The Salvation Army Honors Longtime Supporters and Donors Jerre and Mary Joy Stead
Jerre and Mary Joy Stead are natives of Mukoqueta, Iowa. Married in 1961, they turned down full scholarships to other universities so that they could attend the University of Iowa together. The Steads lived Jerre & Mary Joy Stead in a trailer court while they attended college, and they started a family that would eventually include two sons, Joel and Jay. Yet even in those early years, Jerre and Mary Joy made a commitment to giving as a way of helping others become successful.
After earning his business administration degree, Jerre went on to a long and storied career as the founder and leader of several corporations. Now serving as the Executive Chairman and CEO for Clarivate PLC, he is universally admired and respected for his transformational leadership style and an unwavering commitment to strong values and ethics. Mary Joy has dedicated her life to raising public-spirited children and is deeply involved with a wide variety of philanthropic endeavors.
In addition to their professional pursuits, Jerre and Mary Joy have served on many non-profit boards and committees. For example, Mary Joy is currently a member of the Western Territorial Advisory Board. Jerre, who is in fact the great-great-nephew of W.T. Stead, the Victorian journalist who was one of William Booth's earliest supporters and best known for the "Maiden Tribute" campaign, is Chairman of the Board for Garrett Evangelical Seminary. He also sits on the boards of the American Writers Museum and Guideposts.
The Steads have enthusiastically supported The Salvation Army through their generous gifts, an endowment for leadership development at the Western Territory's College for Officer Training, and by initiating and funding the Healthy Start program at Kroc centers across the nation.
W.T. Stead was born in 1849, the son of a Congregational minister, in Northumberland, England. He began his newspaper career in 1871, focusing on social issues, including women's suffrage. In 1880, Stead began working for the Pall Mall Gazette, "a great tribune for the poor," and came into contact with The Salvation Army and William and Catherine Booth. Stead worked with Booth on "In Darkest England," Booth's plan for social services. Stead later wrote a biography of Catherine Booth after her death.
In 1885, Stead and Bramwell Booth wanted to expose the child slavery and prostitution industries in England. In an effort to prove the need for societal and legislative change, they organized a plan to show how easy it was to exploit a child into sex trafficking and purchased a young woman. He was jailed for three months and proudly wore his prison uniform even after his release. This and other efforts led to raising the age of consent through the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885.
Having tragically lost his life on the Titanic, he was best remembered by his contemporaries not only for his devotion to the international peace movement, but also for his advocacy of women’s rights, defense of civil liberties, and concern for the deprived and oppressed.
We are honored to dedicate the Stead Conference Room at our national headquarters. The Steads will forever be part of The Salvation Army's history and mission!