About our Organization & Leadership

Our Scope

Empowering local leaders in low-income countries is best done through education and entrepreneurship that meet real needs.

Our Strategy

Helping others help themselves brings dignity and worth. Our priority is engaging in strategic and sustainable field projects.

Our Synergy

Our network of field partners has engaged in 182 projects throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Central America.

The Organization

LEAD is a U.S. nonprofit organization registered in the state of Michigan. As a public charity, LEAD is recognized by the U.S. IRS as a tax-exempt organization since its founding in 2002. All gifts and grants are tax-deductible to a donor.

Our President

Dr. Phil McDonald is an author, speaker and since 2004, the president of Leader Empowerment And Development, Inc. (LEAD). With thirty-five years of work experience in thirty-eight countries, McDonald has helped set up or empower more than 150 overseas development projects on five continents.

Our Field Partners


Our growth in new field partners and projects came through referrals from a core group of trusted friends on different continents. Since 2006, a small staff of four American international program directors, speaking eleven foreign languages, allowed LEAD to experience rapid growth by developing partnerships in twenty-one countries.

More about the organization

In 2002, a retired youth camp director founded LEAD as a nonprofit corporation with a program emphasis of providing scholarships to doctoral students from Myanmar. After 2004 LEAD grew by expanding international programs and raising a transformational grant to develop the headquarters office in America. The governing board is made up of professionals, all with many years of work experience in nonprofit organizations and in-depth knowledge gained from serving on other nonprofit boards. An independent audit is conducted each year by an outside CPA firm specializing in nonprofit audits. In 2007, LEAD received permanent status as an IRS approved nonprofit public charity.

More about our president

The board of directors appointed Dr. Phil McDonald as president with the understanding the organization would grow through the president’s extensive network of field partners on several continents. Although McDonald previously served as a lecturer, professor, and academic dean, his focus became helping field partners help themselves by creating sustainable enterprises.