Current Status: Alumni
Graduation Year: 2013
A link in Steve Corbett’s book, “When Helping Hurts,” initially piqued Scott Cunningham’s (MBA ’13) interest to Food for the Hungry, a non-profit that serves those in poverty in more than 20 countries. “It really resonated with me—the idea of going beyond good intentions.” Although Scott and Kyleen were initially drawn to serve in Columbia, God nudged them to Nicaragua instead.
Scott Cunningham served at Food for the Hungry (FH) in Chinandega, Nicaragua, for four years. He worked in pastoral and staff training as the Director of Staff and Community Development while simultaneously earning his MBA in International Development from HIU. Scott earned his undergraduate degree at a secular school, so he wanted to experience learning from a Christian perspective. “My HIU professors were knowledgeable and helped me to develop my skills in and out of the virtual classroom,” Scott says of his online education.
Of his experiences at FH, Scott most enjoyed being able to sit down with a group of El Limonal women in in Chinandega and teach them how to budget their money. He recalls, “They would come to me and say, ‘Guess what! I didn’t buy cola this week and now I have more money!’”
In 2015, the Cunninghams made a transition to work with a sister nonprofit in Chinandega, Amigos for Christ, where Scott currently works as a Director of Strategy and Innovation. The goal of Amigos for Christ is to facilitate leadership, water, health, education, and economic development in rural Nicaraguan communities that ultimately leads to making Christ visible within their works. Scott says he is the “nerd” of the workforce, analyzing data to “check if what we’re doing is really working and helping people.”
In December of 2018, Amigos for Christ inaugurated a water system that will provide 200 families with in-home running water. Scott emphasizes that “when you’re out serving, put yourself in others’ position and ask yourself how YOU would like the problem solved. Community wells are great, but if we can gather the community and work together to provide in-house plumbing, let’s do that!”
Scott began his career in ministry at a mega-church in Plymouth, Michigan. He served in various pastoral roles there for eight years. Scott and his wife, Kyleen had two daughters during their time in Michigan and have since added two more to their family – as Nicaraguan dual citizens.