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‘If We Cut Off Federal Funding for Refugee Contractors We Would Have a Down Payment For The Wall!’

Updating financial data on refugee contractors, big bucks for ‘humanitarian’ work!

By Nayla Rush on August 10, 2018

The U.S. refugee resettlement program involves a number of processes, some overseas and others on the domestic front.

Inside the United States, nine non-governmental organizations work with, and are funded by, the Department of State to resettle refugees. These religious or community-based organizations referred to as voluntary agencies (or volags) help resettled refugees with the following: reception upon arrival; support with housing, food, and clothing; community orientation; English lessons, enrollment in various benefits and welfare programs; referral to social service providers (including health care, employment), etc.

Refugee Racket

Some of these organizations’ leaders have been calling on President Trump to increase the refugee resettlement ceiling to 75,000 for FY2019. Their commitment to helping refugees is undoubtedly guided by good intentions; it is, however, important to keep in mind that, for these organizations, lower resettlement admissions mean less federal funding.

For this post, I looked at two things: The share of their budget coming from government funding and the salary of their Director/President/CEO. Blogger Ann Corcoran carried out a similar exercise a year or so ago.

I used the most recent publically available Form 990 federal tax returns (some were from 2016, others 2015). I also retrieved, when possible, financial data from the organizations’ websites.

The full details are below, but here’s a summary of what I found:

  • These volags are funded, for the most part, by the U.S. government. Government funding ranges from a low of 58.5 percent to a high of 97.3 percent. (Some services provided, and government funds received, by these organizations may be non-refugee-related.)
  • Yearly compensations for the heads of these organizations range from a low of $132,000 to a high of $671,749.

The nine volags are:

Church World Service (CWS)
Form 990, 2016
Contributions and Grants: $93,044,199
Government grants (contributions): $68,448,159 (73.6 percent)
Compensation: Rev. John L. McCullough, president and CEO:
Reportable Compensation from the organization: $268,350
Estimated amount of other compensation from the organization and related organizations: $77,016
Total: $345,366
From their website:
Year ended June 30, 2017:
Total support, revenues, gains and other income: $96,723,739
Government support: 68,448,159 (70.8 percent)

Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) (religious)
Churches do not have to file 990 forms; there were none filed for this volag. No financial data, either, was accessible on their website. But Corcoran found that they were 99.5 percent funded by the federal government.
According to an Episcopal News Service 2017 post, “EMM receives very little money from the church-wide budget, instead receiving 99.5 percent of its funding from the federal government. Its main office is housed at the Episcopal Church Center in New York. Stevenson [Mark Stevenson, EMM’s director] has said that 90 percent of the contract money directly goes to resettling refugees. EMM retains about $2 million for administrative costs, including all national staff salaries. Any unused money goes back to the government.”
No data available regarding the financial compensation of EMM’s director.

Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC)
Form 990, 2016
Contributions and Grants: $18,809,497.
Government grants (contributions): $18,297,256 (97.3 percent)
Compensation: Tsehaye Teferra, PhD, President:
Reportable Compensation from the organization: $201,660
Reportable compensation from related organizations: $84,424
Estimated amount of other compensation from the organization and related organizations: $71,521
Total: $357,605

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) (religious)
Form 990, 2016
Contributions and Grants: $41,855,465
Government Grants (Contributions): $24,493,763 (58.5 percent)
Compensation: Mark Hetfield, President and CEO:
Reportable Compensation from the organization: $316,455
Estimated amount of other compensation from the organization and related organizations: $27,175
Total: $343,630
From their website:
For the year ending December 31, 2016:
Total contributions: $43,784,191
Government contributions: $24,493,763 (55.9 percent).

International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Form 990, 2015
Contributions and Grants: $730,809,685
Government grants (contributions): $493,570,089 (67.5 percent)
Compensation: David Miliband Director, CEO, President:
Reportable Compensation from related organizations: $671,749
Total: $671,749

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) (religious)
Form 990, 2016
Contributions and Grants: $67,228,228
Government grants (contributions): $64,666,482 (96.2 percent)
Compensation: Linda Hartke, ex officio director, president, and CEO.
Reportable Compensation from the organization: $293,066
Estimated amount of other compensation from the organization and related organizations: $34,810
Total: $327,876
Note: the current interim president and CEO is Pat Nichols. Reports of financial mismanagement, fraud, and harassment led to the departure of Linda Hartke and calls for an external investigation.
From their website:
For the year ended December 31, 2016:
Total Support and Revenue: $ 69,421,000
U.S. Government and State: $64,666,000 (93.2 percent)

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
Form 990, 2015
Contributions and Grants: $55,313,115
Government Grants: $53,600,108 (96.9 percent)
Compensation: Lavinia Limon, President and CEO:
Reportable Compensation from the organization: $260,491
Estimated amount of other compensation from the organization and related organizations: $39,703
Total: $300,194
Note: The current President and Chief Executive Officer is Eskinder Negash.
From their website:
For the Year Ending September 30, 2016:
Total Revenue: $59,441,100
Government Grants: $53,615,872 (90.2 percent)

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) (religious)
No Form 990 could be found.
In their latest financial statement (year ended December 31, 2016):
Operating revenues, gains and other support: $143,986,241
Government contracts and grants revenue: $95,256,272 (66.2 percent)
USCCB’s president is Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo; no data on his financial compensation was available.

World Relief Corporation (WR) (religious)
Form 990, 2015
Contributions and Grants: $66,262,886
Government Grants: $46,776,420 (70.6 percent)
Compensation: Stephan Bauman, CEO/President:
Reportable Compensation from the organization: $100,641
Estimated amount of other compensation from the organization and related organizations: $32,099
Total: $132,740
Note: Tim Breene is now the CEO and Scott Arbeiter is president.

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