In 2008, Bill Ryerson became CEO of the Population Institute (PI), an organization that advocates for the family planning resources that are essential to addressing trends in population growth throughout the developing world, where population growth is often cited as a catalyst of migration (both immigration and emigration). PI is a nonprofit that receives its funding from individual donations as well as contributions from corporate supporters. The migration of people from country to country is sometimes considered a challenge, as immigration and emigration can change the political balance. Population growth may also stress local resources. William Ryerson’s organization seeks to tackle the challenges of population growth.
Before his time at the PI, Bill Ryerson founded the Population Media Center in 1998. Based in Shelburne, Vermont, the Population Media Center employs entertainment in the service of social advocacy. The organization’s philosophy is rooted in the Sabido Method, which makes use of broadcasted dramas to bring about change in the ideas of viewers. As characters transform from the beginning of the drama to the end, the people viewing the drama experience a change of internal attitude, according to the theory. In this way, social advocates such as William Ryerson can reach audiences in the developing world by introducing topics like AIDS awareness and family planning into formats usually reserved for pure entertainment.
In addition to his career endeavoring for positive change through family planning, Bill Ryerson prepared himself to engage the complexities of world affairs by pursuing his education. He was awarded his Bachelor of Arts from Amherst College and received his Master of Philosophy in Biology from Yale University in 1970. Education remained a constant theme throughout his life. Both the PI and the Population Media Center list among their major goals the education of people in the developing world as concerns their reproductive health and the progress of their families.