Our Story & Impact

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
— Mahatma Gandhi

How We Work

Nearly 30 years ago, an American professor and pastor helped a small group of church leaders in Kenya find Bibles and training materials for their ministry. He quickly realized the sustainable impact further education could make for this group of leaders. He then found the need extended far beyond Kenya’s borders.

Our experience has made us appreciate that passionate, strong, local leaders carry the weight of more than teaching values and spiritual formation. Buried under the weight of extreme poverty, war, famine, and disease, community leaders were left asking "How do I lead?" and "How can I help?" Often, they are shouldering the emotional wellbeing of the community. They are looked to for answers regarding economic and health concerns in their villages. The role of the community leader in Africa carries almost crushing responsibilities for those who take up this work.


“We now have the resources we need to change lives.”

Spread The Word has distributed nearly 17,000 Bibles to local leaders in Africa.


Equipping & Training 70,000 Leaders

So, for us, it’s become imperative to offer these leaders a two-year educational pursuit focused on values, civic leadership, and collective development. In an effort to ensure that these passionate, local leaders can spark tangible change within their communities, African Leadership works to equip them for the range of complex issues they face.

Now in 11 countries and with over 70,000 graduates, African Leadership works through local Country Directors, backed by local boards of directors, locally-devised strategic plans, and local teachers. Our graduates don’t just go on to preach or teach better – they start schools, they begin small loan groups, they run “healing clubs” for traumatized children, they organize cooperatives for women, and much more.


African Leadership Invests in Africa’s Servant Leaders

5 Guiding Values

  1. QUALITY: Meaningful Impact: We strive for meaningful impact in all we do – focusing on quality over quantity in all our processes, relationships and outcomes.

  2. TRANSPARENCY: Honest Stewardship: We are committed to transparency both internally and externally whether in success or failure, and to the open and honest stewardship of all we have been given.

  3. FAITH: Biblical Foundation: Our belief in God is the foundation of all that we do. We seek to elevate Him in every interaction.

  4. INNOVATION: Creative Solutions: We value the exploration of ideas, resources and problems to enact creative solutions in an ever-changing landscape.

  5. INVOLVEMENT: Collaborative Relationships: We believe collaboration, diversity and dignity in our relationships produce the greatest outcomes.


Our Team

Board Of Directors

Pete Rathbun, Board Chair
Bill Mugford
Blake Tidwell
Cate Loes
Clement Saseun
Duane Murray
Jane Carroll
Stephen Gause
Tim Humerick
Zoe Dollman

US Staff

Emily Blackledge, President
Bill Sullivan, VP of Finance & International Program
Winn Elliott, VP of Operations
Emily Farwell, International Program Manager
Fallon Klug, Community Manager
Tammy Murphy, Director of Donor Engagement

Click here to learn more about our leadership in Africa.