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Winrock International

Announcing the Inaugural Friends of Winrock

A Network of Thought Leaders, Innovators and Experts Aims to Expand Winrock’s Global Reach and Impact

June 20, 2022 – Winrock International today announced the inception of a new, collaborative initiative called Friends of Winrock to amplify the scope and impact of the organization as its work expands and confronts increasingly complex new challenges. 

“This new network doubles down on one of our most highly-valued assets: our diverse array of multi-talented, influential advisors and allies, all of whom are accomplished leaders and changemakers in fields ranging from climate change and ecosystems conservation to sustainable agriculture and water security, to human rights and education,” said Winrock President and CEO Rodney Ferguson. “This group will serve as a guild of experienced professionals associated with Winrock, many of whom previously worked directly with us or who have served as board members or strategic advisors in either a formal or informal way.”  

To kickstart the initiative, Winrock’s inaugural Friends cohort comprises a deeply talented group that includes broad technical, management, policy and science-based expertise across both the public and private spheres. They include David Agnew, Bill Bumpers, Betsy Campbell, Melissa Dann, Bill Fuller, Neva R. Goodwin, John Kadyszewski, William Ketcham, Valerie Rockefeller, Paul Savage, Mark Tercek and Bronson Van Wyck.  

The goal of the new network is to organically grow the scope and impact of Winrock’s mission. Friends will help Winrock broaden its already substantial reach across more than 40 countries, including in the U.S., by telling the story of its work to new people in new places; the network also actively solicits feedback and insights from people whose ideas can help the organization to inclusively adapt and improve. 

Since Winrock’s founding in 1985, its activities have steadily expanded, and now span a portfolio of more than 100 agriculture, environment, and social development projects that reach deep into and work sensitively with diverse communities around the world. As Winrock navigates the most complex challenges of our times – climate change and ecosystems protection, an equitable and cleaner energy transition, trafficking and mass migration, food security and poverty ─ now, seemingly more than ever, Winrock needs committed, connected Friends who can bring their knowledge, understanding, expertise, and ideas to the organization.  

“I’m thrilled to welcome the Inaugural Friends of Winrock,” said Chair of the Board Jude Kearney. “I had the privilege of serving alongside some of these leaders during their board tenures and I look forward to collaborating with each of them to continue expanding Winrock’s work in the U.S. and around the world.” 

The Friends group seeks people whose experiences and world vision are relevant to Winrock’s mission, and who have expressed interest and willingness to support Winrock in one or more of its strategic initiatives. Those initiatives include growing our own, internal staff diversity as well as diversification of international and U.S.-based programming and activities; fostering fact-based community discussion on climate issues, and fundraising to help Winrock deliver programs as broadly and effectively as possible, among others. To facilitate development, the group will meet at least once, annually, either in person or virtually. Meetings will provide the group with opportunities to interact with Winrock staff, and to listen and share knowledge that advances Winrock’s mission of a more equitable and sustainable world. 

Winrock board member and Rockefeller family member Peter O’Neill was the chief catalyst in the formation of the Friends of Winrock. “This is an important milestone in the collective effort of Winrock staff, its Board of Directors and our most trusted partners and advisors, to broaden our impact and meet new challenges,” O’Neill said. 

The Friends of Winrock is facilitated by Winrock’s Board Partnerships, Development and Philanthropy Committee.