Anne Grizzle is a member of World Vision's National Leadership Council. This is her story.
When she was a girl, Anne Grizzle’s father taught her that every person, no matter how vulnerable, was worth noticing and honoring. Weekly, he would load Mr. Farmer, in his wheelchair, into the family’s red VW van to help the Farmer family get to church. Her father knew the name of the man who collected neighborhood trash. Anne’s father worked at a rehab center, and one summer he invited her to work there, too. Another summer she worked with a social worker in her small Southern town, where she met families without running water.
Eyes open, Anne earned her B.S. in psychology and social relations from Harvard and her master’s in social work from Columbia University. As a result of her father’s influence, Anne notes, “I naturally sought to live my life with those who had less. My first job after social work school was working in Harlem with families whose children were at risk of foster care placement.”
Although she’d witnessed poverty in America, Anne’s heart was gripped by the plight of the desperately poor when she visited Aramasi, a small city in Bolivia outside of Cochabamba. There, families, without access to adequate food, washed and drank out of one dirty river. Families with few resources received orphans off the street. And though they expected these children to die, many recovered when showered with love and care. While in Bolivia, Anne recognized that the poorest Americans have access to water and education and healthcare. And her heart was captured by the beauty of those she met who lived with so little.
Today, Anne and her husband David are both active in the National Leadership Council. Yet she reports, “Jesus swept me off my feet with love long before my husband did.” As a result, Anne treasures quiet times of deep prayer with the One she calls her Beloved. As someone who values community where people engage authentically from the heart, she uses the gifts God has given her to pray for and encourage, in her words, “the magnificent, hard-working, sometimes weary philanthropy team.” She’s also passionate about building relationships among National Leadership Council members, through prayer and shared work to eliminate extreme poverty. On Vision Trips, in regional gatherings, and at the national conference, Anne seeks personal connections that build a community that is fun and focused.
Each morning when Anne grinds her coffee beans, at her home in Washington, DC, she remembers a woman named Maria (pictured above with her children and Anne and David) whom she met in Honduras. When Anne asked Maria why World Vision’s THRIVE program was important, the wife and mother responded with fierce conviction. Maria reported that THRIVE prevented her children, and other children of her country, from migrating out of Honduras—often dying during the hazardous exodus—and allowed them to stay and build a future in their own country.
God’s love for the poor was knit into Anne’s heart through her father’s witness. Today, that love continues to flourish in Anne’s life.