Rev. Curtiss DeYoung Named Executive Director of Community Renewal Society

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Historic civil rights organization hires activist, author, scholar and preacher to lead “the ongoing struggle against economic injustice and institutional racism.”

Rev. Curtiss DeYoung, EdD has been named the new Executive Director of Community Renewal Society. Rev. DeYoung is currently Professor of Reconciliation Studies and the co-chair of the Department of Anthropology, Sociology, and Reconciliation Studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, MN.

Rev. DeYoung has more than 10 years of non-profit executive management experience, and has worked actively within diverse neighborhoods of the Twin Cities to engage congregations and communities in building collaborative actions toward justice and peace. He is a national expert on issues of racial reconciliation and justice, with international speaking experience.

David Mussatt, CRS board member and Chair of the Search Committee, said “After a lengthy and careful process, the Executive Director Search Committee was unanimous in its recommendation of Curtiss DeYoung to the larger board. He has a deep understanding of the racial justice and poverty issues that are at the core of CRS’ mission. He is a national expert who is highly regarded and recommended by diverse and prominent church leaders. He also is a frequent speaker and an active writer on the topics. He will bring a strong intellectual foundation to CRS’ work.”

“It is an honor to assume the leadership of Community Renewal Society,” Rev. DeYoung said. “I am committed to the ongoing struggle against economic injustice and institutional racism which drives our mission. I look forward to extending the prophetic voice of CRS in these difficult and challenging times.”

Rev. George Daniels, CRS board member and Senior Pastor at First Baptist Congregational Church stated, “Dr. DeYoung is a wonderful selection as Executive Director. His extensive experience and compassion will serve to elevate the Community Renewal Society in moving from social cheerleader to the real sustained activism necessary to make a difference in this work. “

In welcoming Dr. DeYoung, Rev. Barb Bolsen, President of the CRS Board stated “On behalf of the board and staff, I want to personally thank the Rev. Alexander Sharp for serving as Acting Executive Director of CRS for the past twelve months. He has helped to integrate Protestants for the Common Good, the organization he headed for 15 years, as a policy unit within CRS, and has guided the drafting of a Declaration of Faith adopted by the Board last month. We are grateful that he will be present during the transition and will now be able to continue his efforts to create a new paradigm for drug policy in Illinois. Rev. DeYoung will take the reins full time after relocating from Minneapolis to Chicago in June.

Rev. Sharp commented, “We are indeed fortunate to have identified an individual with the extraordinary range of talents that Dr. DeYoung brings to Community Renewal Society. I join the board in welcoming him to our work.”

Curtiss Paul DeYoung has served in academic and community work for over thirty years with a central concern for social justice, peace, and reconciliation. His career has been lived out in New York City, Washington, DC, and Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. Dr. DeYoung earned degrees from the University of St. Thomas (MN), Howard University (Washington, DC), and Anderson University (IN). He is an author and editor of ten books on reconciliation, interfaith social justice activism, multiracial congregations, racism, and cultural diversity.

DeYoung served for many years in urban multicultural nonprofit and church settings. He provided executive leadership in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, for the Twin Cities Urban Reconciliation Network (TURN). Prior to this he worked at churches in Minneapolis, Michigan, New York City, and Washington, DC.

DeYoung’s leadership as an executive in the nonprofit sector was marked by a catalytic ability for bringing together leaders from diverse cultures, races, and social classes in religious communities, nonprofit agencies, grassroots organizations, government entities, and academic institutions who shared an active concern for the community.

DeYoung has served on various community boards and committees including the Human Service Advisory Committee for The McKnight Foundation, Healing Minnesota Stories (Dakota-US Conflict 150th Anniversary) Planning Committee of the St. Paul Interfaith Network, Multicultural Committee for the Friends School of Minnesota, Pentecost 2000 Reconciliation & Truth Telling Coordinating Committee for the Minnesota Council of Churches, Twin Cities Youth Policy Forum, and Interfaith Task Force for the City of Minneapolis Initiative Against Racism.

DeYoung is an author and editor of ten books. His book on social justice activists and their spirituality, Living Faith: How Faith Inspires Social Justice, has been translated into Portuguese and French. The book features Aung San Suu Kyi, Malcolm X, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and also includes Oscar Romero, Dorothy Day, Fannie Lou Hamer, Nelson Mandela, Thich Nhat Hanh, Winona LaDuke, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Roberta Menchu, Elie Wiesel, and others. His most recent book is co-authored with South African Allan Boesak, the leader during the antiapartheid struggle of the United Democratic Front with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Archbishop Tutu writes the foreword.

Founded in 1882, The Community Renewal Society empowers people to build just communities by working to eradicate racism and poverty. It does so by informing, organizing, training, and encouraging individuals and communities in sustained and strategic efforts to engender systemic change.

Community Renewal works to achieve its vision of a just community where racism and poverty no longer limit people’s full participation in society by working with powerful faith-based organizing and policy programs and by publishing two highly regarded investigative journals on matters of social justice. Through these pioneering efforts, Community Renewal Society moves civic and religious leaders to take action on issues of racism and poverty.

Community Renewal is at the leading edge of reform on several issues, including education, senior health care, housing, tax policy, and criminal and juvenile justice. CRS is uniquely positioned to identify problems, convene key leadership, engage them in discussions about a variety of pressing issues and, in partnership, develop solutions for change.

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