Catholic Relief Services

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Catholic Relief Services
CRS logo
Founded1943
FounderUnited States Conference of Catholic Bishops
TypeHumanitarian aid
135563422
Location
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Carolyn Y. Woo,
President
Most Reverend Paul Stagg Coakley, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oklahoma City,
Chairman of the Board
Revenue
US$ $918 million (2010) [1]
Employees
5,211[2]
SloganFaith. Action. Results.
Websitehttp://www.crs.org/
 
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Catholic Relief Services
CRS logo
Founded1943
FounderUnited States Conference of Catholic Bishops
TypeHumanitarian aid
135563422
Location
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Carolyn Y. Woo,
President
Most Reverend Paul Stagg Coakley, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oklahoma City,
Chairman of the Board
Revenue
US$ $918 million (2010) [1]
Employees
5,211[2]
SloganFaith. Action. Results.
Websitehttp://www.crs.org/

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. Founded in 1943 by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, the agency provides assistance to 130 million people in more than 90 countries and territories in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. A member of Caritas International, the worldwide network of Catholic humanitarian agencies, CRS provides relief in emergency situations and helps people in the developing world break the cycle of poverty through community-based, sustainable development initiatives as well as Peacebuilding. Assistance is based solely on need, not race, creed or nationality. Catholic Relief Services is headquartered in the Posner Building in Baltimore, Maryland, while operating numerous field offices on five continents. CRS has approximately 5,000 employees around the world. The agency is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of 12 clergy (most of them bishops) and 7 lay people.[3]

History[edit]

Initially founded as the War Relief Services, the agency’s original purpose was to aid the refugees of war-torn Europe. A confluence of events in the mid 1950s — the end of colonial rule in many countries, the continuing support of the American Catholic community and the availability of food and financial resources from the U.S. Government — helped CRS expand operations. Its name was officially changed to Catholic Relief Services in 1955, and over the next 10 years it opened 25 country programs in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. CRS's executive director during this period (1947–1976) was Bishop Edward E. Swanstrom.[4]

As the agency grew, its programming focus widened, adapting to meet the needs of the post-World War II Roman Catholic Church and the circumstances of the people it encountered. In the 1970s and 1980s, programs that began as simple distributions of food, clothing and medicines to the poor evolved toward socio-economic development. By the late 1980s, health care, nutrition education, micro enterprise and agriculture had become major focuses of CRS programming.[citation needed]

In the mid-1990s, CRS went through a significant institutional transformation. In 1993, CRS officials embarked on a strategic planning effort to clarify the mission and identity of the agency. Soon after, the 1994 massacre in Rwanda – in which more than 800,000 people were killed – led CRS staff to reevaluate how they implemented their relief and development programs, particularly in places experiencing or at high risk of ethnic conflict. After a period of institutional reflection, CRS embraced a vision of global solidarity and incorporated a justice-centered focus into all of its programming, using Catholic social teaching as a guide.[4]

All programming is evaluated according to a set of social justice criteria called the Justice Lens. In terms of programming, CRS now evaluates not just whether its interventions are effective and sustainable, but whether they might have a negative impact on social or economic relationships in a community.[citation needed]

Activities[edit]

CRS programming includes Promoting human development by responding to major emergencies, fighting disease and poverty and nurturing peaceful and just societies

Serving Catholics in the United States as they live their faith in solidarity with their brothers and sisters around the world

Overseas[edit]

Overseas work is done in partnership with local church agencies, other faith-based partners, non-governmental organizations and local governments. CRS emphasizes the empowerment of partners and beneficiaries in programming decisions. Program examples include:

In the United States[edit]

The agency has also made engaging the U.S. Catholic population a priority. CRS is seeking to help Catholics more actively live their faith and build global solidarity. Program examples include:

Catholic Relief Services serves as a leading member of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a Washington D.C.-based coalition of over 400 major companies and NGOs that advocates for increased funding of American diplomatic and development efforts abroad.[11]

Emergency Responses[edit]

2004 Indian Ocean earthquake[edit]

As part of the massive, worldwide humanitarian response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, Catholic Relief Services donated $190 million to fund a five-year relief and reconstruction effort to help 600,000 victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.

2010 Haiti earthquake[edit]

Catholic Relief Services has served in Haiti since 1954. Over 50 years of experience allowed CRS to respond to the earthquake immediately and has positioned the agency to be a key development actor as the country rebuilds. The agency works through a broad network of partners, including the Catholic Church in Haiti.[12]

CRS is fostering local leadership and helping communities develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to build local capacity so that Haitians drive their own recovery.[13] CRS has committed to a $200 million, 5-year earthquake recovery program in partnership with more than 200 local organizations, focusing on community revitalization and shelter, health, water and sanitation, and protection.[14]

Highlights of the recovery programming include the $22.5 million reconstruction of St. Francois de Sales Hospital in Port-au-Prince, in partnership with the Catholic Health Association of the United States, turning the facility into a 200-bed teaching hospital; the Catholic Education Initiative, focused on building a vibrant Catholic school system throughout Haiti; and the development of innovative approaches for transforming camps into permanent housing communities, beginning with the construction of 125 housing units at Camp Carradeux.

Syrian Refugees[edit]

Since the civil war in Syria began in March, 2011, CRS has been working with their church partners in Lebanon Jordan and Egypt to provide urgent medical assistance, hygiene and living supplies, counseling and support for the nearly 1 million Syrian refugees who are children. Most now live in unfamiliar and uncomfortable surroundings, unable to attend local schools and traumatized by atrocities they have witnessed. To give them structure and a sense of normalcy, CRS is supporting formal and informal education, tutoring, recreational activities and trauma counseling.

Crisis in Central African Republic[edit]

Though this crisis has received little media attention in the United States, but an estimated 930,000 people—20 percent of the population—have fled their homes since rebels ousted the president in March 2013.Millions of people are in urgent need of food, shelter and assistance. Although a new president took office in August, many embassies, including our own, remained closed. Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Mbaiki are working in the southern part of the country to provide emergency food and agricultural support. They are also supporting the work of Christian and Muslim religious leaders to promote conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

2013 Typhoon Haiyan[edit]

In the first 3 months after the typhoon, CRS collaborated with communities and Caritas partners to provide 40,000 families–200,000 people–with emergency shelter, clean water and sanitation. We are now focusing on long-term recovery and are committed to a 5-year plan that will help 500,000 people. CRS has spent $23.7 million on their response as of September 30, 2014 [15]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Accountability standards[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

External references[edit]

External links[edit]