From the President & CEO
The children on the cover of this year’s annual report are playing, even though their situation is anything but a game. Their families have fled violence in Syria for safety in Zaatari Refugee Camp, near Mafraq, Jordan. Now several years into the conflict, our global community still struggles with how to meet the immense needs of those forced from home around the globe.
There are now more people displaced from their homes by violence and strife than at any other time since World War II. That conflict gave birth to Church World Service. As we mark our 70th anniversary in 2016, there are a number of ways we can look at our work over the years. I am mindful of the millions of lives we have impacted in pursuit of our mission to eradicate hunger and poverty, and in promoting peace and justice. I think of the tons of material goods moved around the world — the trains, ships, cargo nets and sacks of grain that were early tools of our trade and gave rise to our work, straining under the bounty of generosity. I see caring communities who have opened their doors to more than half a million people fleeing danger and plight as refugees.
The black and white still photos, the celluloid film spooled in cardboard boxes and the scratchy radio reports that make up our rich archives are fascinating. One can feel the mud and grit of hard work our staff have endured for decades in accompanying communities to a better, brighter future. The battle against sand and dust faced by a refugee caseworker in Africa. The conviction in the eyes and hearts of those who advocate for change and walk alongside a community discovering its political voice. It is all there to be seen, felt and heard.
Yet for me, what is most interesting – and revealing about who we are – is in what is not seen. It is the force of our movement, built on connecting communities of means with communities of great need. Right now, the needs of those facing hunger, poverty and displacement are incredible. I believe they are nothing compared to the incredible force of generosity inherent to humankind. It is a source of energy and verve that shaped CWS first through the Friendship movement seven decades ago. It is the fuel of a movement that continues to burn all these years later, connecting us to our past better than any photo or reel of film.
These pages bear the fruit of our generous movement. It is our report on what we have been able to accomplish in the last year when like hearts and minds join to make a better world. It is but a snapshot in time of the needs found in our world and our shared commitment to make things better for so many who wrestle with so much.
It is for those we serve that we exist, and in response to their needs that we evolve. We are changing, and this is nothing new. For example, late in the 1960s we recognized that collecting and shipping clothes and food was becoming financially prohibitive. Our supporters helped us to shape new ways of building on goodwill by fostering more sustainable methods to help people have enough food to eat, clean water to drink and a safe place to call home.
So, we will continue to evolve, to adapt to new realities with hope for new opportunities that are possible when generosity and willingness to change meet. What will not change is the core of the generous movement that gave rise to those trains, cargo nets and ships nearly 70 years ago. This generous movement, and our commitment to shaping a world free of hunger, poverty and displacement, endures so that all children may know the joy of play, free from the threat of violence and the blight of poverty.
Rev. John L. McCullough President and CEO
Corporate Support Services
Office of the President
The Office of the President and CEO is responsible for overall leadership, strategy and execution of programs in support of achieving the Church World Service mission. The Office oversees relationships and policy with the CWS Board of Directors and CWS member communions, and directs the agency functions of finance; marketing and communications; human resources; strategy, research and incubation; and advocacy. It manages all support services that equip the relief and development, and immigration and refugee programs to function day to day, setting the standards for strategies, services and support that help humanitarians to do the most good alongside the most vulnerable.
The Office sets the vision and the energy for the work of Church World Service, as it works to expand its capacity and impact in the fight to end hunger and to support displaced communities.
The Advocacy Program operates in the Office of the President, complementing the regional program work in fulfillment of the CWS mission to “eradicate hunger and poverty and promote peace and justice.” We do this by advocating for U.S. policies and legislation that address CWS priority program concerns of global hunger and poverty, water and sanitation, climate change/disaster risk reduction, refugee assistance and humanitarian emergencies. Advocacy – like CWS program work – results in the hungry being fed, the thirsty having clean water, women and other small-holder farmers prospering, and a more just and peaceful world.
Strategy, Research, and Incubation
The responsibility of the executive vice president, strategy, research and incubation endeavors to ensure CWS programs are aligned in a common strategy that complements relief, development and refugee efforts globally. This is achieved through dynamic research in a variety of academic, peer agency and professional membership organizations. An incubation lab affords a space to connect great minds and great ideas through a team of advisors from business, industry and academia, and then test ideas that can influence and support the CWS mission.
The finance team ensures accurate and timely processing of donations and data for all CWS programs. Based in the agency’s Elkhart, Ind. administrative offices, the finance section also holds sole responsibility for managing cashflow, accounts payable, audit, and grant and contract accountability. The team continues to improve automation and technology in order to better support donors and CWS programs, and has secured what the U.S. Government labels “preferred vendor” status for its management of the agency’s refugee processing and resettlement programs.
Business services encompasses an array of responsibilities in support of day-to-day operations. This unit ensures IT support, mailroom and warehouse operations run smoothly, leases for space and property is maintained, and offices are equipped with the tools necessary to conduct business.
Human resources supports the organization in attracting and retaining qualified staff committed to CWS’ mission. The team’s primary focus is to work collaboratively throughout the organization to develop human resources programs and systems that support the business strategy and to provide advice and counsel to managers and staff globally.
The human resources team expanded its focus this year to engage CWS human resources professionals worldwide to create a real global team and to move from a U.S.-centric to a global focus to providing human resources support. The team is in the process of implementing Fairsail, a global human resources information system that will go live in the U.S. and Africa by the end of 2015. Fairsail will automate a number of manual or paper-based processes and free manager and staff time to focus on the mission. The teams looks to leverage the capabilities of Fairsail in the areas of recruitment and other areas of talent management in the year to come.
Marketing and Communications
The marketing and communications team is the primary unit for shaping and relaying the agency’s story. The staff liaises with relief and development, refugee and advocacy staff around the world in gathering and distributing stories about CWS work, and in supporting an array of communications efforts. It also supports the Office of the President in messaging and strategy, and is responsible for online engagement, producing materials, providing official statements and more.
The marketing and communications team expanded its responsibilities this year to renew focus on engaging the best asset CWS has: nearly 1,000 staff around the world. The team commissioned a new monthly staff newsletter, which is gaining readership, and has orchestrated a series of communications plans about changes in agency structure and programming with key stakeholders. The team looks to enhance online user experience, build on data-driven decision-making in engagement and marketing, and reposition its physical and administrative locations to better serve CWS and its program units in the years to come.