Why Accord Members Support Poverty Focused Development Assistance


I want to share with you a piece we've developed for Accord members as they show support on Capitol Hill for poverty focused development assistance.  We've shared this with about 30 offices and I want to make sure you've seen it.


As members of the Accord Network, we ask you to support robust poverty-focused development assistance programs.

Accord Network is a consortium of over 90 Christ-centered relief and development organizations working in--or supporting efforts to--the developing world.

Faith-based organizations (FBOs) leverage billions of dollars to help the poorest of the poor around the world. For our organizations, the call to help the poor can come from the Bible, John 15, when Christ commands us to “Love each other as I have loved you.”

The commitment of Americans to helping people in the developing world is substantial. While not all private foreign assistance comes from FBOs, in 2013 more foreign assistance came from private sources ($31 billion) than came from the U.S. government ($27 billion). The total budget of Accord Network members is $4.3 billion.

Much of American foreign assistance (public and private) can be categorized by the term “Poverty- Focused Development Assistance.” PFDA covers activities such as education, health programs, water and sanitation, sustainable agriculture, and other programs that generally reduce poverty and provide broad-based economic development.

The current U.S. government PFDA budget is less than one half of one percent of the federal budget.1 Though most of our members do not receive USG funding, the Accord Network strongly supports a robust, federally-funded, American PFDA program. There are many reasons for this:

Mission: the missions of FBOs and official foreign assistance are broadly in accord – to help the poorest of the poor. While the intentionality of the programs can be different, with FBOs motivated by religious belief and sacrifice and the U.S. Government acting on national interests and values, the objectives are generally identical.

Security: official American programs and institutions in both the diplomatic and development areas often provide enhanced security and stability in a developing country which allows for greater access and success of FBO efforts. In many developing nations, a reduction in official development assistance can lead to a breakdown in civil society as vulnerable populations, already very needy, face even greater deprivation.

Dignity: Official U.S. Government development assistance programs contribute to human dignity by providing technical assistance training programs and assisting those individuals who cannot currently care for themselves or their families. As churches and faith-based organizations are meeting a call to help the poor, any effort to improve the human condition is salutary.

Efficiency: while official assistance programs are imperfect, the investment in American diplomacy and development as prophylactic measures are vastly cheaper and much less likely to result in the loss of life than military solutions. FBOs see a decrease in the U.S. Government’s International Affairs Budget as making military intervention more likely since the United States may be required to solve or help solve a humanitarian catastrophe.

Access: there are “closing spaces” around the world in which aid agencies and FBOs can operate – more and more governments are prohibiting assistance to their own citizens. In several cases, U.S. faith-based organizations have been asked to leave. This negative trend is appropriately addressed by official U.S. Government diplomatic and development resources, as a typical FBO has little ability to push back against host government hostility.5 Often, FBO appeals to host government officials are not acknowledged, while requests for meetings or dialogue from U.S. diplomats are much more difficult to deny.

Leadership: American leadership, which is manifest in both diplomatic and development programs, is a tangible benefit to FBOs in developing nations. American FBOs particularly benefit from the respect shown to the American presence in a developing country. If American diplomatic and development programs suffer a significant reduction in resources, host countries notice immediately and this diminution in leadership results in a more difficult environment for American FBOs to operate.

Advocacy: there is a trend toward nationalism across the globe, and particularly in South Asia. This rising nationalism, which is related to the “closing spaces” trend, often leads
to restrictions on aid organizations, including American FBOs; not just activities, but on perceived motivations. In other words, an organization motivated by Christian charity can be persecuted for its intentions, ignoring its impact. FBOs have limited ability to fight back against sovereign governments alone. We rely on official American resources to defend our organizations as we work side-by-side with US government programs to defend our work with the world’s most marginalizaed populations.

In summary, we believe strongly that poverty-focused development assistance helps the poor, reflects America’s leadership and values, and bolsters the reach and effectiveness of our organizations. We ask that you support and defend a robust, diplomatic, and poverty-focused development assistance portfolio.

New World Vision US President

From an email today from Rich Stearns:

Dear Accord Network friends,

I have some exciting news to share with you. Today the World Vision US Board announced that Edgar Sandoval will be the next WVUS President and Chief Executive Officer, effective October 1, 2018.

