Public Safety, Disaster Preparedness and Relief

Catholic Relief Services, Inc.

  • Baltimore, MD

Mission Statement

Catholic Relief Services carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. We are motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ to cherish, preserve and uphold the sacredness and dignity of all human life, foster charity and justice, and embody Catholic social and moral teaching as we act to:

Promote human development by responding to major emergencies, fighting disease and poverty, and nurturing peaceful and just societies; and,

Serve Catholics in the United States as they live their faith in solidarity with their brothers and sisters around the world.

As part of the universal mission of the Catholic Church, we work with local, national and international Catholic institutions and structures, as well as other organizations, to assist people on the basis of need, not creed, race or nationality.

Main Programs

  1. HIV and AIDS
  2. Emergency
  3. Agriculture
  4. Health
  5. Education

service areas


Self-reported by organization

ruling year


chief executive

Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo

Self-reported by organization


disaster relief, Catholic, CRS, emergency, relief, humanitarian, international, development, HIV, AIDS

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Physical Address

228 West Lexington St

Baltimore, 21201 3443

Also Known As

Catholic Relief Services - USCCB


Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Disaster Preparedness and Relief Services (M20)

International Development, Relief Services (Q30)

Roman Catholic (X22)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is not required to file an annual return with the IRS because it is a religious organization.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Impact statement

Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community. Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, Catholic Relief Services eases suffering and provides assistance to people in need in 93 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. Overseas, we work through CRS offices located in the regions of Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America and the Caribbean.

CRS also works through regional offices within the United States to support Catholic individuals, parishes and dioceses as they strive to live their faith in solidarity with the poor and make decisions as consumers, voters and advocates to promote more just and peaceful societies.


What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Self-reported by organization

Program 1


Catholic Relief Services' HIV and AIDS programming is a central and growing component of our efforts to relieve suffering in the world.


Diseases, Disorders & Medical Disciplines



Population Served

General Public/Unspecified

Program 2


Catholic Relief Services continues to provide lifesaving food and supplies to fortify countless survivors of natural disasters as they rebuild their lives.





Population Served

General Public/Unspecified



Program 3


Catholic Relief Services works through local partner agencies to implement agriculture and environment programs for the poorest families and rural communities worldwide.





Population Served




Program 4


Catholic Relief Services take an integrated approach to health assistance.  To promote lifesaving interventions in each of the countries in which we serve, CRS engages a variety of partners, including the local Church and ministries of health.





Population Served

General Public/Unspecified



Program 5


CRS and its partners promote and support access to quality basic education for all.





Population Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)



Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Self-reported by organization

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops founded Catholic Relief Services ( in 1943 to express the Gospel call to love poor and vulnerable people through acts of charity and the pursuit of justice. Since then, CRS has evolved into an international humanitarian organization of more than 5,000 people, working in 93 countries and serving nearly 100 million direct and indirect beneficiaries in 2013.

    In collaboration with approximately 1,255 partner organizations, we work across nine program sectors (agriculture livelihoods, emergency response and recovery, health, HIV, water and sanitation, peace and justice, education, small enterprise and welfare). Our programs serve based on need, reaching poor and vulnerable women, men, girls and boys overseas without regard to race, sex, nationality or religion.

    Since the early 2000s, CRS has applied a theory of change grounded in the concept of integral human development, which promotes the good of the whole person and every person. Rooted in Catholic teaching, IHD supports the ability of each individual to realize their full human potential in the context of just and peaceful relationships, a thriving environment and solidarity with others. This goal for individuals and society is a long-term, dynamic process.

    For CRS, integral human development occurs when actors work collaboratively from across civil society and the public and private sectors, operating at different levels—individual, family, community, regional, national and international—to:

    • Protect human life and dignity by caring for poor, vulnerable and marginalized people

    • Increase resilience by protecting, building and maximizing family and community human, social, political, physical, financial, natural and spiritual assets

    • Promote right relationships between all people, and within and across families, communities and nations

    • Increase equitable and inclusive access to and influence on structures and systems at all levels
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    CRS contributes our unique expertise and relationships to the realization of integral human
    development through the following actions across the agency to:

    • Build capacity of our partners and ourselves to increase opportunities for people to live to their full human potential by supporting families and communities to move from vulnerability to resilience through equitable and inclusive livelihood strategies

