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

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Nikki Gamer
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]


Catholic Relief Services (CRS) one of 31 international NGOs committing $1.2 billion
to help address global refugee crisis; CEO to attend summit


BALTIMORE, MD, Sept. 15, 2016 – In advance of President Barack Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees Sept. 20, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), along with 30 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 [email protected].  


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, please visit or and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief@CRSnewsYouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

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

Nikki Gamer

Senior Public Affairs Manager

Nikki Gamer
September 15, 2016

Based in Baltimore, MD

Nikki is the Senior Public Affairs Manager for CRS and connects journalists to regional stories and sources related to the agency’s life-saving development work. Previously, Nikki worked as the Communications Officer for the Middle East, Europe, and Central Asia. She has covered CRS’ response to the Syrian refugee crisis and the mass displacement...More