth
Professor of Practice, Public Policy


630 Thompson Hall

Elizabeth (Betsy) Schmidt is a professor of practice, specializing in nonprofits, social enterprises, and solutions-based policy analysis. She currently teaches two graduate school courses, Nonprofit Law and Management and Social and Environmental Enterprises, and two undergraduate courses, Making a Difference: Policies and Strategies for Successful Social Change and Catalyzing Change: Creating and Operating a Nonprofit.

Prior to UMass, she was at George Mason University, where she taught nonprofit and social enterprise courses, directed the Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and ran a master’s program in social entrepreneurship. She has also taught at Vermont Law, William and Mary Law, and Marlboro College’s MBA for Sustainability program. In addition to academic positions, Schmidt has practiced law, consulted with nonprofits, and worked directly for nonprofit organizations in legal and management capacities. Among her accomplishments were the creation and development of a data licensing program at GuideStar and a distance learning program at Colonial Williamsburg.

Schmidt writes in the areas of nonprofit governance, accountability, policies, and ethics. She also writes about the legal framework for social enterprises. In addition to several articles, she is the author of Nonprofit Law: The Life Cycle of a Charitable Organization, publishing a third edition in 2021.

She has an undergraduate degree in history from Princeton and a law degree from Stanford University.

Research interests: 

nonprofit law, nonprofit management, social enterprise