My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Catholic Relief Services, Baltimore, MD, USA
I worked for CRS for over ten years. While I worked at the headquarters in Baltimore, my work occasionally gave me the opportunity to travel overseas for meetings and training sessions. Before and after those meetings, I had the opportunity to visit programs in the field and learn how CRS does its work. Coming out of the corporate sector, I didn't have much knowledge of international relief and development work, so I learned a lot. And the more I learned, the more I came to appreciate how thoughtful CRS is about the way it helps people and communities living in poverty or recovering from natural disasters.
CRS doesn't just swoop in and fix problems. They start by listening to the local communities, to find out what's important to them. And they work hard to involve those communities in developing solutions to the problems they're facing, because CRS recognizes that if the people affected by a program don't believe in it, it will never work. In addition, CRS works with local partners to build their capacity to design, implement and manage programs, so that the communities become more resilient over time, and less reliant on outside resources to overcome challenges. CRS is one of the best organizations helping people in need overseas.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Give it a dramatically bigger marketing budget so that more people could learn about the amazing work they do. As the folks at CRS often say, it's one of the best-kept secrets in the Catholic Church. Even those who know of CRS often think of it only as an emergency relief organization. And while CRS is really good at emergency relief, it also does amazing work in helping to lift people and communities out of poverty, helping to take care of people living with HIV/AIDS, and much more.
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