About Us

SIL LEAD is a faith-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping local, community-based organizations use their own languages to improve their quality of life. We manage internationally funded projects that connect language communities with those who serve them. We believe in a world where all peoples have a voice in their own development—in their own words.


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SIL LEAD brings together people and institutions around shared goals for internationally funded projects. SIL LEAD works in partnership with SIL International, a nonprofit organization that works alongside approximately 1,500 minority language communities and publishes the Ethnologue: Languages of the World, a catalog of the world’s 7,105 living languages. Leveraging this expertise, and a network of other local partners, SIL LEAD makes it easier for communities to use their own language to reach their goals.

SIL LEAD is also a member of the Basic Education Coalition (BEC) and the CCIH Network - Christian Connections in International Health.


 Paul Frank, Executive Director

Paul Frank, Executive Director

Paul Frank, PhD, is SIL LEAD’s Executive Director. As one of SIL LEAD’s founders, Paul brings 30 years of experience working with language issues in developing country contexts. Prior to leading SIL LEAD, Paul was the Director of International Relations and Vice President for Academic Affairs for SIL International. For 17 years, he implemented and led language development fieldwork in Colombia for SIL. Paul has also served as a board member for SIL International for three years. He holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania.

 Clare O'Leary, Director of Community-Based Programs

Clare O'Leary, Director of Community-Based Programs

Clare O’Leary (Director of Community-Based Programs)  co-founded SIL LEAD and brings over thirty years of experience in linguistics and education to her current role. Clare earned a PhD in sociolinguistics from Georgetown University in 1988 and from 2006 to 2016 served as the Associate Executive Director for SIL International. There she oversaw, managed, and supported ten Area Directors as they coordinated and lead language-based development work in Africa, Asia, Eurasia, the Pacific, and the Americas. From 2010 to early 2017, Clare served on the Board of Directors for SIL LEAD, and joined the organization in her current capacity in May, 2017. She keeps up her teaching by volunteering locally with a wonderful community of ESL students from all over the world.


Our faith and values are integral to how we approach development. Based on our understanding of God and his character, we are motivated by these values:

Equality - We believe that all people are equal and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, irrespective of gender, race, religion, nationality, or ethnicity.

Compassion - We strive to express our compassion and love for others through practical actions, serving others with humility. We have a special concern for the poor and the marginalized.

Excellence - We believe that all people deserve our best work, and therefore we diligently strive for excellence in all we do.

We offer our services to all without discrimination and work in conformity with the USAID Rule for Participation by Religious Organizations.


We strive for the highest standards of corporate governance, program effectiveness, and financial transparency. 


SIL LEAD's board is comprised of thought leaders and practitioners from the linguistics, philanthropy, and international development communities.  

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Financial Information

Find audited financial statements as well as a summary of our first full year of operations. 

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Find our organization's policy documents on Combating Trafficking in Persons here. 

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