Press Release: Chad Hayward

The Accord Network mourns the passing of former CEO Chad Hayward on Saturday, January 27th, 2024. He was a faithful witness for Kingdom collaboration among Christian relief and development organizations caring for the world’s most vulnerable. He served as CEO of Accord Network for 17+ years, leaving a legacy of Christ-centered collaboration among Accord’s 120 member organizations. With masterful efficiency and innovation, Chad built Accord as an enduring relational coalition of more than 120 partners whose trust and collaboration in transforming the lives of the global poor are unprecedented. In characteristic humility, Chad drew no attention to himself as he quietly created a model for trade associations of all kinds, emphasizing the need to care for workers on the frontlines, relieve the burdens on executives, and cultivating a space for technical excellence. This thriving community owes its vibrance to Chad’s dedication and his elevation of other leaders across the Accord Network. The Accord Network board extends sympathies to the Hayward family.

The Board of Directors is pleased to announce Michael Cerna as the new CEO of Accord Network.

Statements from Leaders on Chad Hayward’s Legacy

Chad Hayward was a remarkably gifted and steadfast leader of Accord. He exemplified integrity and professionalism, and greatly strengthened the quality of the Accord coalition of Christian humanitarian organizations. He will be sorely missed.

Kent Hill
Former Accord Board Member
Senior Leader at World Vision US &
USAID Assistant Administrator

I first met Chad in 2001 when he first arrived in DC to work on Capitol Hill.  Our conversations were lively, full of hope and vision in making life better for others both locally and globally. I had my last conversation with Chad at the Accord Conference in Oct. 2023.  It was the same hope, vision with many accomplishments toward that vision.  It was the same warmth, light in his eyes and unconditional love.  A true friend.

Jo Anne Lyon
General Superintendent Emerita
The Wesleyan Church

In fond remembrance of Chad, we mourn the loss of an esteemed colleague at USAID and the Accord Network, whose vibrant spirit, dedication, and camaraderie left an enduring impact on everyone he encountered. Chad was a trusted friend.  His warmth and tireless commitment to humanitarian work will be deeply missed, but his legacy of compassion will continue to inspire us.

Terri Hasdorff
Former Director, USAID Center for Faith-Based & Community Initiatives
President, Capitol Solutions Consulting, LLC

Through the years, I have been honored to know and collaborate with Chad in our respective work in DC and around the world. His life, leadership, and work are a testament to the love of God and to Chad’s profound commitment to the people Jesus loves, especially the least among us throughout the world.  As I think of Chad today, an echo of Paul’s words to the Philippians comes to mind: “Every time I think of you, I thank our God for you.

J. Mark Brinkmoeller
Former Director of the USAID Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
Principal, Assisi Strategies

Chad Hayward brought people together and persisted in bringing people together. I lament the loss of his ‘can-do’ optimism and relational warmth in listening to and connecting diverse people and viewpoints. Yet Chad’s radiant reflection of God’s compassion and his embrace of Jesus lives on and will keep people coming together long into the future.

Ben Homan
President of Langham Partnerships
Former Chair of the USAID Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Assistance

If a life is best measured not by its length, but by the qualities that animate it and the good it spills out to others, Chad Hayward’s life has been among the finest. The root of this vitality is Chad’s faith: a vibrant confidence in God’s presence and goodness that — even in great trials — casts its light over Chad’s face and also from it. Chad has led well in each place he’s served — steady, faithful, diligent, wise. His achievements and the enduring institutions he helped to build — particularly the Accord Network — will continue to be valued and effect good for a long while, even in places where his name is not known. 

But Chad’s true legacy is the person he’s become — a man in whom the rest of us catch firsthand glimpses of what it looks like to be increasingly formed into the image of Jesus Christ — and also the person he encourages and helps others to become. These, far more than a long resume or marble monument, are of immeasurable and eternal value. In every interaction, Chad brings gifts to the individual before him: more interested in them than in anything he has to say, moving seamlessly between incisive dialogue on key issues in our world … lighthearted humor … personal vulnerability … and earnest spiritual thoughts. His slightly-tilted smile pair well with his kind heart and sharp mind.  He’s disarmingly humble, yet equally capable and possessed of insight and vision. My heart is heavy at the thought of what seems to be a far-too-early farewell to such a man. But I trust that looking back, the time between farewell and reunion will have been little more than the blink of an eye, with warm hugs to be had and an eternity to explore together. I look forward to that day.

