Ackerman and Board of Directors initiating 20-month transition to new leadership
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Prison Fellowship President & CEO James Ackerman today announced his transition from leading the ministry, effective June 30, 2024. The Board of Directors and Ackerman have initiated a selection process for the next CEO with the goal of naming a successor in 2023. At a critical juncture in the organization’s history in 2016, Ackerman, a seasoned media executive and Prison Fellowship volunteer, was called to lead the ministry into the new phase of health, growth, and strategic innovation it enjoys today. After a period of prayerful discernment, Ackerman announced his intention to hand over leadership of the ministry to a successor.
Prison Fellowship’s healthy culture, financial strength, and clear strategic vision make it an opportune time to pass the baton to the next leader. Ministry to prisoners and their families remains Prison Fellowship’s top priority, focusing on mobilizing the Church to restore prisoners and their families, raising up good citizens and future leaders behind bars, and advocating for justice that restores. As the ministry looks toward its 50th anniversary, the Board of Directors is leading the discernment process to name a new CEO who will carry Chuck Colson’s vision into the future.
“When the Prison Fellowship Board of Directors offered me the position of CEO in 2016, I was overjoyed to accept and see where the Lord would lead us together. The skills God gave me through experiences in the private sector turned out to be the tools needed for the ministry at that point in its history–what the Lord has accomplished, especially through the challenges of recent years, far surpasses any vision at the beginning,” said James Ackerman, President & CEO of Prison Fellowship. “Today, Prison Fellowship is more than halfway through a 10-year strategic plan to restore thousands of lives in prison, bring fresh hope to families affected by incarceration, and transform the culture and outcomes of prison.”
Prison Fellowship is the nation’s largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, and exists to help restore all those affected by crime and incarceration. For more than 46 years, the ministry has embraced millions of prisoners and their families because of the belief that no life is beyond Jesus’ reach. Prison Fellowship also advocates for federal and state criminal justice reforms that transform those responsible for crime, validate victims, and encourage communities to play a role in creating a safe, redemptive, and just society.
“Prison Fellowship is a trusted partner to prison leaders nationwide and an innovator in the field of corrections thanks to Chuck Colson’s founding vision to mobilize the Church to share the love of Jesus behind bars and to raise up leaders from inside prison walls,” Ackerman continued. “God has raised up a Board and senior leadership team with strategic vision and deep passion for the work ahead of us, and I look forward to continuing our work together to identify the right individual who will lead Prison Fellowship into the next season of transformational, restoration-focused ministry.”
"The Board of Directors is tremendously grateful for James' effective and visionary leadership since 2016,” shared Carl Dill, Board Chairman for Prison Fellowship. “Our ministry under James has grown significantly in donor participation, nationwide presence and impact. His contributions to Prison Fellowship have helped to transform individuals and communities throughout the country. We look forward to working alongside James to identify his successor to lead Prison Fellowship."