By Kate Andrews, ChildFund Staff Writer
This week, we turn the spotlight on ChildFund’s top leaders throughout our history. Visit earlier posts about our first five executive directors: Dr. Calvitt Clarke, Verbon E. Kemp, Dr. Verent Mills, Dr. James MacCracken and Dr. Paul McCleary.
Dr. Margaret McCullough, Christian Children’s Fund’s sixth executive director and the first woman to hold the top job, served as our sponsor services director for seven years in the 1980s before becoming the organization’s deputy executive director during her predecessor Dr. McCleary’s tenure. She began working with CCF in 1974, first sitting on the board of directors. She earned degrees in child development, family social science and family social psychology at Kansas State University and the University of Minnesota.
The end of the 20th century was a time of refining CCF’s policies and procedures, including updating technology in our organization to improve communications, monitoring and evaluating our work, and affirming CCF as a child development agency — a shift from being known solely as a sponsorship organization. During this time, we also began working more with children who’d been through wars and other traumatic experiences, employing psychologists to help children express their feelings through artwork and other means.
Despite the broadening of CCF’s mission, Dr. McCullough still recognized the continuing importance of sponsorship within our organization. She and her husband sponsored five children when she became executive director.
“I think it is so rewarding to work with people when they are still very young and open and ready to learn,” she said in a Fredericksburg (Va.) Free Lance-Star article in 1995. “You can help them develop themselves so they can have exciting and meaningful lives.”