Rev. John L. McCullough
President and CEO of global humanitarian agency Church World Service
For 69 years CWS has worked to end hunger and poverty among the world’s most vulnerable. The agency responds to disasters; helps people recover and rebuild in ways that reduce the impacts of future disasters; supports sustainable food security and economic development programs; provides refugee assistance and immigration services; and advocates for social justice on national and international fronts.
Finding the bold voice is at the very heart of CWS’s work. Says McCullough, “Whether the challenge is chronic or in crisis, we dedicate ourselves to working with affected people to hear their needs, then help them access the necessary resources to address those needs and build a foundation for their future.”
McCullough has led CWS in advocacy aimed at urging the U.S. government to lift the decades-old embargo on Cuba and to normalize relations with the island nation, engaging leaders both in the United States and in Havana. Just weeks before the White House announcement of a new diplomatic agreement between the U. S. and Cuba, McCullough led a delegation of U.S. faith-based advocates to Cuba in an effort to pursue the release of American Alan Gross, detained in Cuba for five years and the release of members of the “Cuban 5,” arrested in 1998 and detained in the U.S. Gross and the remaining three "Cuban 5" detainees were released in December 2015 as part of the diplomatic agreement.
McCullough and CWS also have been outspoken in support of comprehensive immigration reform. Since 2005, McCullough has joined forces with some of the nation’s most diverse and high profile immigration advocates to speak out for just reform that creates a path to citizenship and ensures family unity for America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. He was among leading advocates cited by media nationally in the February 19, 2013 national tele-press conference announcing the U.S. Alliance for Citizenship roadmap to citizenship campaign.
Having served as a member of the White House Task Force on Global Poverty and Development, McCullough visited the White House in 2013 with an ecumenical delegation to address key international concerns.
A graduate of the Boston University School of Theology, McCullough was honored with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003. In 2012, he received the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church Ecumenical Award. He is an ordained minister in The United Methodist Church and has served pastorates in the United States and Kenya and held leadership positions at the denomination’s global mission agency before joining CWS in 2000.
McCullough continues to challenge CWS to “dramatically expand its capacity and impact in the fight to end hunger” in this decade, through working with “the grassroots – which is precisely what CWS has emphasized throughout its history.”