Rev. Gary Cook brings expertise in churches’ engagement in diverse programs to Oikocredit USA’s growing board of directors
WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 22, 2013. Oikocredit USA today announced the appointment to its board of Rev. Gary Cook, a Presbyterian minister with extensive experience leading and managing social justice movements. This is Rev. Cook’s second term on the Oikocredit USA board.
As current Director of Church Relations for Bread for the World, Rev. Cook manages a diverse staff dedicated to building and strengthening relationships with over 50 church denominations and agencies and 5,000 local congregations. Their collective mission is to urge national decisionmakers to end hunger at home and abroad. Previously Rev. Cook served on the national staff of the Presbyterian Church USA, directing its relief and development programs. He was also Coordinator of the Presbyterian Hunger Program, where he instituted the Enough for Everyone Program that encourages congregations to invest in Oikocredit. The Presbyterian Church USA was a major, early investor in Oikocredit USA.
“We are delighted to welcome Gary to our board,” said Sharlene Brown, National Director of Oikocredit USA. “Gary is one of Oikocredit’s earliest supporters in the U.S., serving in the early years as Chair of the Board. His significant experience with ecumenical and interfaith groups focused on empowering low-income communities at home and abroad is very much aligned with the primary mission of Oikocredit USA. We look forward to his active participation on our board.”
“I'm very excited about returning to the Oikocredit USA board,” said Rev. Cook. “Oikocredit gives churches and individuals a chance to express their faith commitment through their investments. Credit is often a critically needed component of community development, and Oikocredit is an important source of that credit for low income communities.”
Rev. Cook has also served on the boards of Church World Service, the National Farmworker Ministry, the Super Bowl of Caring, and—before his current staff position—Bread for the World. He has provided leadership for his churches’ engagement in social justice movements such as the Sanctuary, Jubilee 2000, the Taco Bell Boycott, and fair trade initiatives. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Chicago Theological Seminary, he was a pastor for congregations in Ohio and Florida.