    • Prove and take to scale evidence-based approaches that respond to local needs and foster local leadership

    • Cultivate strong relationships for effective collaboration, mutual learning, joint leadership and local innovation across the global network of Catholic organizations and individuals who share our vision of IHD

    • Build connections across the public and private sectors and civil society to create lasting, positive solutions to poverty and injustice

    • Influence policies and practices that promote integral human development

    CRS launched a new strategic plan ( in late 2013 that covers the 2014 to 2018 period. During this 5-year period, we will increase our impact and outreach to those in need and aspire to:

    • Increase to 150 million the number of poor and vulnerable people we serve overseas by continuously improving programs that respond to emergencies, strengthen the health, well-being and livelihoods of families and communities, and nurture peaceful and just societies

    • Inspire and engage more than 10 million Catholics in the United States to take action in solidarity with poor and vulnerable people overseas as an integral part of their faith

    The achievement of our aspirations will be driven by the following four strategic priorities:

    • Attain leadership in signature program areas for greater impact and influence

    • Deepen expertise in five targeted core competencies across CRS

    •Strengthen engagement in the United States and overseas with sister Catholic Church organizations and individuals to promote integral human development

    •Reinforce an organizational culture of high performance and accountability

    We will align our approach to resource mobilization to reinforce our ability to succeed with the four strategic priorities above.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Since 1943, Catholic Relief Services has been a force for lasting and positive change in the world. Built on the faith, compassion and reach of the global Church and the generosity of our donors, we are uniquely qualified to serve the poor and vulnerable. With a workforce of 5,000 around the globe and a deep and broad network of local and international partners, we are recognized for our holistic approach, expertise and delivery of results across nine program sectors to respond to humanitarian needs and advance human development.
    CRS considers the following core competencies critical organizational capabilities:
    • Partner Collaboration and Support: It is only through strong collaborative relationships across civil society and the public and private sectors that lasting, positive solutions to poverty and injustice can be achieved. CRS has worked for many years to “connect the dots” across myriad stakeholders—from local partners and governments to small-scale farmers and international businesses—to promote collaborative, mutually beneficial relationships. As a faith-based, private organization, CRS is committed to supporting local civil society actors, including Catholic Church and community-based organizations, to strengthen their capacity to contribute to lasting and meaningful social change. CRS has particularly strong expertise in capacity building and institutional strengthening.
    • Justice and Peacebuilding Integration: At the heart of the social mission of the Catholic Church is a call to work for justice and peace. Cultivating just and peaceful societies is part of our mission statement and an essential component of integral human development. To strengthen the application of the integral human development approach, we are committed to intensifying our efforts to integrate justice and peacebuilding into our work by promoting social equity and inclusion along the lines of sex, age, ethnicity, race and religion.
    • Monitoring & Evaluation, Accountability and Learning: Our commitment to operational and programmatic excellence demands continuous improvement in our ability to document, analyze and apply learning at the project, sector and agency levels, and to share that learning with stakeholders, practitioners and policymakers.
    • Information & Communications Technology for Development: ICT4D harnesses the potential of technology to improve both operational and programmatic aspects of our work. CRS is an emerging leader in this area, having rapidly built our capabilities through field-driven project needs and ideas, coupled with thought leadership and technical support sourced internally and from a broad base of partners.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    The expected outcome of our overseas work is to reach more poor and vulnerable people with evidence-based participatory, equitable, efficient and holistic interventions that leverage systemic sectorial and policy improvements for lasting, positive change. CRS uses standardized beneficiary and service delivery indicators to improve project performance, compare actual results against targets, track beneficiaries by sex and age group, and accurately report program progress to donors. The expected results of our work are not just about counting people and projects. They are about self-sufficiency, resilience, sustainability and replicability.
    The primary way in which CRS conducts overseas program performance measurement is at the project level through project monitoring and evaluation, or M&E. CRS has decades of experience in M&E at the project level. The field changes rapidly, and we strive to continuously improve and evolve our approach. In addition to project level M&E, CRS also conducts periodic case studies, operations research and impact evaluations. Data and results from these sources have been utilized successfully over the years to influence practices and policies, and have contributed to organizational learning.
    Our new strategy includes heavy emphasis on taking our ability to conduct high quality M&E for Accountability and Learning, or MEAL, to the next level by continuously improving our ability to provide effective feedback mechanisms for program participants; measure results and document learning; facilitate decision making based on learning; and share our learning with stakeholders, practitioners and policymakers.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    • In our signature program area of Emergency Response and Recovery, in 2013 CRS assisted more than 5.4 million people by implementing 396 projects in 64 countries, including humanitarian services to refugees and internally displaced people from Syria to the Central African Republic.

