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Richard Stearns
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Richard Stearns is President of World Vision.

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, starting 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.

Since joining World Vision U.S. in 1998, Stearns also has participated in the larger World Vision partnership, leading efforts to refine the organization’s business practices and advocating for global impact standards to evaluate program effectiveness.

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.

Entries by Richard Stearns

The Power Of An Iraqi Father's Love

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2016 | 7:08 PM

2016-06-17-1466203760-3773351-DSC_9870.jpg @2016 World Vision/Kari Costanza

When I visit poor communities around the world, it's usually the mothers I see. They're doing the tough, hands-on work, ticking off a daily to-do list to care for their children despite difficult conditions. Often the men...

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The Closing of the American Heart

(2) Comments | Posted June 2, 2016 | 1:45 PM


A few weeks back, my wife, Reneé, was sorting through family photos, and I found one of myself from the 1980s. And then I looked in a mirror. Have you ever had that experience? The contrast was jarring because the changes had happened...

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Love Jesus? Then Care for Refugees

(14) Comments | Posted December 2, 2015 | 7:01 PM

Are some lives more important than others? That's the question many are asking after seeing how the attention Westerns paid to Paris far outweighed the concern shown to the victims of bombings in Beirut just a couple days earlier. It's also the fundamental question behind fears over letting Syrian refugees...

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My Prayer for Clean Water

(1) Comments | Posted October 7, 2015 | 7:06 PM

The United Nations has just ratified 17 goals for global development, with goal number one being to end extreme poverty for the first time in human history by 2030. To reach it, however the world will have to check off a few other goals along the way -- each one...

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The Jesus We Love

(95) Comments | Posted August 19, 2015 | 4:58 PM

Jesus is becoming less and less a figure to whom people commit their lives. A Barna survey earlier this year found that while 65 percent of Boomers made a personal commitment to Jesus, only 46 percent of Millennials had. They are also 10 percent less likely to believe...

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The World's Poorest Country Has No Borders

(0) Comments | Posted June 19, 2015 | 9:21 PM

At age 60 Jameel became a citizen of the world's poorest nation, when he, along with his wife and family of four children, fled last fall from Iraq. Extremists threatened to kill the family and others in their village because of their Christian faith, so they fled to neighboring Jordan...

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Leaving the Faith Because of the Faithful

(284) Comments | Posted June 17, 2015 | 5:14 PM

A study by the Pew Research Center recently found that no religion has as many defectors as Christianity. By 2050, an estimated 66 million people who define themselves as Christian are expected to leave the faith. Most of them are joining the religiously unaffiliated, the fastest-growing religious category,...

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The Most Important Women's Issue You've Never Heard of

(14) Comments | Posted March 22, 2015 | 10:08 AM

Imagine having an extra four hours to your day. That's four more hours to unwind, read to your kids, go for a jog, try out a new recipe or earn extra money for your family. And imagine you were given that extra time every day for the rest of your...

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Faith's Paradox: Lose Your Soul to Find it

(1) Comments | Posted October 13, 2014 | 11:47 AM

Here's one of the great paradoxes of the human race: People who have almost no material possessions -- the world's extreme poor -- can be among the wealthiest in life.

I've observed this over and over again in some of the poorest communities on Earth. I have met women...

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Holy Toledo! No Clean Water

(0) Comments | Posted August 4, 2014 | 11:44 PM

When a half-million people are forced to go without tap water for a weekend, it's a big deal. The Ohio governor announced a state of emergency. The National Guard was sent in. The national news media crowded in to hear officials give regular press conferences and to hear ordinary citizens...

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Opening Our Hearts to the Little Children

(0) Comments | Posted July 18, 2014 | 3:41 PM

"Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'" -Matthew 19:13-14...

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Safe Havens for Extreme Poverty

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2014 | 5:50 PM

In one more year the world will celebrate the conclusion of the Millennium Development Goals, marking significant strides made against poverty. "Stupid poverty"--as Bono calls it--is retreating thanks to the concerted efforts of the UN, governments around the world, humanitarian organizations, Christian and other faith-based organizations, and positive efforts by...

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#GivingTuesday Keeps the Focus on What Matters This Holiday Season

(2) Comments | Posted November 26, 2013 | 10:26 AM

Everyone complains about the weather, Mark Twain reportedly said, but nobody ever does anything about it. The same could be said about the Christmas season. Everyone complains about the busyness and commercialization of these faith and family holidays, but still we storm the automatic doors of the shopping mall in...

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Why We Don't Care About Syria

(67) Comments | Posted October 25, 2013 | 10:51 PM

"We fear you are forgetting us." This is what Haya, a 10-year-old Syrian refugee who lost her father, told me last week. I was visiting refugees in the Jordanian city of Irbid and spent time with a group of children attending a school supported by World Vision.

Children have...

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Why the Millennium Development Goals Need the Church (and Vice Versa)

(224) Comments | Posted September 29, 2013 | 10:25 AM

Here's an odd fact about many Christians that I struggle to wrap my head around. Christians care intensely about ending poverty, yet too many care little or are completely unaware of history's most significant--and perhaps successful--efforts to end global poverty.

Over the twenty years from 1990 to 2010, the...

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For World's Billionaires, Ending Extreme Poverty Is Cheap

(49) Comments | Posted April 2, 2013 | 9:50 AM

The richest of the world's richest just got richer. In the last year, the world's billionaires added $800 billion dollars to their wealth. According to the latest issue of Forbes, when all the money is counted, the 1,426 billionaires have a combined net worth of $5.4 trillion. That means...

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Living as an Authentic Christian in a Non-Christian World

(910) Comments | Posted November 25, 2012 | 4:14 AM

After the election, I published an article in this space that struck a chord with many Christians. I suggested that engaging in a bitter 'culture war' in order to preserve America's formerly dominant Christian culture has been largely a failed strategy. We cannot win in the courts and...

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Goodbye, Christian America; Hello, True Christianity

(777) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 11:17 AM

The day I became a Christian, one of the first people I wanted to tell was my mother. I had considered myself an atheist while I studied neurobiology in college. But as I studied more, I discovered Jesus and became a Christian. It was the early 1970s, and my mother's...

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Crossing the Boundaries of Faith to Fight Poverty

(3) Comments | Posted August 29, 2012 | 5:31 PM

Conflicts between religious and secular organizations have filled the news this year. From political ads to boycotts, religious viewpoints seem to be in opposition to secular positions. On both sides, the attitude can be one of mutual suspicion, with neither side willing to work toward common values or to seek...

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Why Every Day Must Be Father's Day

(0) Comments | Posted June 14, 2012 | 6:21 PM

Where's the outrage about dads? Over the last year -- climaxing this Mother's Day -- pundits and talking heads have been arguing about Tiger Moms, breastfeeding moms, working moms, stay at home moms, and the so-called war on women. The importance of mothers cannot be understated. But make no mistake...

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