This decision comes after a prayerful and rigorous search process started last fall. Executive recruiting firm CarterBaldwin approached some 300 potential individuals, resulting in a diverse pool of highly qualified candidates.  More than sixty submitted applications.  The sixty were narrowed to ten and finally down to four who were interviewed in depth by the board search committee.  After this intense and competitive process, Edgar came out on top. Here’s a release with the news: https://www.worldvision.org/charitable-giving-news-stories/world-vision-us-announces-new-president-and-ceo-edgar-sandoval

Dr. Joan Singleton, our board chair had this comment on the board’s choice: "“Edgar embodies World Vision’s core values and has demonstrated his commitment to the mission of World Vision since he joined three years ago. He has a consistent track record of delivering financial growth and organizational health during his successful corporate career and most recently during his time at World Vision. We believe God has been preparing him to lead World Vision for such a time as this.”

As you know, Edgar has served as my Chief Operating Officer for the past three years. He is one of the most impressive leaders I have had the privilege of working with during my forty-three year career. He brings a focused and disciplined approach to World Vision's business processes. Edgar leads with clear intentionality and is both collaborative and decisive as a leader. Most importantly, he is clearly committed to Christ and feels deeply called to the mission of World Vision.

Three years ago Edgar left a successful career in the corporate sector to serve at World Vision.  Born in Los Angeles, Edgar grew up in Central and South America, where he first witnessed poverty. With $50 in his pocket, he returned alone to the U.S. at age 18. He worked minimum-wage jobs while pursuing an education that started with courses in English as a second language. He went on to earn a B.S. in engineering and a B.A. in sociology from Rutgers University and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Edgar spent 20 years in various leadership positions with The Procter & Gamble Company, including Marketing Director, North America Fabric Care; and Vice President, North America Marketing. In his last role, as Vice President and General Manager of Global Feminine Care, he made it his mission to advocate for girls and women around the world and help empower them to live life to their fullest potential.

Edgar and his wife, Leiza, felt a strong calling from God to join World Vision in 2015 and moved their family to the Pacific Northwest. Edgar has said that even the opportunity to be considered for this important job, given his humble childhood, is "an improbable miracle of God." 

He has stated that his priorities as president will be to maintain World Vision’s strong Christian identity; strengthen its fundraising capabilities; demonstrate engagement, unity, and trust with partners in the United States and around the world. 

Edgar and I will do a formal “changing of the guard” on October 2, 2018 at our Day of Prayer. As I announced earlier this year, the board has asked me to stay on to help with the transition through January 2019.

I want to personally thank you for your support for me over these many years and now ask that you transfer that same support to Edgar, giving him your full confidence as one of our most important partners.

Thank you for your prayers for us during this important year of transition and all the promise it holds for the future.


Rich Stearns
World Vision U.S.

Accord Members Respond in Force to Hurricanes Harvey/Irma

For many years, faith-based relief and development organizations have joined Accord because they had a desire to be "better together." Often, their efforts fly under the radar - they do incredible work on a daily basis that is hidden from the spotlight. But now, in the wake of domestic natural disaster, Accord Network Members do what they do best, serving those here at home who are most in need.

Below you will find a list of Accord organizations who are actively involved in responding to the disaster that is Hurricane Harvey and Irma, followed by a summary of their activity. Feel free to share their work to let others know of the good that's being done on our coasts.

Attack Poverty
Convoy of Hope
Forward Edge
Foursquare Disaster Relief
Giving Children Hope
Global Aid Network (GAiN)
Lifeline Christian Mission
Mission Aviation Fellowship
Outreach Aid to the Americas
Water Mission
World Hope
World Renew

Attack Poverty

At Attack Poverty, we are empowering people to attack poverty in their life and community. We are a global organization that serves locally breaking the cycle of generational poverty. Our mission is to strengthen under-resourced communities through spiritual growth, education, revitalization and basic needs. Propeled by our value of faith in action, we do this in partnership with the local church, residents, businesses, and community leaders by adopting pockets of poverty, launching what we call Friends Initiatives and making a long-term commitment to go deep and really care about the things that community cares about. Our approach is deeply intentional, both strategically and geographically.
Attack Poverty currently serves on 2 Continents in 8 communities, personally impacting over 15,000 people. Two of the communities where were have been doing our community development work were hit especially hard with flooding a second time in 15 months! We were already walking alongside folks in the Richmond, Rosenberg area and doing rebuilding work from the “Tax Day” Brazos River flood.

