Dr. Ganz entered Harvard College in the fall of 1960, but left a year before graduating to volunteer with the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project. He found his calling as an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and, in the fall of 1965, joined Cesar Chavez in his effort to unionize California farm workers. During his 16 years with the United Farm Workers, he gained experience in union, political, and community organizing, became director of organizing, and was elected to the national executive board.
During the 1980s, he worked with grassroots groups to develop new organizing programs and designed innovative voter mobilization strategies for local, state, and national electoral campaigns. In 1991, he returned to Harvard College and completed his undergraduate degree in history and government. He was awarded an MPA by the Kennedy School in 1993 and completed his PhD in sociology in 2000.
As senior lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government, he teaches, researches, and writes on leadership, organization, and strategy in social movements, civic associations, and politics. He's been published in the American Journal of Sociology, American Political Science Review, American Prospect, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. His book, Why David Sometimes Wins: Leadership, Organization and Strategy in the California Farm Worker Movement, won the Michael J. Harrington Book Award of the American Political Science Association.
He was awarded an honorary doctorate in divinity by the Episcopal Divinity School in 2010.