Richard Stearns, President Emeritus, World Vision U.S.

Richard Stearns

President Emeritus, World Vision U.S.

Expertise: Disaster Recovery, Child Exploitation Issues, Global AIDS, Malaria, U.S. Poverty, Global Health


Since the beginning of his presidency in 1998, Richard Stearns has built a strong leadership team focused on bringing corporate best practices to the non-profit sector. Request an interview Request headshot

Rich has served as president emeritus of World Vision since retiring in 2018 as the longest-serving president in the organization’s history. Beginning in 1998, he brought corporate best practices to World Vision and inspired a culture of outcome-focused management. Donations tripled during his tenure, with revenue reaching $1 billion for the first time. Beyond financial growth, Rich’s legacy is his leadership in moving the church in America to respond to some of the greatest needs of the time, notably the HIV and AIDS pandemic and the global refugee crisis.

A child of working-class parents from Syracuse, New York, Rich holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. His professional career included leadership roles at Gillette, Parker Brothers Games, The Franklin Mint, and Lenox Inc.

During his 20 years at World Vision U.S., Rich logged 3 million air miles, traveling to more than 60 countries. Broadly recognized as a Christian nonprofit thought leader, Rich appeared regularly in media outlets such as Christianity Today, FOX News, CNN, NPR, Charisma News, and Relevant Magazine.

Among the accolades Rich received for his humanitarian service are five honorary doctoral degrees and induction into the Society of World Changers at Indiana Wesleyan University. In 2018 he received the Julia Vadala Taft Outstanding Leadership Award from InterAction and was named Christian Leadership Alliance Consul, the highest honor bestowed by the Christian Leadership Alliance.

Rich is the author of several books, notably the best-selling The Hole in Our Gospel, which was named Christian Book of the Year in 2010. His other works include Unfinished and two books with his wife, Reneé: a children’s Bible storybook titled God’s Love For You and a 90-day devotional, He Walks Among Us. His latest book, Lead Like It Matters to God, was published in 2021 and focuses on Christian leadership.

Rich and Reneé live in Bellevue, Washington. They have five children and eight grandchildren.

“God never asks us to give what we do not have … but He cannot use what we will not give.” —Rich Stearns, from The Hole in Our Gospel

02/09/2022 Relevant Magazine: Richard Stearns: How to Lead with Excellence
12/01/2021 Vimeo: M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust: When You Lose Your Why, You Lose Your Way
(Undated) InterVarsity Press: A Conversation on Christian Leadership with Richard Stearns
06/21/2021 Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast: Rich Stearns on How to Beat Failure in Leadership, the Value of Persistence, and What For-Profit and Non-Profits Can Learn From Each Other
06/02/2021 Outreach Magazine: Richard Stearns: The Case for Values-Driven Leadership
08/24/2018 Christianity Today: Richard Stearns: “Every Day is a Celebration”
05/06/2018 NPR: A Conversation With World Vision President Richard Stearns
05/18/2017 Relevant Magazine: No, Prayer Isn’t Just Another Form of Slacktivism
05/03/2017 HuffPost Religion: In “Star Wars” And The Real World, Good Overcomes Evil When We Get Involved
06/17/2016 HuffPost Religion: The Power Of An Iraqi Father’s Love
03/03/2016 Fox News: As fiscal crisis looms, taxing charitable gifts by the rich will hurt the poor the most
12/02/2015 HuffPost Religion: Love Jesus? Then Care for Refugees
12/01/2015 YouVersion (Bible app): Living for the Kingdom (devotional series)
11/24/2015 The Hill’s Congress Blog: Congress puts thousands of children at risk of abusive labor practices
10/31/2015 Kids Nation Magazine: Teaching children to have a selfless heart
10/21/2015 Christianity Today: Not Just Jobs, Not Just Bibles: The Future of Fighting Extreme Poverty
07/01/2015 Fox News Opinion: Why Syria needs an earthquake: Because Americans are ignoring the greatest humanitarian crisis in decades
06/19/2015 HuffPost Religion: The World’s Poorest Country Has No Borders
03/10/2015 YouVersion (Bible reading plans): He Walks Among Us: Devotions by Rich & Renee Stearns
01/06/2015 CNN: The hardest 40 days: Winter is next threat to Iraqi and Syrian refugees
09/29/2014 Focus on the Family Broadcast: A Vision of Christ Among the World’s Poor, Part 1 and Part 2
09/25/2014 Plough Magazine: Plugging the Hole in Our Gospel: An Interview
09/16/2014 The Christian Post: World Vision Leader to Churches: Fixing Poverty
Isn’t Simple, Stop Trying to Fix It With 8th Grade Youth Groups
09/11/2014 The Christian Post: What to Do When the World Is a Mess
08/04/2014 HuffPost Religion: Holy Toledo! No Clean Water
08/04/2014 Time Magazine: Faith Leaders on Kids at the Border: Give Us the Children
07/18/2014 HuffPost Religion: Opening Our Hearts to the Little Children
10/25/2013 HuffPost Religion: Why We Don’t Care About Syria
07/14/2013 Outreach Magazine: Rich Stearns: Are We Radical Enough?
04/15/2013 Vimeo: Q Ideas: The Gospel as a Virus
04/02/2013 HuffPost Religion: For World’s Billionaires, Ending Extreme Poverty Is Cheap
03/19/2013 The Hill: World Vision US President Richard Stearns: A moral view of trimming the budget
11/06/2012 Huffpost Religion: Goodbye, Christian America; Hello, True Christianity
08/29/2012 Huffpost Religion: Crossing the Boundaries of Faith to Fight Poverty
06/14/2012 HuffPost Parents: Why Every Day Must Be Father’s Day (with Roland Warren)
11/11/2011 WSJ Opinion: Evangelicals and the Case for Foreign Aid
03/05/2010 PBS: Humanitarian Challenges in Chile and Haiti