In our response to Harvey, we have completed over 200 asessments, mobilized approximately 800 volunteers, completed 50 muck and gut cleanups with 70 remaining. This will be followed by the work of disenfecting 100 homes. When that work is complete we will follow-up with all of those families and begin the repair/rebuild/reconstruction process. We believe 70% of those will need assitance of some kind. This is a 12-18 month process.

The three initiatives where we are doing Harvey recovery are: 
Friends of North Rosenberg 503 3rd St. Rosenberg, TX – Contact Rose@attackpoverty.org (North Rosenberg & the Cummings Rd. area)
Friends of of North Richmond 1305 Clay St. Richmond, TX  - Contact Elise@attackpoverty.org (North Richmond & the Riveredge community)
Friends of Northside in Houston, TX - Contact Barry@attackpoverty.org (Near Northside community) 

Please use the coordinating contact information to volunteer. Donations can be made at http://www.attackpoverty.org/donatenow

Please pray for families in this grieving process. 
Pray for hope and strength for families to take the next step. 
Pray for families that are waiting to hear if they will be officially displaced.
Pray for Attack Poverty as we collaborate across all sectors to lead with integrity for the glory of God

Thank you!

Convoy of Hope

Since Hurricane Harvey hit, Convoy of Hope has served 47 cities in Southeast Texas, delivered more than 100 loads totaling 3 million pounds of emergency relief supplies and served nearly 150,000 people. Additionally, Convoy of Hope has pre-positioned supplies and a team to respond to Hurricane Irma, as it causes mass destruction throughout the Caribbean and makes landfall in the U.S. Follow the responses at convoyofhope.org.


Our Disaster Response ministry is comprised of architects and engineers specially trained to provide structural assessments and repairs, WASH services and various hazard assessments and mitigation measures. We partner with other Christian organizations in their responses, helping enable them serve the most vulnerable. If any Accord Network members are responding and in need of such services, please don’t hesitate to contact us at disasters@emiworld.org.

Forward Edge

Forward Edge is among the Accord agencies responding to Hurricane Harvey. We have 25-years of experience in disaster-response work, including long-term recovery efforts after hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and the 2010 earthquake ion Haiti. Forward Edge mobilized more than 3,000 volunteers from around the country to serve in the Gulf Coast after Katrina, and more than 1,000 to serve in Haiti.

As always, our plan is to remain involved in the Harvey recovery effort long after the first responders have gone and the media has moved on. We have strong church partners in the Houston area, a retired U.S. Army colonel with disaster-response experience in the Gulf Coast, Haiti, the Philippines and Nepal serving as our full-time field coordinator, and the necessary vehicles, tools, and logistical infrastructure to respond effectively to the Harvey disaster. Our initial focus will be gutting the homes of the most vulnerable: widows, the elderly, single moms, etc.

Churches interested in sending teams to serve with Forward Edge in Texas can contact Ashley Hughes at ashleyhughes@forwardedge.org or call 360.574.3343.

May the Lord bless all of our efforts to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the wake of this national tragedy!

Foursquare Disaster Relief

Foursquare Disaster Relief has responded to Harvey in the Gulf. We have operations going in Houston, Katy, Angleton, and Hitchcock Texas. Working through local churches to provide relief to communities affected by the storms. We have operated as temporary shelter for victims, feeding and point of distribution partners, clean up/muck out operations, and chaplain and spiritual and emotional care support. We have seen thousands helped through our efforts in Texas, and have celebrated 25 salvations along the way as people receive physical and spiritual care.
We are assessing and planning to respond to Irma as it moves through the Caribbean. We have works in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, St Croix all poised to respond depending on the level of damages by the storm. Pre-positioning supplies in some locations to move quickly to meet need. We also are pre-positioning response assets in Florida and Georgia for the US path.
Our needs in Texas are:
Shower/Restroom trailer- Our local church partners don’t have adequate facilities for outside volunteer assistance. Shower and Restroom trailer is desperately needed
Kitchen Trailer- Similarly our capacity through local partners for outside volunteers is limited, and kitchen facilities needed for volunteers as well as serving victims and responders.
Cleaning supplies
Building material-In the coming months/weeks
Gift Cards/Finances

