Peter V. Berns, CEO
Peter V. Berns is a nationally recognized nonprofit sector leader and public interest lawyer. He is the Chief Executive Officer of The Arc, the world’s largest community-based organization of and for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Berns has been at the helm of The Arc since July, 2008. Under his leadership, the organization has charted an ambitious course of progress, innovation and change with the development of a Strategic Framework for the Future of The Arc.
As the leading provider of vital services and support for families and individuals, The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes. The Arc works daily on behalf of the more than 7 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the United States, including about 1 million individuals and family members who are directly served by state and local chapters across the nation.
Before joining The Arc, Berns was the Executive Director of the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations, a post he held for 16 years. In that capacity, he built the Association from a start-up to a position of prominence in the nonprofit community, nationally, with nearly 2,000 members of all sizes, all sectors and from all regions of the state. In addition, he served as Chief Executive Officer of the Standards for Excellence Institute since its inception in 2004.
Berns came to The Arc with a track record of success in the areas of nonprofit management, governmental relations and advocacy. As a public policy advocate, he was critical to reforming state and federal Medicaid regulations improving life for persons with disabilities and their families. He was named to the Nonprofit Times Power and Influence Top 50 list in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, and again in 2015.
His previously held positions include Deputy Chief of Consumer Protection in the Maryland Attorney General’s Office as well as Assistant Attorney General and, earlier in his career, Staff Attorney/Fellow at the Institute for Public Representation at the Georgetown University Law Center.
In May 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Berns to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, which will provide advice and assistance to President Obama and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on a broad range of topics that impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
Berns received his JD, cum laude, from Harvard Law School and he has an LLM in advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center. He received his BA in psychology, magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania.
He and his wife, Melissa Zieve, reside in Baltimore, MD with their four children.