Minister for youth.
Devoted husband and father of six.
By any measure, J.C. Watts has had an impressive life of leadership and service. Now he adds a new role to an already striking list: President and Chief Executive Officer of Feed the Children.
We couldn’t be more proud to have Watts join us as our new president and CEO. He will begin his duties on February 1. Watts is a native son of Oklahoma, and divides his time between Oklahoma (also site of our headquarters) and Washington D.C.
After a careful search lasting many months, the board of directors, with help from the trusted talent acquisition company CarterBaldwin, found Watts to be the best candidate, with his unique background and overarching knowledge in both politics and business. His experience serving others domestically and abroad, defending human rights, and combatting global poverty position him as the perfect leader for our organization.
“I am delighted and honored to join Feed the Children,” said Watts. “We will fight to eliminate hunger and provide resources to make it possible for people to climb out of poverty and become capable of supporting themselves.”
Through Watts’s travels to impoverished countries, he has seen poverty first hand and feels a calling to help those in need. He believes in rebuilding individuals and providing them the tools needed for long-term success, rather than a short-term handout, when possible.
Watts has extensive experience in helping others nationally and internationally. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1994 and served Oklahoma’s 4th district in that capacity until 2003. In 1998 he was elected by his peers in Congress to serve as chairman of the Republican Conference, the fourth-ranking leadership position in the party.
But Watts’s service extends way past the halls of Capitol Hill. Prior to his election to Congress, Watts was Oklahoma Corporation Commission chairman and a youth minister. Watts created the J.C. and Frankie Watts Foundation to support the advancement of vulnerable Americans in the areas of education, economics and health. He led two congressional trade missions to Africa. He co-founded and co-chaired the Coalition for AIDS Relief in Africa and served on the board of the Corporate Council on Africa. He has also served on the boards of the Boy Scouts of America and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Watts will maintain his role as chairman of Watts Partners, and management of his other businesses, while at the helm of Feed the Children.
Watts was born on November 18, 1957, in Eufaula, Oklahoma. He graduated from Eufaula High School in 1976 and attended the University of Oklahoma until his graduation in 1981 with a B.A. in journalism. While at the University of Oklahoma, he was quarterback for the Sooners. From 1981 to 1986, he started for Ottawa and Toronto in the Canadian Football League. After completing his football career, Watts returned to Oklahoma to become youth minister at Sunnylane Baptist Church in Del City.
We couldn’t be more excited to have Watts at the helm. In 2014, Feed the Children distributed $266 million in food, essentials, educational supplies, and medicine, impacting close to 9 million individuals in the nation. Internationally, we distributed more than $78 million in food, essentials, educational supplies, and medicine to children worldwide. Through the support of dedicated donors, Feed the Children sponsored more than 11,500 children, addressing the root causes of poverty through child sponsorship, school sponsorship, and other community-based program and project activities.
We celebrate every one of those accomplishments. But we’re not done, not by a long shot. With Watts at the helm, the sky’s the limit. We envision a world where kids can be kids—and we look forward to this next chapter for our organization.