Giving Children Hope

Giving Children Hope has responded to Hurricane Harvey and plan to send to Hurricane Irma. We are in need of trucking for both. Additionally, we are looking for a portable EKG, and first aid kits for Hurricane Irma. Any connections for these would be much appreciated. Please contact jon[at]accordnetwork[dot]org.

Lifeline Christian Mission

Lifeline Christian Mission is packaging meals (oatmeal and a rice and beans mix) that can be distributed.  So if any organization or church could use donations we may have surplus to give from beyond our network we are distributing through. Please contact jon[at]accordnetwork[dot]org if you are interested in connecting with Lifeline Christian Mission.

Mission Aviation Fellowship

On Friday, 8 September 2017, the MAF team in Haiti completed an aerial survey over the northern part of the country, which was hardest hit by Hurricane Irma.

Although they observed water in some fields and other places it shouldn’t have been, there seems to be little damage. John Munsell, acting program manager, said, “I have lived and flown in Haiti for 20 years and have completed many survey flights over this area so I feel that I know this area well.  In my opinion, the condition of these areas is normal -- whatI would expect after a heavy rain.  In all of our flying, I didn't see any trees down, roofs off, or major roads blocked.”

Aerial Survey Map & Images
The images taken on the survey flight are displayed in a Google Earth (kmz) file – this uses the Google Satellite maps to then show the location of each photo.  Download the KMZ file linked below, and open in Google Earth to view.  You may need to zoom in quite a bit to view individual pictures.  (When zoomed out, the images will appear “stacked” on top of each other and are difficult to view.)  Once zoomed in a bit, you can also click on a “stack” of images and it will expand to show the images with lines pointing to the specific GPS locations. 

Direct link to just the KMZ (Google Earth) File:

The Google Earth file uses small, thumbnail images for its display.  It shows the file names of the individual images in white.  If you would like to view more detail on any specific images, look for the number at the end of the file name and you can then find the higher res versions of those images from the link below. 

All Images (KMZ is included here as well): 

We also have most of these images in a RAW file format (super high resolution, huge file).  If you have need of the RAW images, please contact Laura Hibberd (lhibberd@maf.org).


Mennonite Central Committee (MCC; mcc.org) has high capacity to respond to needs following Hurricane Irma in Haiti and Cuba based on our experience in disaster response and our cooperation and ongoing work with partner organizations in both countries. In Haiti, MCC has pre-positioned material resources, including canned meat, blankets, relief kits and water purification tablets, for distribution to 500 families immediately after the storm passes. An MCC representative will travel to Cuba as soon as conditions allow to meet with partners and plan a response there. Follow MCC on Facebook for updates. 

Outreach Aid to the Americas

Florida Relief Logistics Coordination

In collaboration with Reach Out America delivering relief aid from three staging warehouses located in central Florida, West Palm Beach and Miami area. Partners include: Feed The Children, Convoy of Hope, Compassion International, and LAPARKAN Industries.

Caribbean and Cuba Relief Aid

Providing humanitarian aid mostly blankets, hygiene Kits and food packets to Cuba, Haiti, and CARICOM islands. Partners include: Harvest International, Feed my Starving Children, Matthew 25 Ministries, Feeding the Nations, and IOS Partners.

Water Mission

Water Mission has a disaster response team in place and is on standby for the duration of Irma.  We have equipment and human resources available to respond should we be called upon to assist.  This includes our Charleston team as well as our Haiti and Honduras teams.  As of this communication we have not been contacted for any assistance but are maintaining a state of readiness. 

In the wake of a storm like Hurricane Irma, access to safe water is essential to prevent the spread of disease. Currently, Water Mission is responding with full force in St. Martin and other Caribbean islands as needed. We will have staff on the ground within twenty-four hours, working with partners to provide safe water to those in dire need. Staff from our nearby country programs, such as Honduras, are on standby.

