Dear Friends of Congo Initiative,
On behalf of the board of directors of Congo Initiative – USA (CI-USA), we’re excited to share the result of our Executive Director search. After conducting an external search and interviewing a slate of three finalists, one of whom was our acting Executive Director, Justin Hubbard, we have confirmed Justin as permanent Executive Director.
In this appointment, we recognize Justin has demonstrated adaptive leadership in the past eighteen months; he stepped into the interim role during the pandemic in July 2020, after four years in a communications and development role with us.
Justin knows this organization and he holds a vision for a future that takes us beyond where we’ve been, a willing energy to equip CI to thrive amidst the challenges, changes, and opportunities the next decade brings.
Congo Initiative (CI) faces weighty decisions on multiple fronts – fundraising in COVID era has reinforced our need for financial sustainability and underscored our reliance on travel and in-person gatherings to galvanize support. Because Université Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo (UCBC) with its transformative higher education is the flagship offering of CI, continuing investment in educators, curricula, and infrastructure is necessary to ensure UCBC students are equipped with the skills and resources to lead change in their communities. The lingering impacts of brutal colonialism, exploitation of resources, and economic disparity in DRC complicate needed global conversations about inequality, race, and gender equity.
Justin has earned the trust and respect of his colleagues both in the US and in Congo (he lived there between 2007 – 2010), including our founders Drs. David and Kaswera Kasali and Dr. Paul Robinson. His demonstrated commitment to our mission – to equip Congolese changemakers to transform their communities and promote systemic change— positions him well for the work ahead. For those of you who have not yet met Justin, we hope you will meet him soon! Justin holds a B.A. from the University of Minnesota and an M.Div and certificate in International Development Policy from Duke University. After several years in Oakland, CA, he’s back on the east coast – living and working alongside his wife, Thaniyyah, and 18 month-old son, Gibran, in Baltimore.
Over the next few months, we will initiate several critical projects intended to strengthen the organization as we step into this new season. These projects include developing a five-year strategic plan, securing funding that safeguards and expands our programs, and onboarding new board members to fill vacant seats.
We, the Board, are ready to do this work with Justin, and we hope you will join us in prayer and through your financial support. We will work alongside the US-based team Justin leads – Shelly Johnston (Development Director), Laura Fleming (part-time Grants Coordinator), and Emily Rhodes (part-time Administrative Coordinator) – and in close collaboration with the leadership in Congo.
In the spirit of partnership, we would like to invite you to join one of our virtual roundtable sessions where you can meet Justin and members of the search committee. We have planned three opportunities listed below. Please RSVP by February 4th.
Yours in partnership,
CI-USA Board of Directors