The Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Great Lakes Board of Directors has named Eric Kurtz as the organization’s next executive director. He succeeds Zenebe Abebe, who has served as executive director since April 2011.
“MCC Great Lakes has superb assets in its staff and board members, who are all deeply committed to the mission of MCC,” said Kurtz. “I am humbled and excited to be asked to serve in this way with this amazing group of people.”
Kurtz is not new to the MCC Great Lakes organization. He began working with MCC Great Lakes in July 2014 as assistant director.
“I will continue to prioritize relationships with individuals, congregations and larger church structures,” said Kurtz. “The strong support MCC enjoys in our region is a testament to the relationship-building work of many others who have gone before me.”
Prior to coming to MCC Great Lakes, Kurtz worked for Elkhart County Soil and Water Conservation District, where he coordinated education and outreach programs, managed programs and led trainings.
MCC has been a lifelong connection for Kurtz as he grew up as the child of MCC workers in Swaziland, Zambia and Kenya. He has also lived in Argentina, where he worked with rural communities in the Chaco region.
"The board and I look forward to working with Eric,” said Milton Borntrager, MCC Great Lakes Board Chair. “He has the background, leadership skills and a passion for the work of MCC."
As he prepares to take over leadership, Kurtz recognizes the priorities for the region. “In addition to supporting relief, development and peace around the world, our region runs an important program in Appalachia and oversees peace and justice, immigration and anti-oppression work,” said Kurtz. “We will continue supporting MCC's programs that engage young people in service.”
Kurtz earned his masters of science degree in land resources from the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Goshen College.
Kurtz attends Assembly Mennonite Church in Goshen. He is married to Carmen Horst, and they have two young children. Kurtz will begin his new position on August 1. He will continue to work out of the MCC Great Lakes office in Goshen.
"The board expresses its appreciation to Zenebe Abebe who is retiring after serving as executive director for the past five years,” said Borntrager.