Profile: Wendy Church '92
grad cultivates sustainable communities
Church '92 is changing the world one classroom at a time.
The executive director of Facing the Future, a Seattle-based
nonprofit providing educational programming on global issues,
believes making a difference is possible with the right approach.
not going to change world problems unless we have an educated
public," says the Kellogg School graduate. Facing the Future's
programs throughout the U.S. and internationally are designed
to help by providing information about a range of interlinked
global issues — climate change, poverty, health crises
and conflict — and the organization strives to foster
critical thinking about these and other topics. In 2006, under
Church's leadership, Facing the Future was recognized by the
North American Association for Environmental Education for
outstanding service to environmental education.
has found that working with teachers is key to advancing communication
about critical social challenges. The organization's workshops
serve more than 1,500 teachers annually. She points to the
programs' accessibility and quality as two compelling features.
Lessons, which are field tested and linked to educational
standards, come planned with time-challenged teachers in mind.
Some materials are even available online at facingthefuture.org,
and low-income schools can obtain the curriculum at no charge.
Last year, more than 300,000 new students experienced Facing
the Future's programs. The cost? "Less than $2 per student,"
alum has the organization on course to provide its offerings
to more than 12.5 million students annually by 2020. Progress
is already underway thanks in part to a recent grant from
the Hewlett-Packard Company to develop a climate change curriculum.
In addition, Facing the Future received marketing support
from Scholastic that allowed them to distribute materials
to 100,000 educators in middle schools and high schools across
the United States.
quality of Church's leadership hasn't gone unnoticed at Facing
the Future, which has a staff of eight and a board of 15,
as well as volunteers and interns. Lee Minto, a founder and
board member of the organization, describes the executive
director as "growth oriented and focused on quality." She
also admires Church's outlook. "She sees things as a challenge
rather than a problem," Minto says. "She is an anticipatory
manager, and I think that's very helpful."
credits the Kellogg School with cultivating her interest in
nonprofits. "I had never thought about working in nonprofit
until I went to Kellogg. I had a lot of opportunity to explore
that there," she says, referencing the nonprofit projects
she was involved in during her MBA experience. Prior to attending
Kellogg, Church was an engineer at companies including Intel.
She later worked in product marketing for KLA Instruments.
for a career change, Church applied to only one business school.
"Kellogg was the only one I wanted to go to," she says. She
found the curriculum there advantageous to her future pursuits.
"The well-rounded nature of the Kellogg program prepared me
to run a business," she reflects. After graduation, she worked
in management consulting, earned a doctorate degree from Oregon
State University in Bioresource Engineering as a GAAN Fellow,
and eventually found her way back to the world of nonprofits.
Before joining Facing the Future in 2003, Church served as
executive director of Tacoma, Washington's Citizens for a
Healthy Bay, and has co-authored two global sustainability
The Kellogg grad
has found that running a nonprofit is similar to running any
business. "The only difference is that you also have a social
mission to manage," she says.