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Kurt Buchholz Named Vice President for Special Initiatives at Lutheran World Relief

Baltimore, January 26, 2011Lutheran World Relief (LWR) has named Kurt Buchholz its vice president for special initiatives, a newly created position. He will start on February 15.

In this new position, Buchholz will lead the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI), a partnership of LWR and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) to mobilize U.S. Lutherans in the global effort to eliminate malaria deaths in Africa by 2015. LMI is made possible through support from the United Nations Foundation and aims to raise $45 million by 2015 for the global fight against malaria.

The Lutheran Malaria Initiative, currently in its pilot phase, has already begun making a difference in the fight against malaria. Congregations such as Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis and Zion Lutheran Church in Dallas are already engaging members, and a national rollout of the campaign will take place later this year. Pilot programming in Africa has already started making a difference as well: a program with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania resulted in a significant increase in use of insecticide-treated bed nets among church members and marked improvements in the availability of medications to treat malaria at ELCT-run medical facilities.

Buchholz most recently served as interim executive director of LCMS World Mission in St. Louis, the $30 million global mission outreach organization of the LCMS. He had worked for the organization since 1993, in a variety of positions, where he helped reverse a decade-long trend of decreasing revenue and led the organization to financial stability. Buchholz was instrumental in leading the rollout of a complex $100 million fundraising campaign for LCMS World Mission scheduled to end this year.

Buchholz has lived and worked in Taiwan in various leadership roles, including school start-up and management, and he and his wife Jenny served as missionaries there for seven years. He is a graduate of Concordia University, Irvine, Calif., in the elementary education program and received his Director of Christian Education certification and a Master of Arts in organizational management from Concordia University, St Paul, Minn.

 “We are very pleased to have Kurt on board, given his past successes in leading large scale initiatives and campaigns,” said John Nunes, LWR’s president and CEO. “He brings a wealth of experience and passion to this position and we are excited to welcome him to LWR.”

“I worked closely with LWR in my previous position, and I’m thrilled to be joining such a respected and effective organization,” Buchholz said. “As a person of faith, I consider it a great privilege to be able to live out my vocation in a way that has a positive impact on the world and shows care and support for others, and I look forward to doing that with LWR.”

About Lutheran World Relief (LWR):
Lutheran World Relief works to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and people experiencing poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America, both in times of emergencies and for the long term. With the financial support of US Lutherans and other donors, LWR strengthens communities through programs in agriculture, climate, and emergency support. LWR works with partners, supporters and technical assistance providers to achieve lasting results. For more information, visit

Lutheran World Relief is a ministry of U.S. Lutherans, serving communities living in poverty overseas.

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