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Since joining FCNL a month ago, I’ve been blown away by the dedication of our lobbyists and advocates who are working to build the world that we seek. Our experts are willing to get into the weeds to push for the policies we need, while our advocates are tireless in lobbying Congress for important legislation.

With the recent passage of a major funding deal, I wanted to give you an update on some of the issues that we have been working on.

Win for Peacebuilding

Last year, our Advocacy Teams and QPPI participants worked extremely hard to defend and strengthen U.S. funding for peacebuilding around the world. FCNL Advocacy Teams were the only national network of volunteer constituent advocates supporting these specific funding priorities! The recent deal maintains funding for programs to prevent violent conflict and atrocities, address the root causes of violence, and build reconciliation. These programs faced steep cuts in the negotiating process, so defending this funding is a major win for our advocates. We know that a dollar spent keeping peace saves sixteen dollars in the cost of war

International Disaster Assistance Grows

As we continue to face climate crisis, humanitarian disasters and human needs, the need for international disaster assistance grows. The United States as a moral obligation to aid countries facing devastation.

In the recently passed deal, we saw an increase in the amount allocated for international disaster assistance, enabling the U.S. to better respond to cascading crises. The amount is still far from sufficient, but it is a step toward the world we seek.

Challenges for Migration

Unfortunately, the recent budget deal does not do justice to the needs of asylum seekers, migrants, or border communities. It cuts funding for case management for asylum seekers and the Shelter and Services Program (SSP). The SSP is critical to providing a humane reception to migrants arriving in the U.S., and the program is already stretched thin to meet essential needs. 

While we are deeply disappointed in the cuts made to the SSP, we applaud the work of FCNL advocates who helped defend this vital program from threats to eliminate its funding entirely. FCNL’s Bridget Moix recently wrote in RNS about the kinds of practical solutions we need to modernize our immigration system.

Blocking Gaza Aid

As the people of Gaza face starvation, Congress cut all funding to the leading organization that’s trying to feed them. The legislation that passed contained a provision that places a ban on any funding for UNRWA – the U.N. agency that serves as the backbone of humanitarian operations in Gaza.

The provision is backed by President Joe Biden and comes in response to allegations that several of UNRWA’s thousands of employees may have played a role in the horrific October 7 Hamas attacks in Israel.

UNRWA responded with serious action to address the allegations, and U.S. allies who initially suspended funding to the organization have since resumed it. But the U.S. is pulling critical support for the agency even as humanitarian experts are issuing the most devastating warnings yet that Gaza faces imminent famine.

Under extreme danger, UNRWA staff are working heroically to continue providing aid to families and children in Gaza who rely on them for daily survival. Collectively punishing millions who are suffering over the alleged actions of a few is cruel, unjust, and profoundly immoral.

What Congress passed last week is not perfect. The ban on UNRWA funding is particularly devastating as the situation in Gaza grows more and more dire.

But I know that without the bold advocacy of FCNL lobbyists and advocates it could be far worse for so many issues that we care about. It’s a privilege to be part of a community with this dedication to justice and peace. I’m looking forward to continuing to advocate with you to build the world we seek.

Greg Williams

Senior Director of Digital Communications

Greg Williams serves as the Senior Director of Digital Communications at FCNL. In that role, he strategizes and implements email and web communications to support the development and advocacy teams.