Catholic Relief Services was founded in 1943 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States to serve World War II survivors in Europe. Since then, we have expanded in size to reach more than 100 million people in more than 100 countries on five continents.
Our mission is to assist impoverished and disadvantaged people overseas, working in the spirit of Catholic social teaching to promote the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person. Although our mission is rooted in the Catholic faith, our operations serve people based solely on need, regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity. Within the United States, CRS engages Catholics to live their faith in solidarity with the poor and suffering people of the world.
CRS is motivated by the example of Jesus Christ to ease suffering, provide development assistance, and foster charity and justice. We are committed to a set of Guiding Principles and hold ourselves accountable to each other for them.
As the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States, CRS is governed by a board of directors comprising clergy, most of them bishops elected by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as religious and Catholic lay men and women.
CRS maintains strict standards of efficiency, accountability and transparency: 94 percent of our expenditures go directly to programs.