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Lutheran World Relief Answers CharityWatch's Questions About Relief Efforts For Ukrainians

   Mar 14, 2022

CharityWatch has expressed concern that some charities are getting in on the fundraising opportunity created by the conflict in Ukraine without a clear idea of how they will spend the donations they receive on relief efforts. This is a problem for two primary reasons:

1) Donors who respond to solicitations for donations to provide aid in a humanitarian crisis most often want their donations to be used to ease suffering now, not for some unknown purpose at some future date.

2) Charities that are unclear about how they can help, or that have no experience providing aid in Ukraine or in conflict zones in general, may be siphoning resources away from organizations that are actively providing boots-on-the-ground humanitarian assistance to suffering people right now. 

CharityWatch reached out to several Top-Rated organizations soliciting donations for Ukrainian relief efforts with hard-hitting questions about the amount of donations they have collected so far and how they are using them. We reached out to Lutheran World Relief. The charity responded on Friday, March 4th, 2022. This is what we found: 

Q: How much has Lutheran World Relief raised so far?

A. "Lutheran Relief has raised more than $607,000 in cash donations as of March 4, 2022. We are also shipping more than $500,000 worth of quilts, school kits, personal care kits, baby care kits and cloth masks of pre-conflict donations from our supporters."

Q. Does Lutheran World Relief have a dollar target for the amount of donations it plans to raise to provide aid related to the conflict in Ukraine? If so, will it stop fundraising for this conflict once it has reached this target?

A. "With the crisis deepening, Lutheran World Relief has not applied a limit to the funds it plans to raise from its supporters."

Q. What aid is your organization already actively providing in the region related to this conflict? 

A. "More than 3,600 quilts, valued at $73,260, are on the way from our warehouse in Dubai. We are also sending an emergency response team to Poland to further support our response to the crisis."

Q. Does Lutheran World Relief have plans to expand upon the humanitarian aid it is already providing?

A. "Lutheran World Relief expects that our response will...

  • Support critical health needs through the provision of medical supplies or support for emergency medical services.
  • Provide food, shelter and other critically needed items, including additional quilts and care kits.
  • Distribute emergency funds to refugees through a cash transfer program"

Q. If at some future date Lutheran World Relief has completed its operations related to providing aid in this conflict and still has funds left over that people donated specifically for this purpose, what is your organization's policy or plans for how such funds will be used?

A. "All funds raised related to Ukraine relief will be expended for that purpose, either in the short-term or until the funds are depleted."

Q. Can you provide any information about how much money Lutheran World Relief has spent so far providing aid related to this conflict?

A. "To date, [March 4, 2022] Lutheran World Relief has...

  • Committed $200,000 or more funds to startup of a cash transfer assistance service for those affected by the conflict, with that amount likely to escalate proportionate to fundraising.
  • Arranged shipment of two containers of quilts, school kits, personal care kits, baby care kits and cloth masks at a total value of $475,000, exclusive of undetermined shipping costs from its Maryland warehouse. 

Why Is Lutheran World Relief Top-Rated by CharityWatch?

CharityWatch analyzed the consolidated audited financial statements and IRS tax Form 990 for Lutheran World Relief. As part of this process, we segregated the cash donations and expenses the charity received and spent from the non-cash (in-kind) donations of goods it received and distribute so that we can give donors a clearer picture of how efficiently it used its cash donations.

Rating: A

Program %: 80%

Cost to Raise Each $100 of Cash Support: $14

CharityWatch has been rating Lutheran World Relief for more than two decades and it has consistently received financial efficiency ratings from CharityWatch that fall into the A-range or above on our "A+ to F" rating scale. CharityWatch will schedule an update of our rating of Lutheran World Relief based on its fiscal 2021 consolidated audited financial statements and IRS Form 990 once complete information becomes available. 

Transparency: Lutheran World Relief meets CharityWatch's benchmarks for Transparency. It posts a copy of its most current consolidated audited financial statements on its website, and has responded to our questions about its financial reporting (if any) necessary for CharityWatch to complete a meaningful analysis. 

Governance: CharityWatch reviewed the IRS Form 990 for Lutheran World Relief to see if it reports having certain policies in place (Conflict of Interest, Whistleblower, Document Retention) and a sufficiently independent board of directors. We also reviewed the consolidated audited financial statements of Direct Relief to determine if any governance issues were identified by the charity's auditors that were required to be reported under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Direct Relief meets CharityWatch's governance benchmarks.

 See CharityWatch's complete profile of Lutheran World Relief

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