Ward Brehm

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Ward Brehm is a Minnesota entrepreneur, leader in African humanitarian efforts and nationally known public speaker and commentator on relief and development in Africa.[1]


In 2010, Brehm was appointed by President Obama to serve as a member of the United States African Development Foundation ("USADF").[2] He had previously been appointed chairman of USADF in 2004 by President Bush, and he served in that role until the expiration of his term in 2008.[3]

Since serving on the USADF board, Brehm has represented the United States as part of three presidential delegations to the African continent, having attended the inaugurations of the presidents of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Benin,[4][5] as well the Leon Sullivan Summit in Tanzania, at which 47 nations were represented.[6]

In 2008, Brehm was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal – the country's second-highest civilian honor – for his work in Africa at an Oval Office ceremony.[7]

Brehm brought his message as an advocate for the poor in Africa to the 2008 National Prayer Breakfast, where he gave the keynote address before an audience including the U.S. President, First Lady, foreign heads of state, most members of Congress and the Washington diplomatic community. Brehm was the first person from the business community to ever be asked by Congress to address this annual gathering in Washington DC.[8]

Since then, Brehm has been a regular on the African development speaking circuit, bringing his message of hope for a more prosperous Africa to the White House, USAID and prayer breakfasts all over the country.[9]

Brehm also continues to serve as an unofficial diplomat, quietly behind the scenes connecting African and American leaders. He has also brought policymakers together from both sides of the aisle in Washington to unite and support African development initiatives. He has befriended numerous leaders in Africa and has helped facilitate small groups of praying leaders in many African nations.

He is the author of two books on his experiences in Africa, Life Through A Different Lens and White Man Walking.[10] He has a third work which will be published later in 2016.

Brehm also serves on the board of directors for the American Refugee Committee, which works with refugee communities around the world helping the afflicted regain control of their lives. [1]. At ARC, he helped the organization partner with USAID to found Asili, a revolutionary program designed to use free market tools to help delivering clean water, medical care and nutrition to the world’s poorest regions. This innovative model is currently being tested in Eastern Congo, with the hope to scale and expand all across Africa.[11]

Recently retired, Ward Brehm is now a full-time philanthropist. In his former professional life, he was the founder and chairman of The Brehm Group, Inc., a Twin Cities insurance consulting firm. He and his wife, Kris, live in Wayzata, Minnesota.