Letter From Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo President and CEO

Catholic Relief Services exists to bring God’s love to poor and vulnerable people around the world. This would not be possible without faith, our anchor and guide in this rapidly changing environment. Faith inevitably points to hope, allowing us to envision and bring about a better world. Faith also demands our fullest commitment to our mission—the effort that turns hope into harvest.

“Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Matthew 25:40

The purpose of this strategy is to provide the blueprint for moving forward in a time of challenge and transition. It calls us to strive for excellence in order to reap the harvest of lasting and positive change.

At CRS, we have been given so much. Our institutional donors, individual benefactors and partners have invested their resources and trust in our mission. We have deep relationships with sister institutions of the Catholic Church in the United States and around the world. Our 5,000 colleagues make us proud of the way they give of their total selves. Yet our faith calls us to continue to invest all of these gifts in ways that will generate the greatest results: to reach new levels of excellence that have lasting impact on the lives of those God has entrusted to our care.

May Blessings Overflow,

Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo
President & CEO


“Every economic and political theory or action must set about providing each inhabitant of the planet with the minimum wherewithal to live in dignity and freedom, with the possibility of supporting a family, educating children, praising God and developing one’s own human potential.”

Pope Francis

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops founded Catholic Relief Services in 1943 to express the Gospel call to love poor and vulnerable people through acts of charity and the pursuit of justice. Since then, CRS has evolved into an international humanitarian organization of more than 5,000 people, working in 91 countries and serving more than 100 million people annually.

CRS programs serve based on need, reaching poor and vulnerable women, men, girls and boys overseas without regard to race, sex, nationality or religion.

Strategic Focus

This agency strategic plan was developed during the 2012 calendar year and included extensive consultation, reflection and analysis that involved CRS staff around the world, our board of directors, public and private donors, technical specialists and partners. Through a process of debate and analysis, we believe we have identified those areas of strategic focus that will best position us for future success in advancing our mission.

At a time of rapid change around the world, CRS continues to build on a strong foundation of Catholic teachings and values while leveraging deep experience, a breadth of relationships across the globe and a deeply committed staff. CRS seeks to significantly improve the lives of poor and vulnerable people around the world by increasing our impact and influence through a set of new strategic priorities that both challenge and inspire us. We do this in close collaboration with sister institutions of the global Catholic Church, the Catholic community in the United States, a vast and diverse range of partners and donors, and, most important, the families and communities we serve around the world.

Our Mission and Guiding Principles

Our mission is fundamental to what we do, how we work and those we serve. In carrying out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas, we act to:

  • Promote human development by responding to major emergencies, fighting poverty and nurturing peaceful and just societies
  • Inspire and engage Catholics in the United States as they live their faith in solidarity with their brothers and sisters around the world
  • Work with local, national and international Catholic institutions and structures, as well as other organizations, to assist people on the basis of need, not race, sex, nationality or religion.

Guiding Principles

Our Guiding Principles draw upon a rich tradition of Catholic moral and social teaching, and articulate values that are common across many religious and cultural traditions.

Acting as a guide to what a just world might look like, these principles express values that are shared among people who seek to promote and work toward true justice and lasting peace.

Our guiding principles are:

  • Sacredness and Dignity of the Human Person
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Social Nature of Humanity
  • The Common Good
  • Subsidiarity
  • Solidarity
  • Option for the Poor
  • Stewardship