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Meet our New Executive Director, Greg Schleppenbach

August  16th,  2022

Tell us about yourself, Greg

I grew up in a small town in northeast Nebraska, the youngest of eleven children in a pretty devout Catholic family. I graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1986 with a degree in business administration and then worked in the human resources field for five years before being hired as the director of pro-life activities for the three bishops of Nebraska.

My path to pro-life work started in 1973 when my mom started one of the first local pro-life chapters in Nebraska following Roe v. Wade. Having grown up in a home where pro-life activism was vibrant, I got involved in Students for Life while in college and then stayed involved in pro-life activities after graduation. As director of the Nebraska bishops’ pro-life office for 23 years, I built a grassroots network of pro-life coordinators in parishes throughout Nebraska and developed and directed educational, pastoral, liturgical, and public policy programs and activities. In 2014, I was hired by the Nebraska bishops to serve as Executive Director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference where I directed the bishops’ public policy efforts for the next two and a half years.

In 2016, I accepted the position of Associate Director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. In this position, my focus was largely on directing the federal pro-life policy efforts of the U.S. Bishops. I held this position for six years until August of 2022 when I started as Executive Director of The Culture Project.

Most importantly, I met and married Jacqueline Halbig late into my 40s. In 2012, we were introduced by a couple we both know and we dated long distance (between Nebraska and the Washington, D.C. area) until we were married on November 29, 2013. Having met each other so late in life, Jacqueline and I have a passion for helping young Catholic people find good and holy spouses!

How do you see The Culture Project as a part of the Pro-Life Movement?

Having worked for more than 30 years battling the “supply side” of the abortion problem, it quickly became clear that addressing the “demand side” was equally, if not more, important. Pope St. John Paul II emphasized this reality so clearly and compellingly in Evangelium vitae in which he said, “it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not help the young to accept and experience sexuality and love and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.”

This admonition comes from a modern-day saint who clearly knew and engaged young people in a unique and compelling way. Likewise, as an initiative of young people, The Culture Project uniquely responds to Pope St. John Paul’s admonition with a compelling and transformative peer-to-peer engagement of young people that helps them experience virtue, embrace human dignity, and live sexual integrity. Therefore, The Culture Project’s mission is essential to the effort to “build a true culture of human life”

In your opinion, what makes The Culture Project different from other mission organizations?

A unique and critical characteristic of The Culture Project is its emphasis on peer-to-peer engagement. As young people embedded in the dioceses they serve, CP missionaries are uniquely able to resonate with, engage, and disciple high school and middle school students through compelling presentations and one-to-one relationship building. 

In addition, by focusing on the topics of human dignity, sexual integrity, and the influence of social media, The Culture Project exposes young people to an authentic vision of the human person so they can distinguish it from the counterfit vision of the culture of death.

Any words of encouragement?

Our society’s degradation of the human person and human sexuality is shockingly on display everywhere one turns.  The vision and mission of The Culture Project has never been more critically needed and I have no doubt that it is inspired by God. The foundation that has been laid at The Culture Project by Cristina Barba Whalen and her amazing team, and the consequential, positive impact it has already had in just
8 short years is nothing short of extraordinary. But we can—and must—do more and do it better because the need is so great. In the coming months, I will be working with my amazing colleagues to “look under the hood” at every aspect of the work we do to identify and implement new ways to effect transformational impact on generations to come!

Meet our New Executive Director, Greg Schleppenbach
The Culture Project
The Culture Project

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