Media CenterFaith-based Organizations on the Front Lines of COVID-19

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

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, July 14, 2020 – Sean Callahan, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), yesterday spoke out for greater U.S. global engagement and leadership in response to COVID-19. Callahan was a speaker at a news conference by members of Congress and leaders in the humanitarian, business and defense sectors which highlighted a growing bipartisan effort to have the U.S. Congress allocate at least $12 billion to the international response.

Callahan said internationally – as in the United States – the most vulnerable and marginalized people suffer worst from the pandemic. CRS and other faith-based organizations are on the front lines to help. Callahan said trust, partnership and accountability are key features in the global fight. He described how the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has the trust in humanitarian organizations to allow them to nimbly adapt to changing situations. CRS partners with local faith-based organizations and other and is accountable to get the job done.

“My team did not go home,” Callahan said in his remarks. “They stayed in the countries to assist those local partners. They are being accountable. They make sure the resources go to where they should, and they make sure we can leverage those resources to have maximum impact for the vulnerable…We have teams on the ground of volunteers from many countries, traditional health workers, birth attendants and others that reach out to the communities, that get those resources to that last mile.”

Multiple speakers warned that the pandemic won’t be defeated in the U.S. unless it is defeated overseas. Pandemics respect no borders. But time is short for the U.S. to act.

“If we don’t invest now, given the urgency of the problem, the problem will get worse, we will suffer more in terms of deaths, and it also will become much more costly,” Callahan said.

Callahan also is co-chairman of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign, the advocacy arm of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. Joining Callahan in the conference were:

  • Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)
  • Ed Royce, former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
  • House Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)
  • House Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
  • House Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT)
  • General James Jones, United States Marine Corps (Ret.), former Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and Commander, U.S. European Command
  • Dr. Mark Feinberg, president and CEO, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative
  • Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations
  • Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF
  • Tom Hart, North American Executive Director, ONE Campaign
  • Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance
  • Dan Glickman, co-chair, USGLC, and former USDA Secretary and Member of Congress


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
July 14, 2020

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