When Schramm came to the Kauffman Foundation, most of its grant-making went to local nonprofits, but he was recruited to make Kauffman a national and global institution. Schramm also made the Kauffman Foundation a pioneer in education—it became the first grant-making foundation to own and operate its own charter school.
A 1968 graduate of Le Moyne College with a B.S. in Economics, Schramm earned his M.S. (1969) and Ph.D. (1973) in economics at the University of Wisconsin, and also a law degree at Georgetown University Law Center (1978). He was a Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellow and New York State Regents Graduate Fellow while at Wisconsin. Schramm began his career as staff economist at the National Commission on State Workmen’s Compensation Laws in Washington, D.C. He later served as Special Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Policy at the US Department of Labor and Staff Economist to U.S. Senate Committee on Human Resources. In addition to serving as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow at the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, Schramm received two consecutive Career Scientist Awards from the U.S. Public Health Service. He co-authored one of the first academic articles on hospital rate regulation, "Hospital Cost Inflation Under State Rate Setting Programs", in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Schramm taught for fifteen years at Johns Hopkins University, becoming an associate professor of health policy and management. While there, he founded the Johns Hopkins Center for Hospital Finance and Management (HCFIA), leading it from 1980 to 1987 and overseeing a postdoctoral program, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Faculty Fellowships in Health Care Finance. During this time, Schramm also served as Commissioner and Chairman of the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission, assuming the economist's seat upon the retirement of Mancur Olson. After leaving the Kauffman Foundation, Schramm returned to teaching in August, 2012, after being appointed University Professor at Syracuse University. He teaches classes in entrepreneurship at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies.
After co-founding HCIA, an aggregator of hospital data, Schramm became president of the Health Insurance Association of America (today called America's Health Insurance Plans). He also served as executive vice president of Fortis (formerly Time Insurance Company, now Assurant) and as president of its health insurance operations. While there, he developed several innovations, including transition coverage for recent college graduates. He also founded Greenspring Advisors, a consulting and merchant banking firm in the health information and risk management industries. He is a founding member and a Board Member of the International IP Commercialization Council (IIPCC.org), a global NPO NGO.
In 2002, Schramm was recruited to head the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Under his leadership, the Kauffman Foundation has developed innovative programs that expose students to the power of entrepreneurship, open new pathways to effectively move university innovations into the marketplace, create better-qualified angel investors as a critical source of seed capital for entrepreneurs, and engage economists of the highest caliber to study the impact of entrepreneurship. Schramm has been instrumental in the development of a partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce to create an international entrepreneurship resource at www.entrepreneurship.gov and also spearheaded the Foundation’s sponsorship of the first-ever Global Entrepreneurship Week, which he announced in November 2007 with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Schramm has also led Kauffman in the development of an international fellowship program (Kauffman Global Scholars Program), which is funded by other governments, including the United Kingdom and Denmark, for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Schramm received the George Eastman Medal from the University of Rochester in 2005. In 2007, Schramm chaired the Secretary of Commerce's Measuring Innovation in the 21st Century Economy Advisory Committee, which produced the report, "Innovation Measurement: Tracking the State of Innovation in the American Economy." On May 17, 2009, Schramm gave the Commencement address at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
A prolific writer and speaker, Schramm has authored or coauthored scores of articles, testified before Congress on numerous occasions, and speaks frequently on entrepreneurship, innovation, and the economic future. He introduced the field of "expeditionary economics" in a 2010 essay in Foreign Affairs. His 2004 Foreign Affairs article, "Building Entrepreneurial Economies", is one of the journal's most requested reprints. Schramm is the author of The Entrepreneurial Imperative, co-author of Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism, and editor of the American Assembly's Health Care and Its Costs. His other work has appeared in many academic journals, as well as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Newsweek. The National Chamber Foundation named Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism one of the "Top Ten Books That Drive the Debate" in 2008.