Jedd Medefind
Former Director, White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
President, The Christian Alliance for Orphans

Chad Hayward served in the engine room of three great foreign aid achievements of the George W. Bush Administration: Establishing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and the Faith-Based and Community Initiative. All three were among the great foreign aid accomplishments of a generation. The most important might have been mobilizing the faith community to partner with the US Government in ways that improved the aid delivery of both. That is because the Faith-Based Initiative was critical to the success of PEPFAR, and caused the US Government to reckon seriously with the indispensable role of faith communities everywhere and in all successful relief and development endeavors.

“Following his service at USAID, Chad declined to take the path of many former political appointees to work as a government contractor. His services would have been in great demand. Instead, Chad saw an opportunity to lead an almost hopeless project to revive a moribund association of a couple dozen Christian relief and development NGOs. The mission was excellent but it lacked leadership, fresh vision and resources. Chad turned Accord into a thriving 120+ member coalition. He revived Accord by serving sacrificially, mastering the hidden craft of community building, and befriending more humanitarians than we will ever know.

Randy Tift
Former Accord Board Member
Former USAID Chief Acquisition and Assistance Policy Officer

Chad is remembered as a faithful servant and kind soul. A quiet, creative, and steady leader, he had the gift of seeing others and cultivating opportunities for them to thrive during his long tenure at Accord. I was one such beneficiary of Chad’s leadership, and what a gift to be able to work alongside him. Though I mourn the loss of a wonderful human being gone too soon, I’m filled with gratitude and hope because of how he brought so many together and his faithfulness on the journey.

Nell Becker Sweeden
Accord Board Chair
CEO of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries

The image that always comes to mind when I think of Chad in his role is that of a tree.  He’s the trunk that stands firm through the storms because of roots that reach down into the soil of faith in Jesus.  What is often overlooked is that the storms are what strengthen a tree, the regular push one way or another of winds, rain, the passing of seasons only cause the tree to grow in strength, the roots to reach down even deeper into that faith soil.

Chad’s tree was planted on the heels of the New Era Philanthropy scandal that rocked so many Christian NGOs in the late 90’s and the financial crash of the terrorist attacks of 9/11.  That is the tumultuous ground on which he entered our lives.

With the support of many, he established his center, steadfast, welcoming, sheltering 60 agencies in those early days and inviting us all under the tree to commune, and to learn and to enjoy.

In the many years he’s been with us, this tree has sprouted many new branches of growth.  The Gift in Kind standards, the Principles of Integral Mission, the offshoots of communities of practice, the UnitedVoice advocacy work.  And beautiful new organizations wanting to “gather at the tree”… 140 to date.  Easy growth?  Not by a long shot, the “storms” come daily because the work of a network leader is having to hold the quiet center when this “storm” wants to push us to the far right and that “storm” wants to push us to the far left and some walk away because he won’t bend in their desired direction.

But he holds the center.  The welcoming place where we can come to sit, find shade, argue, laugh, love, gather, play, swing from the branches all while taking the tree for granted.  We’ll never fully know what the growth looks like until the tree is laid to rest, we count the many rings and realize what a shelter it provided us all these years.

Dr Beth Birmingham
The Christian Alliance for Inclusive Development
Eastern University

Chad was a dearly loved son, brother, uncle, and a friend to many. As long-time CEO of the Accord Network, Chad skillfully and thoughtfully served a global community of organizations committed to being the hands and feet of Christ around the world. He made us all better.

I personally got to journey with Chad for twelve years. For some of those years I served as his board chair at the Accord Network–which threw us together as co-presenters on event stages, fixers of backroom crises, and partners in dreaming about what could be. Chad showed me what a confident, humble servant leader can accomplish when they persist in “a long obedience in the same direction.

Jonathan Wiles
COO at Living Water

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