President & CEO of Catholic Charities Announces Upcoming Retirement

Debbie Rambo, President and CEO of Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Boston

Deborah Kincade Rambo

Conclude 40-Year Career at Service Agency

BOSTON, Mass., September 20, 2018—The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston’s Board of Trustees today announced Deborah Kincade Rambo’s intention to retire after 40 years of service to the agency’s clients, including the last eight years as its president and chief executive officer. To ensure a smooth leadership transition, Ms. Rambo’s retirement will be effective the earlier of June 30, 2019 or upon the appointment of her successor.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley expressed his gratitude for Ms. Rambo’s service and leadership: “For four decades Debbie Rambo has been a uniquely skilled and deeply committed professional who has served and led Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston with dignity, competence and compassion. The essence of Catholic Charities is its mission to fulfill the Gospel command to protect, care for and empower women and men and children and families at the socio-economic margins of American society. For forty years, in the midst of unprecedented income inequality in American society and tumultuous changes in the Catholic Church, Debbie has been a pillar of strength and hope for the poor and vulnerable. In doing so, she has embodied in her personal and professional life Pope Francis’s call for the Church to go out to “the peripheries” of society for the ministry of justice and charity. The Archdiocese is in debt to Debbie for her lifetime of service and I wish to express my personal gratitude to her for the invaluable work she has done. “

Ms. Rambo started her career with Catholic Charities as a clinical social worker serving young parents and children, as well as families where children were found to be at risk of abuse or neglect. Since that time, she worked in progressively responsible positions—supervising and training staff and developing new programs—throughout the years, exhibiting her skill in helping clients access services to realize their goals of strengthening their families and trading poverty for self-sufficiency. Her compassion for people who are struggling consistently demonstrated her respect for the overwhelming struggles of the poor. Prior to serving as President, she was the first woman to serve on the senior leadership team in her role as Vice President for Programs for 14 years. She was recognized frequently for her leadership by Catholic Charities USA, the organization’s national member organization, and called upon by colleagues across the country for strategic counsel.

“My time with Catholic Charities has been an honor and a privilege,” said Ms. Rambo. “The work is extraordinarily difficult, but the moral mandate has always been compelling. Everyone deserves the opportunity to be treated with dignity and respect and I am proud to have dedicated my career to helping those in our community in their most vulnerable moments—whether they have recently lost homes, lack the ability to feed their children, have recently immigrated to the United States to create better lives for their families, or are working full-time jobs that don’t provide enough wages to cover basic needs. Working alongside my colleagues and hundreds of volunteers to address those needs so our clients can see a path to self-sufficiency has been more gratifying than I could have ever imagined 40 years ago. I only regret that the need for our Catholic Charities services today is greater than ever.”

James D. Gallagher, Chair of the Catholic Charities Board of Trustees, paid tribute to Ms. Rambo’s leadership: “On behalf of the Board of Trustees and staff of Catholic Charities as well as the hundreds of thousands of people served during Debbie’s career, I want to express our deep gratitude and appreciation for a lifetime of compassion, professionalism and leadership. The vocation that Debbie and her team live every day requires a great deal of self-sacrifice and commitment that can’t be repaid in this life but must be recognized by all of us. We are humbled by their service and Debbie’s compassionate leadership will always be an example of selfless service to our community.”

When Ms. Rambo joined the organization in 1978, in addition to its long history of anti-poverty work, it was considered one of the state’s leading partners in its service to young parents, child protective work and adult and early childhood education.  In response to emerging needs in the early 1990’s, Catholic Charities refocused and refined its anti-poverty efforts by developing family shelters and expanding its food pantries and other safety net services. Today, Catholic Charities’ 500 staff and thousands of volunteers of all faiths serve 185,000 people from its 26 service sites, working to help create brighter futures for those they serve.  

Catholic Charities Board of Trustees will commence the search for its new President and CEO immediately. 

Catholic Charities of Boston, one of the largest providers of social services in Massachusetts, encompasses nearly 75 distinct programs in 26 locations providing help with basic needs for individuals of all ages, races, cultures, and religious faiths. Whether through food assistance, help for struggling teens or outstanding refugee and immigration support during a time of intense uncertainty for that population, Catholic Charities provides support for individuals’ most basic needs while respecting the dignity of each individual and charting a path to a living wage. For more information please visit ccab.org