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

Richard Stearns currently serves as President Emeritus for World Vision U.S. after retiring at the end of 2018. Since the beginning of his presidency in 1998, Stearns built a strong leadership team focused on bringing corporate best practices to the non-profit sector. Donations tripled during his first decade as president, making World Vision U.S. a billion-dollar organization.

Stearns is the second of two children of working-class parents in Syracuse, New York. He worked his way through Cornell University, earning a bachelor’s degree in neurobiology in 1973. After receiving a master’s degree in business administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Stearns began a career in marketing for several Fortune 500 companies, beginning with the Gillette Company.

From 1977 to 1985, Stearns held various roles with Parker Brothers Games, culminating in his appointment as president in 1984. He joined Lenox, the American gift and tableware company, in 1987 as division president. He was named president and CEO of Lenox Inc., in 1995, overseeing six manufacturing facilities, 4,000 employees, and $500 million in annual sales.

Stearns is the author of several books, including the best-selling, award-winning The Hole in Our Gospel. He also wrote Unfinished, as well as two books with his wife, Reneé – a children’s Bible storybook, God’s Love For You, and a 90-day devotional, He Walks Among Us. His recently published book, Lead Like It Matters to God, focuses on Christian leadership.

Stearns has traveled to more than 40 of the nearly 100 countries where World Vision works. He and his wife, Reneé, have been World Vision donors since 1984. A lawyer by training, Mrs. Stearns also travels and speaks on behalf of World Vision. The couple has five children and six grandchildren.

Stearns, who retired at the end of 2018, was the longest-serving president of World Vision, with a tenure of 20 years. He now serves as President Emeritus. 

5/18/2017 Relevant Magazine: No, Prayer Isn’t Just Another Form of Slacktivism


5/3/2017 Huffington Post Religion: In “Star Wars” And The Real World, Good Overcomes Evil When We Get Involved


6/19/2016 Huffington Post Religion: The Power Of An Iraqi Father’s Love


12/02/2015 Huffington Post Religion: Love Jesus? Then care for refugees


12/01/2015 Christianity Today. Love the refugee with the compassion Christ has shown you


12/01/2015 YouVersion (Bible app): Living for the Kingdom (devotional series)


11/30/2015 Fox Business: Varney & Co. Helping the Syrian refugees until they can return home


11/24/2015 The Hill’s Congress Blog: Congress puts thousands of children at risk of abusive labor practices


11/01/2015 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


09/01/2015 Q-Ideas: What I learned from a Syrian refugee


06/19/2015 Huffington Post Religion: The world’s poorest country has no borders


04/23/2015 Fox News Opinion: Why Syria needs an earthquake – Because Americans are ignoring the greatest humanitarian crisis in decades


03/10/2015 YouVersion (Bible reading plans): He walks among us: Devotions by Rich & Renee Stearns


02/16/2015 QIdeas: Understanding the headlines


02/01/2015 Fundraising Success Magazine: Good leaders know people — including oneself
01/12/2015 OnFaith: What headlines don’t tell you about the Middle East
01/06/2015 CNN: The hardest 40 days: Winter is next threat to Iraqi and Syrian refugees
09/29/2014 Focus on the Family Radio: 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 with Richard Stearns
09/16/2014 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 Christian Post: What to do when the world is a mess
08/04/2014 Huffington Post Religion: Holy Toledo! No clean water
08/04/2014 Time Magazine: Faith leaders on kids at the border: Give us the children
07/31/2014 OnFaith: The solution to the Central American refugee problem is a thriving Central America
07/18/2014 Huffington Post Religion: Opening our hearts to the little children
10/25/2013 Huffington Post Religion: Why we don’t care about Syria
10/22/2013 The Christian Post: Stump-pulling for the Gospel (an interview with World Vision President, Richard Stearns)
10/16/2013 CrossMap: World Vision CEO Rich Stearns and wife, Renee share true stories of God’s love for people worldwide in two new books
10/04/2013 Relevant Magazine: Rich Stearns discusses ‘Unfinished’ (podcast)
07/14/2013 Outreach Magazine: Rich Stearns: Are we radical enough?
06/09/2013 Life Is Story: Unfinished — Richard Stearns
06/09/2013 Faith Village: Unfinished | Richard Stearns [book review]
04/02/2013 Huffington Post Religion: For world’s billionaires, ending extreme poverty is cheap
03/19/2013 The Hill: World Vision President Richard Stearns: A moral view of trimming the budget
12/27/2012 Fox News: As fiscal crisis looms, taxing charitable gifts by the rich will hurt the poor the most
11/06/2012 Huffington Post Religion: Goodbye, Christian America; Hello, true Christianity
08/29/2012 Huffington Post Religion: Crossing the boundaries of faith to fight poverty
06/14/2012 Huffington Post Parents: Why every day must be Father’s Day (with Roland Warren)
12/05/2011 USA Today: Religious leaders share memorable gifts
11/11/2011 Wall Street Journal op/ed: Evangelicals and the case for foreign aid
03/05/2010 PBS: Humanitarian challenges in Chile and Haiti