She describes her motivation as “the simple heart of a mom combined with a passion to see suffering eased.”
With experience as an author, speaker, and radio personality, Marilee rediscovered World Vision in 2001—and uncovered a passion for the ministry her father had begun five decades earlier. “I realized this is what God was preparing me for,” she says.
Today, Marilee travels the globe to speak on behalf of children affected by poverty, “putting a name and a face to the overwhelming issues of our time so that we can empower ordinary individuals to make a difference.” She is a passionate voice to the Church—helping to inspire and equip churches, women’s groups and youth to fulfill their God-given mandate to care for the poor.
With her gift for storytelling, Marilee is able to bring to life the remarkable stories of people she’s met around the world. “World Vision is not about programs—it’s about people,” she says, adding that she finds deep satisfaction in connecting people in need with those who have the ability to touch their lives and make a difference.
Her speaking style has been described as passionate, engaging, transparent, and vulnerable. As World Vision president Rich Stearns notes with both truth and humor, “Whenever Marilee speaks, you want to bring some tissue—it gets a little weepy.”
In addition to her role as a public speaker and advocate for the poor, Marilee serves as senior advisor to Women of Vision, a volunteer ministry of World Vision. As such Marilee often speaks to women’s groups and conferences on the impact poverty, AIDS and world violence is having on women and children. “The mission of Women of Vision is to connect, educate and empower women to make a difference in the lives of impoverished women and children both here and around the world,” she explains.
Not least of Marilee’s contributions are her efforts to nurture World Vision staff around the world and help ensure that World Vision remains faithful to its original calling. “It is imperative that we stay connected to our spiritual roots,” she says, “so that we will continue to be a light in the darkness, pointing people to the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Marilee has been married for more than 45 years, has two daughters and is the proud grandmother of three. She has written four books, including the acclaimed biography Man of Vision: The Candid, Compelling Story of Bob and Lorraine Pierce.
In everything she does, Marilee’s calling is crystal clear: “I want to bring attention to the fact that each of us by God’s grace can do something to ease suffering in our world.”