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Mercy Corps

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: International, International Development, International Relief, Refugees

Mission: Mercy Corps exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.

Programs: Mercy Corps works in the toughest places on the planet. Failing states like Somalia and Zimbabwe. Conflict zones like Afghanistan, Congo and Iraq. And countries that have endured natural disasters, like Pakistan and Haiti. In these places, a child’s life is often at risk. A woman’s education is usually ignored. A family’s livelihood is never a sure thing. These conditions threaten the welfare of neighborhoods, towns, provinces, countries and entire regions. To these important and imperiled places Mercy Corps brings relief, recovery and development. For 32 years, we have helped people grappling with the toughest hardships survive – and then thrive. That’s the heart of our approach: we help communities turn crisis into opportunity. Decades of field experience have shown us the most effective ways to support that transformation. We know that local people are the best agents of their own change and that local markets are often the fastest, most durable drivers of economic recovery. That’s why we listen to what communities need and prioritize their most important projects. It’s why we often partner with local organizations – and why our program teams are 95 percent staffed by local people. Mercy Corps approaches each challenge with an open mind and a bias for action. We listen to local people and prioritize their most urgent needs. We fix gaps to get markets up and running. We think big, start small and take responsible risks to find solutions that benefit the greatest number of people.

Community Stories

18 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As someone who has worked in international development, there are two things I particularly appreciate about Mercy Corps: 1. Solutions are market driven --> Mercy Corps identifies community leaders and works with them to tackle community problems where Mercy Corps has additional expertise that can be useful in the projects. 2. Mercy Corps recognizes that there are relevant issues that they have expertise in locally as well, and has invested money in the Mercy Corps Action Center and Mercy Corps NW to address these issues. The Mercy Corps Action Center does a fantastic job of engaging and educating the public about a variety of global issues, including things that Mercy Corps addresses every day. Mercy Corps NW addresses many economic issues close to home, including business education, connecting potential small business owners to capital and mentoring, and providing entrepreneurial education to people who have been incarcerated in the past and may have a difficult time finding employment in alternative areas.

Donor

Rating: 5

They do great work all over the world but what they've been doing in Syria the past 4 - 5 years during the civil war, it's really impressive.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 2

Mercy Corps and other humanitarian groups are great but honestly the question is why is the US not doing more? Instead of others having to donate to Mercy Corps for resources why can't the government being paying for supplies? The silence of the white house on this is unacceptable. They should and could be doing more.

6

Donor

Rating: 1

I consider myself a generous person and attempt to distribute donations to viable NPO's, I made the mistake of making a couple to Mercy Corp, and in the year since, have received at list 100 calls asking for more money. They do not QUIT! I've screamed at them to take me off their donor list, I've sent emails asking for the same, but to no avail, they continue to call daily.

Charity my butt! I cannot stand this organization, and save yourself a bunch of heartache and stress and give elsewhere.

9

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor to Mercy Corps for many years now. I donate to Mercy Corps because they are at "ground zero" shortly after natural and human created catastrophes occur, helping those in immediate need of food, shelter and more. I give to Mercy Corp because of the work they do for those who are suffering to no fault of their own. They deal with victims of disasters who would otherwise have virtually nothing to eat and nowhere to live without the help of organizations such as Mercy Corp. Hunger is America is not getting what you want to eat. Hunger through other parts of the world are having nothing to eat. When you are truly hungry, you take what you can get to eat. When you are not truly hungry (i.e. in the USA), you might tell an aid worker, "Oh, I don't like that." I give my money to those who are truly in need, not to those who just aren't getting what they want.

Review from Guidestar

8 David218

Client Served

Rating: 1

What an insulting group of Americans. Mercy Corps Northwest does not serve Ex-Military service members that are disabled and live in poverty. I have gotten the run around 3 times from this group. Today was the 3rd time that I put in a request for a small business loan and was told " I am sorry but I can't talk anymore because I have someone else to call. Bye" This is who represents the SBA in Washington State? This is a bad choice to choose this SBA office.

19

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 3

For the record, I worked for MC. I will say that MC is better than the majority of NGOs I've worked for in the past, and will also say ain't-nobody-getting-rich-from-working-for-MC. I'd also say MC's overhead is pretty darn low considering how comprehensive its transparency policies and audits etc are (read PITA for employees, good for donors i guess). I still find that MC is too much of a slave to "just keeping the donors happy" which doesn't always mean making real impact HOWEVER if you are going to give to an NGO it is certainly one of the better ones. Its a bit ironic that many that I see that are phenomenal at visibility are the more mediocre (on the ground). Lastly I noticed the guidestar rating 3 star is "meets expectations" and MC meets my (fairly low) expectations, but I gotta say after working in the sector for 10+ years, no one has exceed my expectations (ie done what they say they have done).

Review from Guidestar

6

Donor

Rating: 5

I wonder why Mercy Corps is not mentioned on broadcasts "if you wish to help ..." as opposed to Red Cross or United Way when so much of the contributions they receive go to people who run them.

