New president of Promise Keepers predicts expansion

Posted: Friday, October 10, 2003

DENVER (AP) The new president of Promise Keepers said the evangelical Christian group plans to expand to other countries and launch new programs as attendance at its stadium events declines.

Thomas Fortson, named last week to succeed founder and president Bill McCartney, said the organization will complement its bigger gatherings with new, smaller seminars on finances, fatherhood and other topics.

Arena tours are planned for 17 cities next year.

In the next decade, Promise Keepers also hopes to expand internationally. It already has offices in South Africa, New Zealand and Canada, but wants to create a presence in other African nations, along with parts of South America and Asia, Fortson said.

Promise Keepers drew 1 million people annually to its events at stadiums in the mid-1990s, but attendance has dropped in recent years. The group's budget fell from $117 million in 1997 to $27 million this year.

McCartney, 63, resigned as president Sept. 9 to care for his ailing wife. He founded the group in 1990 while still football coach at the University of Colorado.

Fortson, 55, has managed Promise Keepers' operations and administration since 1996, and previously worked for General Motors and Edwards Baking Co. in Atlanta.

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