Q&A: Rich Stearns of World Vision US on the role of advocacy, faith, persistence in development

Rich Stearns, outgoing World Vision’s president. Photo by: World Vision U.S.

SAN FRANCISCO — On Tuesday, Rich Stearns, the longest serving president of World Vision United States, announced to the staff of the Christian humanitarian organization that he plans to retire.

Formerly the chief executive officer of Parker Brothers Games, a toy and game manufacturer, and Lenox, the brand known for its china, Stearns led the organization through dramatic growth with its annual revenues topping $1 billion.

World Vision US starts the search for a new leader

On Tuesday, Rich Stearns, the longest serving president of the Christian humanitarian organization, announced his intention to retire to staff.

Shortly after the news broke, Devex caught up with Stearns by phone. As the World Vision board works with an executive search firm that specializes in Christian ministries to select a new leader, he will continue to lead the organization based just south of Seattle, Washington. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The announcement of your intention to retire notes that this comes at an important time in the 67 year history of World Vision. The organization just saw its strongest growth in a decade. And the next president is tasked with reaching the goal of helping 30 million children by 2022. How were you able to achieve this kind of growth and what advice do you have for those similarly working to mobilize supporters around ambitious targets?

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    Catherine Cheney

    Catherine Cheney is a Senior Reporter for Devex. She covers the West Coast of the U.S., focusing on the role of technology and innovation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. And she frequently represents Devex as a speaker and moderator. Prior to joining Devex, Catherine earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University, worked as a web producer for POLITICO and reporter for World Politics Review, and helped to launch NationSwell. Catherine has reported from all over the world, and freelanced for outlets including the Atlantic and the Washington Post. She is also the West Coast ambassador for the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit that trains and connects journalists to cover responses to problems.