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Rambo announces plans to retire after 40 years with Catholic Charities

Deborah Kincade Rambo Courtesy photo

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BOSTON -- The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston's Board of Trustees announced Sept. 20 that Deborah Kincade Rambo's is planning to retire after 40 years of service to the agency's clients, including the last eight years as its president and chief executive officer.

Catholic Charities said that, to ensure a smooth leadership transition, Rambo's retirement will be effective the earlier of June 30, 2019 or upon the appointment of her successor.

Cardinal Seán P. 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," Cardinal O'Malley said.

"For 40 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," he said.

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, helping clients access services to realize their goals of strengthening their families and trading poverty for self-sufficiency.

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 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," she said.

"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," Rambo added.

James D. Gallagher, chair of the Catholic Charities Board of Trustees, also 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," Gallagher said.

When 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 1990s, 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.

The Catholic Charities Board of Trustees said it will commence the search for its new president and CEO immediately.

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