Robert L. Hawkins, Jr., Becomes First African-American to Hold Post

Robert L. Hawkins, Jr., a member of Compassion International’s board of directors since 2001, has been named chairman of the board. Hawkins, 46, is the first African-American to hold the post since Compassion was founded in 1952.

“There is a lot I could say about Compassion — its commitment to absolute integrity, effectiveness and professionalism is second to none — but the most compelling thing about this organization is its passion for children,” Hawkins said.

“By transforming the lives of children of all cultures who are caught in the cycle of poverty, Compassion goes beyond child survival, but strives to help each child reach their God-given potential. I can think of no better way to serve than to be associated with that mission.”

Hawkins has held leadership positions with various Time Warner divisions in New York, including director of new market development for Columbia House, managing their Christian, Latin and Classical Music clubs; vice president and general manager for Fortune magazine’s conference division, directing international conferences for Fortune 500 companies; and chief marketing officer for Essence, the premier magazine for African-American women.

Hawkins is also a former vice president of World Vision Inc., the international relief and development organization, where he managed their child sponsorship program.

“Robert’s chairmanship comes at a time of dynamic growth and change for Compassion,” said Dr. Wess Stafford, Compassion International’s President. “I’ve known Robert for a long time and he’s served the board for six years now. His knowledge and expertise in both the business and nonprofit arenas have greatly contributed to Compassion’s vision and mission. I have no doubt Robert will continue in that path, providing sound leadership and guidance to the board as they maintain Compassion’s historic commitment to Christ and His Church. We are delighted and fortunate to have someone of his caliber assume this role.”

In addition to the numerous awards he has received for his work in branding, marketing and fundraising, Hawkins served on the board of the Nashville-based Gospel Music Association from 1997-2004. The GMA is the non-profit association dedicated to the promotion of the $700 million gospel music industry and is the producer of the Dove Awards.

He has also served as a member of the New York Chapter of 100 Black Men whose mission is to enhance the quality of life and educational and economic opportunities for African-Americans. 100 Black Men of America, Inc. has more than 100,000 youth participants annually in its mentoring and youth development programs. Hawkins is also a former member of the New York Chapter of Mastermedia International, an organization that focuses on Christians in the media. He has also served on the board of the Montclair Community Church in Montclair, N.J.

In May, Hawkins will receive his Juris Doctorate Degree from Widener School of Law and a certification in Business Organization Law from the Institute of Delaware Corporate Law. Hawkins also has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He’s currently serving as vice president and general manager of Claimant Management Systems, LLC, providing systems and litigation support services to the in-house counsel of Fortune 500 companies and corporate law firms. He is also the treasurer and co-founder of Seeds of Greatness Bible Church in New Castle, Del.

Hawkins is married to A’Lexa Fry Hawkins, founder of A’Lexa’s Designs, a graphic design company. She has a B.S. from the Wharton School of Business and a B.A. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. A’Lexa is originally from Washington, D.C., where her family owns and operates Fry & Welch Associates, PC, the longest running African-American architectural firm on the East Coast. They have been married for 24 years and have three children, A’arika, Rachel-Alexandria and Robert III.

Compassion is one of the world’s largest Christian child-development organizations, working with more than 65 denominations and nearly 4,000 indigenous church partners in Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Compassion has impacted the lives of more than 1.6 million children since it was founded and has been recognized for its financial integrity with top ratings and recommendations from several of the nation’s leading not-for-profit “watchdog” organizations.

For information, visit Compassion online at or call (800) 336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., MST.

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NOTE: To schedule an interview with Robert L. Hawkins, Jr., or Dr. Wess Stafford, please contact Steve Yount at (972) 267-1111 or Julie Koshy at (719) 487-6290.

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