Please pray for the people affected by the storm and for our staff as they work to serve those in dire need. To join us in our disaster response efforts, please visit watermission.org/hurricane-irma.

Additionally we're are also in standby mode for possible response to the 8.1 magnitude earthquake in Chiapas Mx. Please reach out to Mark Baker, Project Manager LAC, if you become aware of a situation where Water Mission can assist.  mbaker@watermission.org

World Hope

Dear Friends,

It’s moving to see your response to help those hurting in Houston. Your efforts are not only helping to meet the physical needs of the tens of thousands of people impacted by Hurricane Harvey, but you are also making way for hope - that comes from Christ - through your generous acts of love. 

Many have chosen to give financially, volunteer time and give supplies to help.  Companies, like Brink Truck Lines in Holland, MI, have opened their warehouse doors to stage supplies ready to be shipped to Texas. Christ Wesleyan Church in Milton, PA collected 22 pallets worth of bottled water. That was before they filled an additional tractor trailer by taking turns volunteering outside their local Walmart, encouraging shoppers to help fill the truck! Every day, we receive stories from churches across the nation showing up for those in need. Thank you!

Even with your outpouring of support, we all know that this is just the beginning of a long journey to help rebuild lives shattered by this disaster.

There’s still time to help! Along with prayer, please consider:

Giving a Donation: Gifts of any size will help purchase emergency supplies and equipment for the recovery phase and establish a base of operations for support. Donate here or call 703-594-8527.

Collecting Supplies: Diapers, baby wipes, water, nonperishable food items (also crackers, cookies & granola bars), new blankets, new towels, new undergarments for children (including socks), hand sanitizers, hygiene products, heavy duty large trash bags, and duct tape have all been specifically requested on the ground in Texas. Collected items may be shipped by Sept. 30th to: Brink Truck Lines, Hurricane Relief, 3899 58th St., Holland, MI 49423.  Please label your supplies “Harvey Relief Supplies” and provide a written inventory of supplies.

*Note: You can order supplies from Amazon and have them directly shipped to the collection address!

Volunteering: World Hope is partnering with Poured-Out ministries for coordination of volunteers at our staging area on the outskirts of Houston. Contact KimRankens@worldhope.org for trip information.

I am honored to stand beside you on behalf of those hurting in Houston. Thank you for your support!

In addition, please check out World Hope's involvement with (1) Freetown mudslides, (2) responding to Irma, and (3) responding to Harvey.

World Renew

Irma - Haiti: World Renew is preparing to respond with the resources available. In Haiti and the Dominican Republic, World Renew has local partners that will be well positioned to respond to the needs if the destruction is extensive.

Irma - Florida: World Renew knows that there could be significant needs in Florida and other areas in Irma’s path.  With connections with churches, federal and local officials,  and volunteers in Florida, World Renew is monitoring the situation and will respond as needed. In the weeks and months to come DRS will ensure that recovery services can be provided for people most affected by Hurricane Irma.

Harvey - World Renew has been connecting with partner organizations in Texas, both at the local and federal level, as well as churches in the affected area. World Renew will be in Texas in September laying the foundation for long-term recovery. Plans are being made to send volunteers to help with clean-up. Volunteers have been alerted to continue to be on the ready to help in the months to come.

Research - What are your Needs?

