She led transformational change and growth at the agency
by Board of Pensions | Special to Presbyterian News Service
PHILADELPHIA — Linda Jacobsen, Executive Vice President, Engagement and Community Relations, has announced that she will retire from the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), effective July 1. Her retirement from the Board marks more than 15 years of service to the Church both as an employee of the Board of Pensions and as a member of the agency’s Board of Directors during a time of transformational change.
Jacobsen joined the Board staff in 2016 as the agency was introducing a redesigned Benefits Plan to serve more employers and members. “Under Linda’s leadership, our membership has grown significantly and become more diverse — meaning more people have had access to benefits that support wholeness,” said the Rev. Dr. Frank Clark Spencer, agency President.
Upon Jacobsen’s retirement, Andrew J. Browne, Senior Vice President, Church Engagement, will succeed her as Executive Vice President, Engagement and Community Relations. Browne currently oversees the Board’s engagement with PC(USA) employers and caucus groups, and PC(USA)-affiliated employers.
Jacobsen, a ruling elder at Old Pine Street Church (Third Scots and Mariners Presbyterian Church), a 250-year-old congregation in Philadelphia, joined the Board in the role of Vice President, Growth Strategies and Solutions, overseeing the expansion of the redesigned Benefits Plan options among PC(USA)-affiliated employers. She established and nurtured partnerships with these employers — schools and colleges, seminaries, healthcare facilities, retirement communities, and camps and conference centers — who began offering benefits through the Board, ultimately driving growth in membership in the Benefits Plan.
Embodying the connectional nature of the Church, Jacobsen also established strong partnerships between the Board and PC(USA) organizations such as the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities, Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association, and the Presbyterian Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.
Jacobsen assumed her current role at the Board in 2021, providing leadership and strategic direction to a newly created division, Engagement and Community Relations, which develops relationships with affiliate and church employers. The creation of this division — which encompasses the Church Engagement team, Education, the Assistance Program, and Marketing and Communications — positioned the Board to continue to grow membership in the Benefits Plan and to better serve the Church.
“Outreach to the church is critical to the Board developing innovative plans and programs and serving the most people possible,” said Spencer. “Linda’s deep roots in the Presbyterian Church, along with her expertise in strategic relationship management, have led to successful partnerships with employers, many of whom returned to the Church benefits plan after leaving it years ago.”
Under Jacobsen’s leadership, the Assistance Program expanded access — meaning more members of the Benefits Plan may be eligible to receive important financial support. Similarly, the expansion of education programs provided more opportunities, both virtual and in person, for lifelong learning, in support of employee well-being. A new team, Ministry Innovation, was established as part of the Board’s commitment to provide strength and stability for the changing Church. This team is cultivating relationships that inform the Board’s development of innovative programs to meet diverse needs and helping expand the reach of services and existing programs, such as dues incentives, to communities of color. And the consolidation of the communications and marketing function under Engagement and Community Relations has ensured consistent messaging so that all members know about and can access the benefits and programs offered through the Board.
All teams under Jacobsen’s leadership have been instrumental in preparing the Board of Pensions as it enters a season of rebuilding — an initiative in which the agency is committed to assessing and restructuring the Benefits Plan to meet the needs of the changing Church and to serve the most people possible.
“Growing our relationships with employers, both churches and affiliated employers, has provided important access to Board of Pensions offerings to more ministers and employees,” said Jacobsen. “I have valued deeply this opportunity to serve the Church.”
About the Board of Pensions
The Board of Pensions is a nonprofit agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The agency partners with PC(USA) churches, agencies, and affiliated employers — including educational institutions, camps and conference centers, retirement and senior housing communities, and human service organizations — to offer robust benefits and services to more than 65,000 individuals. As a nonprofit defined by faith, the Board of Pensions supports mutual care and wholeness. It’s joined a sustainable and churchwide commitment to address racism and systemic injustice.
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