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Mercy Corps
Mercy corps logo.png
Founders Ellsworth Culver, Dan O'Neill
Type 501(c)(3)
Founded 1979
Headquarters Portland, Oregon
Staff Neal Keny-Guyer, Nancy Lindborg, Dan O'Neill
Area served Global
Motto Be the change.

Mercy Corps is a global aid agency engaged in transitional environments that have experienced some sort of shock: natural disaster, economic collapse, or conflict. They move as quickly as possible from bringing in food and supplies to enabling people to rebuild their economy with community-driven and market-led programs. To lay the groundwork for longer-term recovery, Mercy Corps focuses on connecting to both government and business for the change they would like to see. "We actually focus on access to financial services as the critical element for helping to move people out of poverty," Nancy Lindborg, Mercy Corps President.[1]

Mercy Corps serves an area for extended periods of time to foster local entrepreneurship, rebuild social capital, and stimulate markets through "cash for work" programs and a variety of lending models. Mercy Corps, in the last 14 years, has founded 12 different finance institutions.[2] Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided more than US$1.95 billion in assistance to people in 107 nations.[3] Supported by headquarters offices in North America and Europe, the agency's unified global programs employ 3,700 staff worldwide and reach nearly 16.7 million people in more than 40 countries.[3]



Mercy Corps founder Dan O'Neill (left) and late co-founder Ellsworth Culver (right) at a refugee camp in Honduras in 1982.

The organization was founded in 1979 as Save the Refugees Fund, a task-force organized by Dan O'Neill in response to the plight of Cambodian refugees fleeing the famine, war and genocide of the Killing Fields. By 1982, the organization had expanded its work to other countries, was joined by Ellsworth Culver (Mercy Corps co-founder), and was renamed Mercy Corps International to reflect its broader mission. After a shift from simply providing relief assistance to focusing on long-term solutions to hunger and poverty, Mercy Corps' first development project began in Honduras in 1982.

As of 2009, Mercy Corps' global headquarters are now located in Portland, Oregon's Old Town neighborhood at 45 SW Ankeny St. 97204. Opened October 9, 2009, the building houses the agency's headquarters offices, The Mercy Corps Action Center (a companion center to The Action Center to End World Hunger opened, October 2009 in Manhattan), Mercy Corps Northwest and The Lemelson Foundation. [4]


The agency's efficiency has consistently placed it as one of Charity Navigator's "Three-Star" charities of choice (out of four possible stars).[5]

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006, Mercy Corps' income was US$205 million. US$81 million (40%) was from government grants. US$63 million (31%) was from in-kind donations ("material aid") in the form of food, medical, linens, and other supplies and services. Mercy Corps' expenses were US$191 million, which was primarily spent on the program but includes salaries and other compensation for 3,200 paid staff. Mercy Corps' total assets in 2006 were over US$98 million.

Organization, Mergers

Mercy Corps is a non-governmental organization (NGO). Keny-Guyer is the current CEO of Mercy Corps and Nancy Lindborg currently serves as the organization's President.

Mercy Corps incorporated the Conflict Management Group founded by Roger Fisher in 2004.[6] In 2007, Mercy Corps incorporated NetAid to expand its ongoing efforts to engage youth.[7]

Awards and distinctions

Awards and distinctions include:

  • The Sitara-i-Eisaar (Star of Sacrifice) award, presented by General Pervez Musharraf, the President of Pakistan, in recognition of Mercy Corps' relief efforts following the 2005 Kashmir earthquake.[8]
  • The Friendship Medal, presented posthumously to Mercy Corps co-founder Ellsworth Culver, by North Korean Ambassador Han Song Ryol - the first time that medal was presented to an American.[9]
  • The 2003 Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Award, presented by the Arab American Institute Foundation for long-term efforts to help families living in the Arab world.[10]
  • In 2008 Mercy Corps got Appreciating A Global Partnership in Rebuilding Aceh-Nias and Sharing the Lesson from President of the Republic of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono


  1. ^ Intelligent Investing with Steve Forbes, Interview with Nancy Lindborg,
  2. ^ Intelligent Investing with Steve Forbes, Interview with Nancy Lindborg,
  3. ^ a b "2008 annual report". Mercy Corps. Retrieved 2009-10-15. 
  4. ^ Bead, Richard (May 27, 2009). "As Mercy Corps grows, overhead more than doubles since 2000". The Oregonian. 
  5. ^ "Charity Navigator Rating - Mercy Corps". Charity Navigator. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  6. ^ Robert Perito (2007). Guide for Participants in Peace, Stability, and Relief Operations. United States Institute of Peace Press. pp. 143. ISBN 978-1601270009. 
  7. ^ "Mercy Corps and NetAid Join Forces". Mercy Corps. January 2007. 
  8. ^ Office of the Press Secretary to the President (2006-09-22). "Musharraf confers awards on outstanding Americans for relief work in quake-stricken areas". Press release. Retrieved 2007-11-13. 
  9. ^ "Pyongyang awards medal to American aid worker". Associated Press. 2006-01-16.,,1687142,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  10. ^ Kader, Nino. "Arab Foundation Awards Recognize "Spirit of Humanity"". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 

External links



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