9

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 2

Mercy Corps is extremely donor-driven, and its priority is to get grants, even if they don't match its strategic priorities. Serious management issues and low performance in country offices are ignored by HQ management, like in the case of Sudan/South Sudan: http://www.usaid.gov/oig/public/fy12rpts/4-668-12-009-p.pdf

Review from CharityNavigator

13

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

My elderly mother received 2 letters from Mercy Corps stating that they "spoke with her by phone" and that she agreed to make a $100 gift.
Not only is this a complete fabrication, it greatly disturbed me since my mother had a stroke and has been in a nursing home, unable to speak, for over 18 months.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

acurry 01/30/2012

Dear Mary, We are very sorry that your mother is still receiving mailings from us. If you contact us directly with her name and address we will promptly remove her from all of our mailing lists. You can contact us at donorservices@mercycorps.org or 1-888-842-0842. Kind regards, Andi, Mercy Corps

Review from CharityNavigator

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

I very much admire the fact that this charity, in addition to its other merciful work, offers microloans to US fledgling businesses, such as the one described in this article: http://www.newsregister.com/article?articleTitle=acupuncturist+gets+start+with+mercy+corps%27+help--1324229737--2268-- America would be so much the better if these small loans were expanded to include small businesses in all the 50 states and NOT just those local to the corporate office in Oregon. Right now so many small businesses in America are foundering. SO MANY right here in OUR country are losing the battle for survival. Without question,the plight of so many worldwide is tragic, I DO believe, however, given the current economic status of small business owners here in the US, in the case of MICRO-BUSINESS LOANS, that charity should also be given at home - all across America. I think of my niece and her husband and their two small children, the younger of which is autistic and the elder still struggling with physical disabilities resultant from a premature birth They have worked so long and hard for 6 years to establish themselves and now struggle desperately to stay afloat ,feed clothe and provide medical care for their family, as they eke out a living and use every ounce of creativity to seek new alternative sources of revenue as they wait for the core industry for their business - the stagnant construction industry-- to rebound. These young people did so much to help the community in ay way they could in donations, community contributions and so forth during their busiest years. Now they struggle day to day with no help for the weary. I hope this agency will think on these things.

Review from CharityNavigator

3

Donor

Rating: 3

I appreciate all that this charity does -- especially in times of need. I hope you will support them too.

7 Debra S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Thankfully, there is Charity Navigator!

Based on the Charity Navigator reviews, I am designating Mercy Corps as my charity through SurveyMonkey's reviewer board.

I am sorry to say that I have never heard of Mercy Corps but have been a supporter of Samaratin's Purse which has a lower score. I will be contacting them to learn more.

I only wish that their ceo didn't need such a high salary.

Review from CharityNavigator

7 Linda H.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a Mercy Corps donor for about 10 years. I know several of the staff and am frankly blown away by their work, their professionalism and their realistic approaches to development work. Mercy Corps is frankly state of the art. Most of the staff are nationals in the many countries where MC works. There is a continuous evaluation of effectiveness and a strong desire to use resources carefully. Women's health programs, education programs, community development -- each program is tailored to the needs of the community involved. There is no hierarchical sense that all communities need X or Y; instead there is a process to help communities set their own direction. In that process, communities also learn civil society techniques and objectives.

When there is a natural disaster, Mercy Corps is already on the ground and ensures that its work does not duplicate what other agencies are doing, instead focusing on neglected areas of need. One of these is helping children deal with trauma.

Mercy Corps deserves your donation, whatever you decide to give. There are other wonderful organizations out there but there are also charlatans that are more concerned with fund-raising than with services. Do careful research. When you do, Mercy Corps will be at the top of your list.

Review from CharityNavigator

1 Gordo33

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I enjoy raising money for Mercy Corps through producing compelling fund-raising events that seek to increase awareness and create exceptional value for people who are compelled to donate due to the compelling nature of the cause and the successful execution of the event itself.

11

Donor

Rating: 3

I wish I could give this charity 5 stars because they do a lot of good things. What I look for in a charity is the mission to create sustainability and independence in the people it helps instead of creating dependency while also helping with disaster relief. The fact that the higher ups make so much money is disheartening. I understand that the CEOs and presidents need to be paid but think of the good that could be done with the extra money if they weren't paid so much. I want to know that my donations are truly helping the people I intend to help and not going toward the CEO's summer villa. Perhaps the CEO would do well to read the story of the man whose words are being used with this charity. Gandhi gave up the life of affluence and chose one of poverty. I'm not saying that the CEO needs to become impoverished but nearly $300,000 is ridiculous.

Kelly L.

Donor

Rating: 4

update 06/06/2011
Well, they got back sooner than I imagined (first workday).
I guess the customer service is good, though not up to date (cause it's not a click of a button thing).
anyhow, I would recommend this charity after they have the online account for monthly donors.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Can't unsubscribe my auto monthly donation online.
I've signed up for the auto monthly donation for a while now, times are tough and I want to cancel it.
It's unpleasant to find out that I can't find a way to unsubscribe my auto donation.

I don't even have an account.
I checked my email box, they didn't even send me a confirmation for the subscription, nor an account.
I did get a confirmation for my one time donation the other time, but again, no account.

Isn't it standard to give your customer an account when they paid for something? Especially when you are automatically taking money from them each month.
It seems like they are trying to make it hard for people to unsubscribe.
I sent them an message about unsubscribing, hopefully they get back soon.

I do not recommend this charity.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

acurry 06/06/2011

Dear Kelly, I am sorry that you were upset that Mercy Corps does not provide online accounts for monthly donors, and I want to let you know that we are working to add this feature. In the meantime, we can certainly cancel your automatic donation. I just sent you a private message with my email, if you send me your information I will follow up immediately. Thank you very much for your commitment to helping people in need around the world. Your past support has made a life-changing difference for struggling families! Sincerely, Andi Curry Executive Liaison Mercy Corps

Review from CharityNavigator

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mercy Corps is the first charity my husband and I donate to in the event of any global crisis or disaster. They are usually on the ground before any other agencies, probably because they are already "in country". We became aware of Mercy Corps because they are based in Portland, Oregon and have a well-deserved reputation for excellent management paired with amazing empathy. Their staff is very helpful in supplying materials to aid in Alternative Gift Fairs, promptly and at no charge. Their gift cards for 2010 were distinctive, conveying their messages of hope with colorful pictures & catchy wording.