The Committee for Week of Compassion met recently at the National Benevolent Association's office in St. Louis, MO, to receive updates on the state of the ministry, to engage in strategic planning, and to respond to the emergency requests from our global partners. After careful consideration, the Week of Compassion Committee approved roughly $150,000 in emergency funds to respond to the famine crisis in East Africa, the conflicts in Nigeria and Syria, and the global refugee crisis.
In addition to its regular business, the committee approved nearly $220,000 in sustainable development proposals to support eight communities in countries including Liberia, Bosnia Herzegovina, West Timor, Chile, and Palestine. These funds will nurture communities' capabilities to prepare for disaster before it happens, grow reliable food sources, empower women to work toward peace within their communities, provide young girls with livelihood skills, and integrate renewable energy technologies into agricultural practices. Ultimately, the impacts from these projects will extend across generations for many years.
The committee also reviewed the 2016 audited financials, which reflects the strong position of Week of Compassion to not only continue to make an impact, but increase our presence in times of disaster and conflict in the coming years. Thanks to your generosity, Week of Compassion ended the year with a 1% increase in unrestricted giving from 2015. This strong financial position translates to a continued positive impact on many lives across the world. In 2016, Week of Compassion was able to provide more support for refugees, famine, disaster recovery, and sustainable development than the previous year.
Given the critical nature of so much of our partners' work, the committee members could not help but be personally impacted by the stories they heard. Judith Frost, Co-Chair of the Week of Compassion Committee and a member of Christian Church of Arlington Heights (Chicago, IL), reflected that the committee was particularly "touched and inspired by the messages shared by our partners on the ground in Syria and our ministry partners from Disciples Home Missions working with refugees and immigrants." Hearing these stories left her "excited and humbled to continue working with these partners in new and creative ways into the future."
"I am grateful for the church's ongoing commitment to serve those in need. Their generosity makes a real difference in the lives of so many all over the world," said Week of Compassion Executive Director, Rev. Vy Nguyen, reflecting on the meeting.
As the committee met last week, you, the supporters of Week of Compassion, were never far. Together, we are doing the work that we, as followers of Christ, are called to do. This is work that we would never be able to do alone, and we are grateful to have you as our partners.