    CRS helped approximately 100,000 people resettle in their communities after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Now we are working with our Haitian partners to lay the foundation for lasting change in health care, education, housing and agriculture. We support communities with shelter, water and sanitation, and income-generating opportunities so that people earn an income and keep their children in school. Our transition from emergency assistance to long-term recovery includes permanent homes for thousands of people and livelihood strengthening programs.

    • In our signature program area of Agricultural Livelihoods, CRS helped more than 1.2 million small-scale family farmers in six sub-Saharan African countries overcome the effects of two devastating diseases of cassava—a food staple crop and key source of income.

    In partnership with a global network of experts and with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the 4-year Great Lakes Cassava Initiative provided farmers with disease-resistant seeds, along with training and mini laptops to monitor progress. This project has informed our new agriculture sector strategy—Pathway to Prosperity—which guides three critical areas: Recover, Build and Grow.

    • In our signature program area of Health, CRS has been at the forefront of HIV and AIDS response since 1989. As the lead member of AIDSRelief, part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, we have served more than 700,000 people in 10 countries, including 400,000 people receiving antiretroviral therapy since 2004. CRS supports partners to provide medicine, support, infrastructure and critical training, saving countless lives, including unborn children whose mothers have HIV.

    Building on AIDSRelief , we work with global and local partners to improve the health systems that serve the world’s poorest people. Since 2011, CRS has managed a Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization, or GAVI, project that supports civil society organizations in 14 countries to ensure vaccine delivery to underserved populations. Our Health Systems Strengthening Initiative mobilizes Catholic Health Association members and the University of Notre Dame to strengthen faith-based health networks in 10 countries.

    And we are continuing work in 26 countries to fight malaria, a preventable, curable disease that threatens half the world’s population and is a leading cause of death for young children in Africa.
    For more information about Catholic Relief Services, visit,, or view our 2013 Annual Report (

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Affiliations + Memberships

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance - Organization

InterAction - Member

Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member


Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance

American Institute of Philanthropy

Association of Fundraising Professionals

Philanthropy 400

Association of Fundraising Professionals

Charity Navigator



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Catholic Relief Services, Inc.



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  • Forms 990 for 2012
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Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo


Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo attended
college at Purdue University, where she received her B.S., M.S.I.A. and Ph.D.
degrees. Woo served as the dean of the Mendoza College of Business at the
University of Notre Dame since 1997. She served on the CRS board of directors as
one of the first lay members from 2004 until 2010. On January 1, 2012, she became
the seventh chief executive of CRS since the agency was founded in 1943.


"Each morning in my prayer, I ask for wisdom, strength, patience and the grace I will need that day. But most of all, I give thanks to God for being so generous, so bountiful, and for granting me the privilege of serving the poor through my work at Catholic Relief Services.

What you will see in the pages of this report is that God’s bounty is evident throughout the world. It appears even at the worst of times, in the most difficult of circumstances, through the generosity and solidarity of people like you; through the skill and dedication of the employees of CRS; and, most of all, through the commitment of the Church in the United States to carry out the Gospel mission of serving the poor, wherever they may live.

At CRS, Christ’s call to remain and keep watch with Him constitutes the foundation for all that we do, for our very existence. Our care for life, from conception to natural death, drives us to work wherever we find poverty, hunger, oppression or hopelessness. We want people around the world to see the face of God in the crops from a successful harvest, in the clear water of a new well, in the cry of a healthy baby, in a child’s education, in peace replacing strife.

This day, like every day, offers us the opportunity to participate in God’s work and His miracles, to find Him in every part of His human family. This is what we sought to do at CRS in fiscal year 2013, serving nearly 100 million people in 93 countries. And this is what we will seek to do every day, every year, as long as we are blessed with this wonderful opportunity.

May blessings overflow,

Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo
President & CEO"



Paul S Coakley

Archbishop of Oklahoma City (Oklahoma)


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Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



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