Church World Service

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Church World Service is a "faith-based organization transforming communities around the globe through just and sustainable responses to hunger, poverty, displacement and disaster."[1] Their affiliates in North Carolina and Ohio each received $100,000 from the Open Society Foundation's Communities Against Hate initiative in 2017 to "empower refugee and Muslim communities through trainings in leadership development, community organizing, Know Your Rights, de-escalation techniques, and civic participation."

Church World Service is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The President and CEO is Rev. John McCullough.


From their website:[2]

"Church World Service was born in 1946, in the aftermath of World War II. Seventeen denominations came together to form an agency “to do in partnership what none of us could hope to do as well alone.” The mission: Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, comfort the aged, shelter the homeless...
"Today the Immigration and Refugee Program of Church World Service is a vital, internationally-recognized operation, having resettled nearly half a million refugees since its inception.
"Also in 1947, Church World Service, Lutheran World Relief, and the National Catholic Welfare Program created a joint community hunger appeal, the Christian Rural Overseas Program, also known as CROP. The acronym is gone but the name and life-saving work remains as CROP Hunger Walks in some 1,500 communities across the United States.
"That early CROP initiative captured the imagination of America’s heartland. Soon “Friendship Trains” roared across the country, picking up commodities such as corn, wheat, rice, and beans to be shared around the world. The experience of the trains led to “Friendship Food Ships.” And, a multi-denominational program called One Great Hour of Sharing was formed to raise in-church gifts to help fill these ships. Church World Service continued to provide community-wide opportunities for sharing.
"In the 1950s and 60s, Church World Service expanded its reach across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
"As the ’60s dawned, Church World Service began to augment its emergency assistance work with support for long-range, problem-solving efforts – what came to be known as development.
"Development begins at the grassroots. Church World Service recognized early on that to be successful projects and programs must come from the people themselves, not be imposed by others.
"Church World Service sought out local agencies who share this vision of empowering self-help and long-standing partnerships were forged...
"In the 1970s Church World Service work evolved in significant ways. Our work in grassroots development inspired a deeper analysis of the root causes of hunger and poverty. As a result, in 1974 Church World Service – in collaboration with Lutheran World Relief – established the Development Policy Office in Washington, D.C. to represent Church World Service concerns about hunger to U.S. government bodies.
"The importance of this work was further ratified in 1978 by the findings of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger, which noted that the primary cause of hunger was poverty, i.e. human-made. Thus what was missing to end hunger was the political will to do so. The Report also called for a concerted effort to increase education on hunger and its causes. Staff from the Church World Service]] Development Policy office served on this Commission.
"In 1976, in order to provide greater support to refugees and their sponsors in the USA, Church World Service established refugee resettlement offices in various parts of the U.S. They played a pivotal role in supporting the growing number of refugees from Southeast Asia who were resettled to the United States in the years after the Vietnam War. While the number of offices ebbs and flows with refugee admissions, they continue to form the foundation for Church World Service work in resettling refugees in the US.
"It was also in the 1970s that Church World Service first began responding to U.S. disasters at the request of its member churches.
"Church World Service work in international emergency response and development through the 1970s and 1980s focused on working in partnership with other NGO’s and with local groups. In some instances this led to the creation of new, independent organizations such as the Middle East Council of Churches, the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh or CEPAD in Nicaragua. Working in partnership remains one of the hallmarks of Church World Service work. These groups remain valued partners to Church World Service.
"More recently, Church World Service was one of the founding members of a global partnership of faith-based humanitarian agencies, ACT Alliance, with members in 140 countries. With 130 member organizations, ACT Alliance provides a dynamic environment for collaboration in responding to human needs around the world. By working together agencies can maximize their impact."


Church World Service CEO Rev. John McCullough and Board Chair Earl Trent with CWS Haiti staff. (left to right) Rony Javier, Martin Coria, Earl Trent, Rev. John McCullough, Margot de Greef, Aaron Tate.

Member Communions

The following are listed as "Member Communions" of the Church World Service:[3]

Linda Hartke

A biography posted at the Center for Migration Studies website reports that Linda Hartke’s expertise on migrant issues comes from serving as chief of staff to Rep. Chet Atkins (D-MA), where "she worked on issues affecting the Southeast Asian refugee community. Her passion for serving vulnerable migrants continued after her time on Capitol Hill, first as country director for Church World Service in Cambodia, and then as director of programs and operations at its New York headquarters."[4]

White House Conference on Hunger

Alliance to End Hunger Logo

The Biden White House agreed to host a conference after a letter coordinated by the Alliance to End Hunger, who seeks to expand the role of government in food systems, was signed by multiple advocacy organizations on March 14, 2022.[5]

The letter reads in part:

"...Food insecurity negatively impacts health, educational access, workforce readiness and business productivity. In addition, the COVID pandemic has affected food security in all corners of America, while also widening the disparities in food insecurity among individuals who are Black, Indigenous, Latino and other people of color. Food insecurity in America is a political choice and there is an opportunity to take transformative action.
"A new White House Conference would bring together a broad range of stakeholders to comprehensively address food, nutrition, hunger and health in America. The conference should include the expertise of government agencies, the anti-hunger community, individuals who have experienced hunger and poverty, businesses, academia, and grassroots, healthcare and faith-based organizations. Ideally, it would seek to create a real, concrete plan to eliminate hunger and food insecurity, address hunger’s root causes and ensure nutritious food is accessible to all."

Church World Service signed the letter.

Recipient of Open Society Funding

Open Society Foundations Logo

Church World Service received a grant from the Open Society Foundation's Communities Against Hate initiative, which "supports organizations that are grappling with the spike in hate incidents in the United States over the last several months" as explained by a white paper dated June 22 2017.[6]

It continues:

"Our local grants, which range from $15,000 to $150,000, aim to support, protect, and empower those who are targets of hateful acts and rhetoric, and to bolster communities’ resilience and ability to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future. We are making grants on a rolling basis, and there are a few more in process. A complete list will be published on the Open Society Foundations website when all of the grants have been issued."

External links