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