Sam Worthington

Sam Worthington's picture
Title: 
President & CEO
Department: 
Executive Office
Member Organization: 

Sam Worthington is president and CEO of InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental international organizations, with more than 180 members. Worthington has represented U.S. NGOs and their programs before the United States Congress, the administration, and numerous major national and international media.

Previously, Worthington served as Chief Executive Officer of Plan USA (1994-2006), a global child-focused development NGO. Worthington also sat on Plan’s global executive management team and chaired Plan’s national CEO team.

Worthington is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, serves on the Advisory Committee for Voluntary Foreign Assistance (ACVFA) at USAID and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) at the United Nations, and sits on the boards of the Van Leer Group Foundation, CIVICUS, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and The Alliance to End Hunger. Worthington’s numerous leadership roles included the White House Task Force on Global Development and Poverty, he was a founding board member of the ONE Campaign, chaired the global NGO Impact Initiative on behalf of the UN Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery (President Clinton), and served on the steering committee of the NGO Leadership Forum at Harvard University.

Worthington has a Masters degree with distinction from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont. As a Fulbright scholar he completed post graduate research at the Institut Universitaire des Hautes Etudes Internationales in Geneva. He has received various awards and engaged in a program on non- profit leadership at the Harvard Business School.

Worthington and his wife Renée live in Bethesda, Maryland. They have three children Rachel, Jamie and Lindsay.

Learn more about Mr. Worthington in the President's Corner.

The Evolving Role and Future Relevance of the US NGO Sector

After 8 years serving at the helm of InterAction, the Board has graciously offered me a sabbatical, from later this month to early April, 2015. During this period I will have no access to e-mail, or any InterAction related work, and I welcome this opportunity to recharge and relax.  I am honored that for a part of the next three months I will be a resident policy fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy.  This is a welcomed chance to reflect upon our sector’s relevancy and evolving role.

Ebola Crisis: We are in this for the Long Haul

Since my letter regarding the Ebola crisis in September, 5,160 people have died with a total of 14,098 cases due to the worst Ebola outbreak in history. The actual numbers are probably far worse. Local, regional and international partners, including 30 InterAction members, are collaborating to operate Ebola Treatment Units, conduct contact and identification tracing and perform safe burials while mobilizing communities to contain the virus at its source. 

Dispelling the Myth: An Evolving Relationship between NGOs and Private Businesses

A common misperception regarding NGO-private sector relations is one based on mutual distrust and occasional confrontation; or with the advent of corporate social responsibility funding, one solely based on donor-recipient transactions. With the international development landscape rapidly evolving, some historical and present-day assumptions are simply inaccurate.

The following statements are not true of operational U.S. NGOs:

1.      They are generally uncomfortable partnering with companies seeking new markets or profits

Travel Restrictions Are Obstacles to Fighting Ebola

The NGO community is getting mixed messages. At the same time humanitarian organizations are being encouraged to rapidly scale-up efforts to contain the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history, increased political rhetoric on travel restrictions threatens to create new barriers to the NGO community's response to this crisis.

Ebola – A Fragile Healthcare System’s Ripple Effects

Four years ago I traveled over a deeply washed away and rutted dirt track to visit villages in the northern Liberian jungle, in what is now the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak. I focused on a network of small health clinics, which were dealing with the scourges of war and the impact of gender-based violence. Once the emergency of war eased, foreign assistance for these clinics was cut – and now what remains of these clinics are at the heart of an Ebola outbreak. 

NGOs Further Democratizing Aid and Development

InterAction members spending over $4 billion in private resources for community-driven efforts in Africa

U.S. NGOs investing to help children reach their 5th birthday

In 2015, InterAction’s member NGOs will spend over $450 million in private, nongovernmental funds on child health and survival, a substantial increase over this year’s spending. These dollars will allow children around the world to reach their fifth birthdays and lead healthy, productive lives. Having worked for years to advance the wellbeing of children, I know firsthand why these investments are so critical.

USAID And InterAction Sign Landmark Development Partnership - And Now The Work Starts

USAID and InterAction have just announced a first-of-its-kind agreement in a major effort to accelerate progress in the global fight against hunger and malnutrition. The agreement, signed May 19 on Capitol Hill, aims to maximize the impact of USAID and U.S.

A Farewell to Peter Bell, an NGO Leader and Dear Friend

Last week the U.S. NGO community lost a friend and leader, Peter Bell, who in his lifetime helped shape the concept and direction of global NGOs. As the president and CEO of CARE for a decade, Peter had the opportunity to steer an organization that makes a difference in the lives of countless people, and for years after he continued to influence the work of NGOs as a thought leader. I was fortunate to know him as both a mentor and dear friend.

InterAction's Samuel A. Worthington: Stand With the People of Syria

It was just a few years ago that ordinary Syrian citizens were living their lives. Shops were open for business, bakeries were filled with warm Markook flatbread, schools were packed with children, and hospitals were sanctuaries for the sick.

Pages