Then, as now, Tearfund was formed primarily of voluntary workers. As Tony McCarthy, Chair of the Board from 1979—2004 writes: “Tearfund is, and has always been, a peoples' organisation. It is a community of disciples committed to being practical in expressing their faith; passionate about their discipleship in seeking to express God's love and concern for the poor; and rigorous in exploring the scriptures to learn and to inform both belief and practice. It is an inclusive organisation.”
Surrounding the paid staff positions and voluntary Board members is a vast network of Christians in Australia who contribute to the spiritual, directional, financial and educational work.
Tearfund Australia’s Board members are faithful Christians who volunteer their time and skills to steering the organisation’s governance, direction and accountability.
Our leadership team bring their professional experience, and their passion to bring about God’s work of transformation, to enact Tearfund’s vision and mission. All staff are based in Australia, most in the head office in Blackburn, Victoria.
Chief Executive Officer
Matthew brings both the breadth of global experience and the depth of faithful Christian service to his role as Tearfund’s Chief Executive Officer. With over 30 years experience working with community, relief and development organisations across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific, Matthew knows how to forge effective global partnerships based on mutual respect. He is passionate about seeing the Australian church at the forefront of the global justice movement, supporting effective development practices.
Matthew's leadership contributions extend beyond Tearfund to the wider sector, and he currently serves as the Vice President of the ACFID Board, Vice Chair of the Micah Global Board and as a member of the Campaign for Australian Aid Executive Committee and the Integral Alliance Board (a global disaster response network of Christian agencies).
International Program Director
Phil has a long history with Tearfund Australia across a range of roles including finance, fieldworkers, international program management, innovation and research, and program coordination. With field and program management experience from his time living in Vietnam and Myanmar, and from working closely with Tearfund’s partners in Africa, Phil’s strengths lie in building relationships of mutual respect and shared vision.
Phil oversees Tearfund’s work in 18 countries, engaging more than 60 partner organisations as they enable communities to overcome the injustice of poverty. He leads a team focused on strengthening capacity, tracking program effectiveness, encouraging innovation and research, and delivering community transformation outcomes. The team also work in partnership with global alliances, including Integral, and the Micah Network.
Australian Program Director
Paul brings faith and theological insight to his role focusing on engaging Christians in Australia. With theological qualifications and church-based experience, Paul is passionate about empowering Christians across a wide variety of churches to make biblically-shaped responses to justice and poverty issues. His role encompasses church engagement, advocacy, communications and education, as well as raising the funds needed to support Tearfund’s international program. He leads a team engaged with Christians, enabling them to live out their faith through prayer, lifestyle, learning, speaking out and giving. The team support our donors, volunteers, and hundreds of churches. Paul is also the Director of the Justice Conference.
People & Culture Director
Karen brings over 20 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector to the Human Resources role overseeing the management of people at Tearfund, which includes staff and volunteers in Australia, and volunteers and consultants placed with overseas partners. With knowledge gained from Human Resources, accounting, business management, training, senior leadership and governance roles, Karen facilitates excellence and professionalism and care across recruitment, induction, staff learning and development, performance management, safety, employee wellbeing and leadership development. Karen is passionate about ‘purpose-filled’ work, engaging and equipping all people at Tearfund to express our value for the whole person, empowering them so that Tearfund may optimally achieve its mission.
With a background in human rights law and not-for-profit leadership, Jo uses her skills to foster social change and challenge injustice. Jo leads Tearfund’s advocacy campaigns around poverty and a changing climate that put the tools and solutions in the hands of ordinary people. With a view to the bigger picture of injustice systems, Jo helps churches and individuals work together in powerful and impactful ways towards the changes that are needed. Tearfund’s advocacy work is done through collective efforts, collaborating with others such as Renew Our World, Micah Australia, Campaign for Australian Aid and Change the Record.
South Asia Program Coordinator
Kelly leads the team responsible for partnerships and projects in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Kelly supports the team to stay connected with recent developments and best practice working in complex environments, including a special interest in disability inclusion. Her team oversees Tearfund’s partnerships with Christian organisations working with very marginal communities in some of the world’s most difficult places, and straddles both long-term development programs and emergency relief and recovery programs. She co-founded Melbourne Development Circle and is a lead organiser for the Women in Development Network.
Ashley has a long history with Tearfund Australia providing oversight and direction to the finance and administration team. He brings in-depth knowledge of best-practice in providing financial support to our international partners across Asia, Africa and the Pacific. Ashley enables his team to maintain Tearfund’s commitment to low-cost administration while providing high standards of financial services across the organisation.
Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary
James brings his commercial experience as a finance executive to a role focused on organisational management and performance. He provides strategic insights and direction to areas of risk, financial management and IT. His team are responsible for delivering high standards of customer service, IT, administration and finance across Tearfund’s programs.