[Episcopal Relief & Development press release] The Right Reverend Michael B. Curry, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, has been appointed as Chair of Episcopal Relief & Development’s Board of Directors. The appointment was made by the board’s Honorary Chair, The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church.
Bishop Curry succeeds The Right Reverend Robert J. O’Neill, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, who has served since 2009.
“Bishop Curry will bring vigor, passion, and insight to his work,” said Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori. “I give thanks for his willingness to serve in this way, and pray that his ministry may help to bless the world with healing.”
A key leader in The Episcopal Church and a prophetic voice for social justice, Bishop Curry joined Episcopal Relief & Development’s board in 2013. Prior to his consecration as Bishop of North Carolina in 2000, he served parishes in North Carolina, Ohio and Maryland, implementing social development programs that improved the lives of children and youth in inner-city neighborhoods. As bishop, in addition to championing Episcopal Relief & Development at the diocesan and Church levels, Bishop Curry plays an important role on the Task Force for Reimagining The Episcopal Church (TREC).
“Serving as Chair of Episcopal Relief & Development’s Board of Directors is a privilege and a responsibility that I take very seriously,” Bishop Curry said. “I am grateful for the leadership of Bishop O’Neill in the growth, professionalization and demonstration of expertise that has solidified the organization’s standing as a global leader in development – and as something of which all Episcopalians can be incredibly proud! I believe that the work of Episcopal Relief & Development is one of the finest and most important things we do as followers of Jesus in The Episcopal Church. It really is a way we can all together share in God’s work of helping and healing a hurting world.”
In support of Episcopal Relief & Development, Bishop Curry notably co-chaired the Advisory Committee of the church-wide NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund and spearheaded diocesan efforts in support of the campaign. Altogether, the NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund raised $5 million over three years to grow the award-winning, flagship malaria prevention program, which to date has distributed over 11 million nets and saved the lives of more than 100,000 children under age five.
“I am delighted by Bishop Curry’s appointment to chair Episcopal Relief & Development’s Board of Directors,” said Bishop O’Neill. “I am grateful to Episcopal Relief & Development’s staff and partners for their courageous work on behalf of communities worldwide, and I look forward to seeing what creative and deeper engagement will flourish under Bishop Curry’s leadership.”
Bishop O’Neill finishes his board term at the end of 2014 after eight years, including six as chair. Under his leadership, the organization has developed and expanded through two transformative strategic plans – broadening the scope of NetsforLife®, strengthening Church capacity to respond to emergencies through the US Disaster Program and increasing focus on robust monitoring and evaluation practices. This organizational growth has enabled Episcopal Relief & Development to secure significant grants from leading foundations, including the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and a Grand Challenges Explorations Grant funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“In addition to taking Episcopal Relief & Development to the next level as an organization and further professionalizing our operations, Bishop O’Neill has also been an invaluable mentor to me in my role as President,” said Rob Radtke, President of Episcopal Relief & Development. “He has created a tremendous legacy, and I very much look forward to working with Bishop Curry to build on our organizational successes, reaching more people and saving more lives through our partnerships worldwide.”
Bishop Curry assumes Board leadership at an exciting time in the organization’s history, as it celebrates 75 years of healing a hurting world. The 75th Anniversary Celebration brings together Episcopalians and friends to commemorate and engage more deeply with its work. This celebration has been made possible by contributions from leaders across The Episcopal Church, notably outgoing Chair Bishop O’Neill.
“Bishop O’Neill has served faithfully and creatively as a member and as Chair of the Board,” said Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori. “His experience and his persistent energy have given important impetus to the 75th Anniversary we celebrate this year. He will be missed, and as we give thanks for his service, we pray that his gifts will be offered in new ways in the years ahead. Well done, good and faithful servant!”