Longtime Alabama Baptist Peggy Darby, who has spent nearly 25 years in fundraising and development, was unanimously elected as president-elect of the national WMU Foundation on April 17 during the board of trustees spring meeting in Birmingham.
Current president David George announced his plans to retire June 30, 2023, last summer and a national search began with the goal of having a transition period between the two. That goal was realized with the vote and Darby settled into the seat to the right of board chair Bob Cardinal of South Carolina while George sat to Cardinal’s left.
“It has been a wonderful run for David and it’s so exciting to see a smooth transition with both of them as one is parting and one is coming on board,” Cardinal noted. “We are asking all our Baptist friends to pray for them daily during this transition.”
The work will be a team effort as George works to mentor and hand off the role over the next 10 weeks. Darby officially becomes president July 1.
‘Honor to use my skillset’
“It is my honor to use my professional skillset … to continue the work that David George began and has fostered during his tenure as WMU Foundation president,” Darby said. “David’s personal and professional investment of his God-given talents has created a legacy here at the WMU Foundation that I hope and pray I will be able to continue and enhance for future generations.”
In greeting the board following the announcement of her selection to the role, Darby thanked the search team, which was led by board member John Bergquist of Alabama, for their confidence in her.
She also shared a word of appreciation for “the WMU women who have invested in me throughout my whole life. … From my days as a GA to my time in Acteens working my way through StudiAct to eventually earn Service Aide, to my Judson College sisters who were WMU leaders in their own states. From my Alabama WMU camp days to the women I know as an adult, I am grateful to each of you for sharing your love of WMU work and missions with me. You may never know the impact you made on my life, but I do, and I want you to know that I stand here today because of you.
“Today, as I begin my service to the WMU Foundation I would like to ask each of you to keep the WMU Foundation team in your prayers,” she shared. “I also would like you to specifically pray that God will guide me as I seek to lead our team to further the work of the WMU Foundation in support of the WMU.”
‘Strength of character’
Bergquist, who also serves as vice chair of the board, said, “It was Peggy’s Christian life testimony, including her salvation story, her connections to WMU activities growing up in the local church, and her faith journey that helped us see her integrity and the strength of her character.”
Search team member Robin Wise of Mississippi agreed.
“The more I learned about Peggy the more reassured I was that she should be the next leader of the WMU Foundation. Her love for Christ, the church, and her passion for missions was evident. I feel confident that with her at the helm our mission at the Foundation will continue to thrive.”
Kaye Miller, WMU president emerita and search team member, added, “Peggy’s very first comments about her faith in Jesus showed me her heart. Her love for Jesus and trust in Him in all parts of her life were very evident. Her job experiences and continuing education in her field stood out to me as well. I am very excited about the future of the WMU Foundation with Peggy at the helm.”
Sandy Wisdom-Martin, executive director of National WMU, added, “It’s beautiful to see when calling, passion and skillset intersect. These combined with past experiences will enable Peggy Darby to lead the WMU Foundation with excellence. David George has positioned the next leader for success. He’s been masterful at making strategic connections to fuel kingdom ministry. We are grateful for his decades of faithful service.”
‘Future is bright’
George also expressed his excitement about Darby’s election and the opportunity to mentor her in the position.
“I have nothing but great respect for Peggy,” he told The Alabama Baptist. “I’ve known her professionally for a few years, and I clearly see that she is the one that God wanted for this position. I think the future is bright with Peggy at the helm of the WMU Foundation. I look forward to supporting her in that work.”
Darby made her profession of faith as a child and was baptized at Dalraida Baptist Church in Montgomery. She also has been active in First Baptist Church Montgomery, Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Homewood and Siloam Baptist Church in Marion through the years. Now a member of Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover, she has been an active member of the singles ministry since 2007.
Experience and educational background
In her work in fundraising and development, Darby has served several educational institutions, Children’s of Alabama and, most recently, the missions group Designs for Hope.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Judson College, Master of Arts in organizational management from University of Phoenix Online, and has done expanded graduate and doctoral level and other continuing educational studies. Darby has maintained her nationally accredited certification as a Certified Fund-Raising Executive since earning it in 2006. This process ensures she has access to consistent educational, philanthropic regulations and fundraising-related updates and information.
The WMU Foundation is a Baptist missions foundation established in 1995 by national WMU under the leadership of Dellanna O’Brien, former executive director of national WMU. The mission of the WMU Foundation is to engage missions-minded individuals and entities to encourage, motivate, facilitate and sustain the investment of resources for the benefit of WMU and the causes it supports.
“Being able to help people realize their dreams and desires through philanthropy is special to me,” Darby noted.