New CEO brings 20 years experience in international nonprofit leadership and development to Ghost Ranch

This leadership transition ushers in a bright new chapter of impact for the 21,000-acre world-renowned education and retreat center in New Mexico.

David Evans will begin his role as chief executive officer at Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center on Jan. 15, 2024. (Photo courtesy of Ghost Ranch)

Abiquiu, NM, November 27, 2023 — Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center, related to the Presbyterian Church (USA), has announced the appointment of David Evans as Chief Executive Officer beginning January 15, 2024. A seasoned nonprofit leader, Evans brings over 20 years of experience in international nonprofit leadership and development to the role. His career is marked by social and environmental justice, humanitarian aid, and community empowerment around the globe including the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the American Northwest.

“Ghost Ranch is on the threshold of a new era, following a year of transition,” shared The Rev. Dr. Tim Hart-Andersen, President of the National Ghost Ranch Foundation (NGRF) Board. “David Evans will bring to the Ranch unique leadership savvy and experience to take us into that new chapter. The future of Ghost Ranch looks bright!”

Evans said, “Ghost Ranch is not just a place; it’s where my passion for exploration and community was kindled. As a child, the Chimney Rock trail was a tough challenge that helped me learn so much about myself. Now, as CEO, my aspiration is for every visitor to Ghost Ranch to discover their own spark of curiosity, embrace difficulties, and experience rejuvenation.”

Evans’ experience includes executive leadership in complex situations and multicultural organizations, managing teams, and working to maximize nonprofit budgets. He began his career in fund development at Mercy Corps and has since served as director, head of office, regional director, and country director for various initiatives. Most recently, Evans served as the Mekong Regional Director at EarthRights International and Country Director at Muslim Aid in Myanmar, two roles which required passionate advocacy, steady leadership, and creative problem-solving to address human rights crises.

“David combines deep experience with leading large and small teams in complex international contexts with a passion for conservation, humanitarian aid, and the arts,” said Chris Kempes, board member and search chair. “I couldn’t be more excited for David to lead Ghost Ranch into its next phase.” In partnership with other senior staff members, Evans will develop a strategic vision for the long-term financial and environmental sustainability of Ghost Ranch.

“What impressed me the most is David’s passion for social justice, the environment, and desire to build relationships with people in Rio Arriba County and beyond, all of which aligns with our mission and values,” said The Rev. Byron Wade, General Presbyter-Presbytery of Western North Carolina and member of the NGRF Search Committee. “I am looking forward to his leadership!”

As a child, Evans visited Ghost Ranch with his family, who were active in the Presbyterian Church (USA). At the Ranch, Evans’ mother taught workshops, his father participated in seminars, his sister joined the summer college staff, and he himself developed a love for exploration and community. This connection strengthens Evans’ leadership expertise with a deep love of the Ranch. The NGRF Board is enthusiastic and unanimous in their appointment of Evans and looks forward to emerging from a year of transition to become stronger than ever and well-positioned for future years of service.

About Ghost Ranch: Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center encompasses 21,000 acres in northern New Mexico. At the ranch, guests experience quiet contemplation, music and art, spiritual centering, fascinating museums, natural beauty, and physical activity. Ghost Ranch was a home and studio of Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as the subject of many of her paintings. Ghost Ranch is operated by The National Ghost Ranch Foundation and owned by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Learn more at

Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center is on 21,000 scenic acres in northern New Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Ghost Ranch)

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Presbyterian Outlook.