Top U.S. Aid Organization Joins $1.2 Billion Pledge Ahead of Obama Refugee Summit

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) one of 30 international NGOs
committing $1.2 billion to help address global refugee crisis; CEO to
attend summit

BALTIMORE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In advance of President Barack Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees Sept.
20, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), along with 29 international
humanitarian organizations, announced a 3-year pledge to collectively
invest $1.2 billion in private resources in global humanitarian
assistance efforts.

CRS, the international humanitarian organization of the U.S. Catholic
Church, made the commitment together with 30 members of InterAction, the
largest U.S. alliance of nongovernmental international organizations.

According to the UN refugee agency, there are 65 million people
displaced worldwide, the highest number since World War II. Pledged
money will provide urgent medical assistance; food and nutrition;
security; shelter; education; and other essential services to displaced
populations. Over the 3-year commitment period, InterAction will track
and annually announce the total private investments by participating
member NGOs in humanitarian aid related to refugee services and relief.

“The InterAction pledge represents the deep, ongoing commitment of U.S.
civil society to meet the growing needs of those fleeing violence, like
the conflict in Syria,” said Jennifer Poidatz, CRS’ vice president of
humanitarian response, who will attend the UN summit on refugees and
migrants that precedes President Obama’s summit. “It’s our hope that the
pledge galvanizes further collaboration between public and private
partners because this type of joint effort will be integral to
sustaining longer-term solutions. The bipartisan support of the U.S.
Congress for humanitarian aid is commendable, and we urge Congress to
maintain its robust funding in Fiscal Year 2017 spending.”

Global leaders present at President Obama’s summit are expected to make
new and significant pledges to help address the global refugee crisis.
CRS’ President & CEO, Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo, will be one of a select number
of NGO officials who will attend the summit.

“I am pleased to be part of this discussion of one of the most critical
issues facing our world today,” Woo said. “Violence has forced millions
from their homes. We must all work for peace, but in the meantime, we
must remember that Christ told us to ‘welcome the stranger.’ These are
the people he was talking about.”

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, CRS has come to the aid of
more than a million war-affected Syrians across the Middle East and
Europe. CRS’ work with refugees in other parts of the world includes
assistance to those fleeing Boko Haram in West and Central Africa;
Afghans living in Pakistan; assistance to displaced people in Somalia
and to those forced from their homes by the impact of climate change in
Bangladesh, for example.

In addition to the InterAction pledge, CRS has developed specific policy
recommendations ahead of the summit. They include:


  • Design and fund humanitarian interventions that work to integrate
    refugees into host communities over the long term.
  • Engage development actors in responding to refugee needs.
  • Bring cash- and market-based assistance to scale through additional
    funding and technical support.
  • Engage local actors in refugee response as the norm.
  • Boldly engage political solutions to end conflicts and other root
    causes of displacement.


  • Recognize and respond to the needs of all vulnerable people,
    regardless of their legal status.
  • Change focus from a global humanitarian system to the local level.
  • Push for reform of the UN system.
  • Increase refugee and other protection to children fleeing violence in
    Central America.

For an interview with Jennifer Poidatz or Carolyn Woo, please contact
Nikki Gamer at

Catholic Relief Services is the official international
humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The
agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in
more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or
nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through

programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education,
microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, visit or and
follow Catholic Relief Services on social media
: Facebook,
Twitter at
and @
InstagramPinterest and YouTube.

InterAction is the largest U.S. alliance of nongovernmental
international organizations, with more than 180 members. Visit

Additional Information:

Journalist & editors:
For photos, audio clips, video
material & b-roll, contact: Anna Ruiz at
or 410-951-7238


Catholic Relief Services
Nikki Gamer, 443-955-7125