Wednesday, November 4, 2009

President of World Vision's U.S. offices to present Nov. 14 lecture at Whitworth



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WHAT: A lecture, "The Hole in Our Gospel," by Richard Stearns

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Seeley Mudd Chapel at Whitworth University

COST: Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-4263.

Richard Stearns is president of the U.S. offices of Federal Way, Wash.-based World Vision, an international Christian humanitarian charity organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to help tackle the causes of poverty and injustice. Since Stearns joined the organization in 1998, donations have nearly tripled from $358 million in 1998 to more than $1 billion in 2008, and overhead has decreased by nearly one-third.

As one of his first initiatives as president, Stearns called for focused efforts on increasing awareness of and funding for AIDS programs. His leadership in this area is even more significant given that at the time, the organization's research found that donors had little interest in helping to stop the spread of the disease; donors actually were less interested in helping children orphaned by AIDS than in aiding other disadvantaged children.

Stearns' lecture at Whitworth will be based on his book of the same name, which was published by Thomas Nelson earlier this year. The Hole in Our Gospel follows Stearns' journey from corporate CEO to advocate for those held captive by poverty and injustice, and challenges readers to view the gospel as more than a private transaction between God and individual Christians.

World Vision has more than 1,200 employees in the U.S. and partners with corporations, government agencies, foundations, churches and more than a million donors. It is the largest member of the global World Vision Partnership, which last year reached an estimated 100 million people in nearly 100 countries worldwide.

This year, Stearns was appointed to President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. A native of Syracuse, N.Y., he received a B.A. in neurobiology from Cornell University and a master's degree in business administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He has received honorary doctorates from Eastern University and Azusa Pacific University. He launched his career in marketing for several Fortune 500 companies, starting with the Gillette Company. Prior to joining World Vision, he had served as president of Parker Brothers Games and as president and CEO of Lenox Inc.

Stearns' lecture is being sponsored by the Speakers & Artists Series and the Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Julie Shanholtzer, program assistant, Speakers & Artists Series and psychology department, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4263 or jshanholtzer@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.