Media CenterCRS Applauds Foreign Aid Budget

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Tom Zolper
Communications Writer
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]
(410) 951-7110


WASHINGTON, D.C., December 23, 2019 – Bill O’Keefe, executive vice president of Mission, Mobilization and Advocacy for Catholic Relief Services (CRS), issued this statement today following the president’s signing of fiscal year 2020 appropriations bills:

“Congress understands suffering and solutions. While acrimony is high in Washington, members of both parties agree on sound public policy to help marginalized people around the world. We are thankful for that consensus.

U.S. foreign assistance is a moral and practical imperative. Poverty not only causes unnecessary suffering, but also breeds instability. Foreign assistance empowers local leadership, builds local capacity and support communities on the journey to self-reliance.”

Among other highlights, the appropriation bills: increase foreign assistance by 1 percent over FY19, overriding administration budget proposals to cut foreign assistance by more than 24 percent; increase development assistance to alleviate poverty in vulnerable communities by $400 million; provide more than $500 million for assistance to Central America and directs FY19 funds to be made available for assistance.


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 in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Communications Writer

Tom Zolper
December 23, 2019

Tom Zolper is the communications writer for Catholic Relief Services, based out Baltimore. Tom writes and edits stories and works with media outlets to place stories that help tell of CRS' work. He works closely with the CRS advocacy team, assisting them in advocating through the media.

Tom has a deep background in journalism and communications, including work as a newspaper...More