Dear Accord Member,
Exciting things are happening in the Accord Research Alliance (ARA), and we need your help to know how to serve you better! We’d like to ask you to participate in the Accord Research Project. To begin, please follow this link to fill out our survey.
The ARA is growing quickly. More Christian researchers and institutions of higher education are getting involved and new partnerships are being formed. The result is that the ARA is increasing its potential to do the kinds of research, training, and evaluation that matter to faith-based NGOs. And like Nehemiah in the research he did to prepare for the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls, ARA members seek God’s glory first and foremost through their research and other academic initiatives.
To harness the ARA’s potential and to make sure that our efforts are relevant to the challenges faced by Accord member organizations, we are conducting the Accord Research Project. We want to learn more about the current research practices and needs of Accord organizations. We are interested in knowing the kinds of questions and concerns that you have as well as the strategies and resources that you find most useful. Such information will help those who are active in the ARA to be better partners and collaborators.
We expect the survey to take 15-20 minutes to complete. You’ll find an informed consent form and specific details about the survey when you click on the link. The survey will remain open until August 25, 2017. Once you have completed the survey, we may also ask if you would be willing to participate in a follow up phone interview.
We will present our preliminary findings at the 2017 OneAccord Forum, to be held Oct. 9-11 in Ridgecrest, NC. You can find more information about the Forum here:  http://accord-forum.squarespace.com/
More formal publications will soon follow. Our hope is that the project will provide useful information and learnings for everyone in the Accord Network.
If you believe that there is another person in your organization that is equally or better placed to discuss these issues we are happy to extend a survey invitation to that person as well. Please just provide us with his or her name and email address.
Thank you so much for your willingness to help us in this process. Together, we can prayerfully and, God-willing, more effectively do the work to which we have been called.
In Christ,
Chad Hayward, Executive Director, Accord Network
Kristen Check (Water Mission) Co-Chair, Accord Research Alliance
Rodney Green (World Relief) Co-Chair, Accord Research Alliance
Jamie D. Aten (Humanitarian Disaster Institute, Wheaton College)
David Bronkema (Palmer Theological Seminary, Eastern University)
Jesse Casler (HOPE International) Board Member, Accord Network
Stephen Offutt (Asbury Theological Seminary) Academic Engagement Facilitator, Accord Research Alliance
Amy Reynolds (Wheaton College)
Randall Tift (World Vision) Board Member, Accord Network

DC Fly-in Invitation

Dear Accord Member,

As a part of Accord’s United Voice platform, lawmakers in Washington, DC are interested in what our organizations have to say about policy and foreign assistance particularly.

In partnership with Food for the Hungry and other Accord members, you or someone from your executive leadership team is invited to join us on Oct. 3rd at 8:00 a.m. for the Congressional Child Survival Prayer Breakfast on Capitol Hill to celebrate what the faith community is doing to advance child survival, pray for our continued efforts and educate our national leaders about the most vulnerable around the world. After the breakfast, you will join a small delegation representing Accord agencies to meet with with key Congressional offices to ask for their continued support of modest yet vital foreign assistance programs.

Through the generosity of some private donors, assistance with travel costs is available if needed; we believe your voice is that critical.

Yes, I am interested in coming to Washington, DC to participate in the Congressional Child Survival Prayer Breakfast Oct. 3rd!

I can’t make it to come to Washington, DC Oct. 3rd, but please keep me in mind for future opportunities!

RSVP Deadline is September 15th!

Supporting foreign assistance is a non-partisan issue. You don’t have to be a policy expert and you don’t have to consider yourself particularly political. But your organization brings a valuable perspective on addressing extreme poverty and you have an important story to share.

Thank you for your commitment to our shared mission. Please let me know if have any questions.

Yes, I am interested.

I can't make it, but keep me in mind.


Chad Hayward
Executive Director
Accord Network

Accord Gives Input to USAID Redesign

On July 25th, USAID and the State Department invited members of Accord Network, MFAN, and InterAction to participate in a fact finding and informational exchange meeting.  Their goal was to gain input on ways to improve the organizations' efficiency and effectiveness.

The first of several sessions of its kind, USAID and State Department allowed 12-15 individuals from each network to attend and voice their concerns, submit structural ideas, and comment on proposed changes to the agency.

Accord Network brought in eight member organizations, including ADRA, Faith to Action, Food for the Hungry, Medical Teams, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, World Hope, World Relief, and World Vision. The focus of our members’ comments centered around three key issues:

  1. The faith community is critical to helping the US Foreign policy apparatus achieve its goals, and needs to be prioritized.

  2. Over the past decade, USAID has prioritized local partners on the ground, but have either worked with them directly, or have utilized a large contractor to manage the relationships. We encouraged the officials use the relationships that our members bring to the table.

  3. Food for Peace is an effective program and should not be restructured.

The most interesting things we learned from the USAID and State Department leaders were:

  1. This process is being led solely by staff.

  2. There are six categories being looked at by teams of approximately 5-25 people each.

  3. The process will be lengthy:  The Redesign teams will submit to OMB in September, and OMB will have six months to review.  

