David W. Barringer, CEO of the St. Vincent dePaul Society presents some very encouraging figures in his recap of the recent annual meeting in Rhode Island.
Among several very special guests at last week’s National Assembly in Providence, the Secretary General for the
Confederation International of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Julien Spiewak, was with us to share some of the
activities of our Society around the world. He focused on the youth and young adult conferences starting in countries in every region of the world. It was very inspiring!
While he was with us, we asked him to receive information about the U.S. Society’s financial contributions to various international causes. On the one hand, it has been a very challenging year with the earthquakes in Nepal, a typhoon in Vanuatu and millions of refugees flooding into neighboring Middle East countries in need of food and shelter. On the other hand, the Society is planning several meetings across nations to elect, organize and train future
national leaders and grow our worldwide presence.
This may seem distant to those of us living in the United States. We are blessed to live in a relatively peaceful nation with stable political and financial environments. While we have poor people to be certain, we also have resources to help them. It is easy to stay immune to some of the world’s poverty, but thank God we choose not to do so.
As Americans we often see ourselves as part of the world’s neighborhood and voluntarily bear obligations to help others through our funds. This is very true as well within the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Julien commented to me that among 150 nations with a SVdP presence, only a very small number can contribute to keep the international operations afloat and to provide resources such as disaster assistance to the many poorer parts of the world.
So while Julien was with us, I shared with him as well as with our own members how the U.S. Society, through your contributions sent to the National Council, have contributed to international activities since October. Here is a recap:
•We supported a fall meeting of Society leaders from across Africa with $10,000 intransportation assistance to poorer countries that could not afford to attend the meeting on their own.
•We provided another $10,000 to help Society leaders from poorer countries to attend the 2016 International Assembly in Rome and elect our next International President.
•We collected $153,992 to assist the Society’s Commission for International Aid and Development (CIAD) general fund for disaster and development projects around the world.
•We sent $411,272 in disaster relief specifically for the rebuilding of Nepal and Vanuatu after the earthquakes and floods respectively.
•We continued to support the disaster efforts started last year with an additional $91,963 for projects in the Philippines.
•Thus far we have collected $52,147 to assist the Syrian refugee crisis with disaster assistance provided through the Lebanon National Council.
The above amounts to $729, 374 in U.S. Vincentian support of our Society’s international efforts.
Many of you have contributed either individually or with your council, and I thank you for your
But wait, there’s even more!
A private U.S. foundation that believes strongly in the work of our Society and wishes to remain anonymous has added to your efforts! Inspired by your contributions and the Society’s work domestically and globally to help the poorest of our neighbors, the foundation has contributed an additional:
•$230,000 to help provide clothing, food and education to refugees in Lebanon.
•$50,000 to help rebuild homes in Nepal (at a cost of $5000 per home).
•$45,000 to the CIAD General Fund for future needs.
When the foundation’s generous $325,000 is added to our own contributions, $1,054,374 has been contributed to international efforts since October. And now that some leaders know more about your efforts with this report at National Assembly, I know that even more funds will be on the way.
Through this process president Sheila Gilbert and I have remained in close contact with Brian O’Reilly, the CIAD chair who you may remember was our guest last year in Atlanta. He and his team do a remarkable job not only in transmitting disaster and development funding but also in assuring transparency, accountability and proper reporting on fund use. Your dollars are well and wisely spent!
The above, you may have noticed, does not include our ongoing support in Haiti. That’s only because these funds are collected and sent separately to the Vincentian Family Haiti Initiative and/or directly to four schools we support with student scholarships. You can find details on this program separately in the eGazette. Between $150-200,000 are collected annually for this program, and I thank you for your consistent annual contributions to keep our Haitian youngsters in school and on the way out of poverty.
There are different views of the U.S. around the world. But no one doubts the sincerity and generosity of our contributions within the global Society of St. Vincent de Paul. We often can’t be on the ground locally in disaster locations around the globe, but our hearts, prayers and dollars inspire our Vincentian brothers and sisters everywhere to know that we are with them as they serve on behalf of all of us.
Thanks again for your outstanding support of our fellow Vincentians and our work in 150 countries.
We are truly blessed.
Yours in Christ,