Compassion President Retiring

A big change that is on Compassions horizon. After 35 years with Compassion, 20 of them as president, I plan to retire within the next couple of years. I wont retire from my calling of speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8), but its time for the next generation to take the helm of this amazing ministry.

From the Heart of the President, Wess Stafford

In Good Hands

Compassion President Retiring

You’re in good hands. This popular ad slogan was created a half-century ago to embody a company’s ongoing commitment to providing its customers with quality products, service and peace of mind.

As Compassion donors, you have given us a sacred trust to care for 1.3 million children on your behalf. We take that responsibility seriously. “From the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48). Our goal is to exceed expectations and surpass ever-higher standards of excellence and accountability because, in our business, the outcomes are eternal. We want you to have confidence that your resources, and your sponsored child, are in good hands with us.

But you don’t have to take just my word for it:

  • Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, has given Compassion its four-star (highest) rating for 11 years in a row. That places Compassion in the top 1 percent of trustworthy nonprofit organizations.
  • The NonProfit Times lists the 100 largest nonprofit organizations every year. At Compassion’s 50th anniversary in 2002, we finally squeaked onto that list … at number 100! Today as we celebrate our 60th anniversary, we stand at number 33.
  • The number of Compassion beneficiaries has doubled in just the last six years. During the greatest global economic downturn of our lifetime, God has caused this ministry to prosper. 

I share this news to encourage you and to thank you.  This is your ministry. While we work diligently to be worthy of your trust and sacrifice, we know such achievements are the result of God’s blessing and your steadfast support.

But who exactly are “we”? Who are the people of Compassion who combine hearts and efforts to provide your sponsored child with the opportunities to reach his or her God-given potential?

Compassion International’s staff consists of more than 2,500 dedicated, godly people who are passionate about our mission of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name. The majority, nearly all nationals, work in Compassion’s 28 country offices around the world. Almost 900 work at our Global Ministry Center in Colorado Springs.  Together we serve 5,800 local church partners where your sponsored child participates in Compassion’s child development programs.  More than 6,000 sponsors traveled to visit their sponsored children last year. If you are one of them, you witnessed firsthand the spirit and competence of Compassion’s staff — and you know your sponsored child is in good hands.  But again, you don’t have to take only my word for that: Compassion International is one of only 27 organizations worldwide, representing all facets of business, to have recently received the prestigious 2012 Gallup Great Workplace Award.  According to Gallup, this award recognizes Compassion as having “one of the most productive and engaged workforces in the world.”

Tom Rath, who leads Gallup’s Workplace and Leadership consulting practice, said, “Organizations such as Compassion have established a new global standard for engaging people. When compared to the millions of workgroups we have studied around the world, the awardees have worked tirelessly to create an environment that values people. They go far beyond trivial perks to ensure that each employee has an emotional connection to the company’s mission and growth.”

Why do such things matter? Because what Compassion has been called to do is central to God’s kingdom. And high employee engagement correlates to increased productivity, which directly affects the children in poverty whom we serve. I’ve known for years that Compassion’s staff is exceptional — but you might suspect I am a little biased! I’m thrilled for Compassion’s employees to be recognized and validated by a world-class, credible organization like Gallup.  Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds” and give you awards! Uh, no — that they may “glorify your Father in heaven.” We are humbled to receive such affirmation, yet are more gratified that the light of your and our good deeds is rescuing children, changing lives and honoring God.

This also matters because of a big change that is on Compassion’s horizon. After 35 years with Compassion, 20 of them as president, I plan to retire within the next couple of years. I won’t “retire” from my calling of “speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves” (Proverbs 31:8), but it’s time for the next generation to take the helm of this amazing ministry. People can get nervous when changes in organizational leadership occur, but I trust you have glimpsed enough of the quality of Compassion’s staff and practices to be assured that the ministry is indeed in very good hands!

The succession planning process is also in good hands. Compassion is blessed with an outstanding board of directors and an extraordinary global executive leadership team. A professional search process is under way. We covet your prayers for the CEO Search Committee. Please pray for God’s will to prevail each step of the way. I have every confidence that God will bring to this position the person He has already chosen, someone He has uniquely gifted to lead Compassion into its next chapter. How comforting it is to know that this transition rests safely in God’s hands, just as this ministry always has.

We cannot thank you enough for your faithfulness to God, to your sponsored child, and to this ministry. We look forward to Compassion’s light shining even brighter in the future, bringing hope to more of the world’s children, and more glory to our heavenly Father.