  4. The specifics of the review will have “varying degrees of transparency.”

In my view, the most helpful comments from other participants were the need for the teams to be given a “North Star,” or overarching priority.  Also the need to wrestle with the concept of “effectiveness” vs. “efficiency.”  

Earlier this summer, Accord partnered with World Relief to produce a document that outlines ways that the the USG foreign aid apparatus could better work with FBOs in the areas of funding mechanisms and internal policies. This document was made available to the officials present following the meeting.

While the priorities and focuses of USAID and the State Department are at this point fairly embryonic, Accord is confident that our relationships and influence there are only growing, and that we will continue to be a part of the conversation moving forward. We are committed to representing the interests our members well to those in charge of restructuring USAID. Please let Jon or me know how we can better serve you in this way.

Tax Reform--Its Impact On Us

I want to pass along information from Brian Walsh, executive director of the Faith & Giving Coalition, of which Accord Network is a part. This is of great importance to our ministries.

With the talk of chaos in DC, its easy to lose sight of the fact that White House and Congress are in the hands of the same party, and ideas and legislation are moving forward.  The Administration touts that their tax reform plan won't touch the charitable deduction.  This is true, but only technically.  When it comes to the current proposal for tax reform, I want us to keep one fact in mind--under current law, almost 1/3 of Americans itemize their taxes, but under the current plan before Congress, an estimated 28 million Americans would no longer benefit from the charitable deduction.  This is due to a proposed doubling of the standard deduction, as well as a reduction in the top tax rate.

An Answered Question
I've heard a fair amount of questioning whether a new policy would actually affect the bottom line of religious organizations.  Now we have a newly-minted study conducted by two respected organizations--Independent Sector (IS) and researchers at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.  Their findings espouse that the Trump and House GOP tax reform plans would reduce charitable giving--by an estimated $13 billion.  What's more, the research shows that faith-based organizations and churches are harder hit than other organizations.  

Our Position
The Faith and Giving Coalition--and Accord Network--favor moving the charitable deduction "above the line" on the tax form, thereby making the deduction available to every taxpayer.  The study shows that this "universal deduction" would actually increase giving across the board.

We will continue to watch this issue closely and advocate on your behalf.  And you might want to contact your Senators and Representative--especially if they are on the House Ways and Means Committee or the Senate Finance Committee.

Suffer the Children

The face of global poverty is at its most hideous when it profoundly affects the world’s children. Millions of children suffer every day to a degree unimaginable. They lack the basic necessities of life, and undergo trials most of us will never face. These are children that live in our own backyards, let alone those living in the Global South. In our information-saturated lives, it is easy to believe that we cannot do anything significant to change these terrible realities. Gary and Jane Smith’s book Suffer the Children disagrees.

Suffer the Children is especially relevant during this time of year, as National Children’s Day, June 11th, approaches. Gary and Jane’s book advocates that you and I can change the fate of many children “through praying, giving generously, sponsoring children, volunteering with aid organizations, living more simply, investing and shopping more prudently, and advocating more zealously in the political arena.” They outline these practical solutions with real examples and data that will push you to get involved, and encourage you to keep striving.

Accord Network is happy to recommend Suffer the Children as a solid resource to better understand child poverty, how to get involved, and what you can specifically do to help.


Congressional Fly-in Opportunity

Our friends at Food for the Hungry are offering Accord Members a special opportunity to help promote foreign assistance, including potential funding for your leadership to fly into Washington DC this summer. 

Currently, funding for foreign assistance makes up less than 1% of the Federal budget and is under threat of being cut. Cutting poverty focused relief and development assistance won't fix our federal budget problems, but it will have devastating consequences in the most fragile regions of the world. Many of Accord's membership depend heavily on government grants to function; this issue should be of utmost importance, and the time to act is now.

Because we believe in the power of our member's voices, Accord is partnering with FH to offer a great vehicle to make your voices heard on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress only support foreign assistance programs if they hear that it matters to constituent community leaders like you.

Please take a moment to review this document and RSVP using the link at its conclusion. We look forward to partnering with you, and hope to see you in DC this summer!