Born in Mandeville Jamaica and raised in the Bronx, NY, Rev. Nicholas Richards is a dynamic minister, social justice advocate, international leader and social entrepreneur. An alumnus of Morehouse Cllege, Richards earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Philosophy, as well as a certificate in International Human Rights from The University of Cape Town. In 2009, Rev. Richards received his Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary.
Since 2008, Rev. Richards has served at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in several capacities, starting as a youth minister and currently serving as assistant minister. During his tenure, he founded the Abyssinian Fund, an NGO that provides training and capital market access for Ethiopian coffee farmers. Abyssinian Fund is the first Ethiopian NGO to be started by an African-American church and has provided $1 million for farmer training and equipment, reaching over 5,000 Ethiopian farmers and residents. As an economic extension of the Fund, the farmers' coffee will be sold in grocery stores across New York later this year.
While at Abyssinian, Richards has also been the catalyst for launching other international initiatives—most notably for the Haiti earthquake relief efforts in 2010, where he led the church in raising funds to support disaster relief efforts and planned a trip for volunteers to assist with urgent care centers around Port-au-Prince. In addition to his work in Haiti, Rev. Richards has also been instrumental in building the first all-girls secondary school in the eastern Kenyan province of Mwingi, which was recognized by the Kenyan government as one of the best schools in the country.
Currently, Rev. Nicholas Richards also serves as the Executive Secretary of The Foreign Mission Board for The National Baptist Convention USA Inc—the largest African-American organization in the world. As the international envoy for the Convention, Rev. Richards provides leadership for mission programs and personnel in countries across Africa, Central America and the Caribbean. Richards' current work with the Foreign Mission Board includes a long-term effort to rebuild a previously war-torn church and community center in Monrovia, Liberia. In addition, he is working to launch French tutorial centers in Conakry, with classes designed to assist native Guineans with acquiring basic language skills so they may better engage in day-to-day life.
Rev. Richards has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and NBC News and is a frequent guest lecturer at colleges and universities across the country. He is the recipient of the Andrew Goodman Foundation's Hidden Heroes Award, Union Theological Seminary's Trailblazers Award, Morehouse College's Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers, as well as the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Program Excellence Award.