Browse through our frequently asked questions to learn more about IOCC and the services we provide.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is IOCC – International Orthodox Christian Charities?

A: IOCC is the humanitarian aid agency of the Assembly of Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. IOCC works in cooperation with the Orthodox Church and on behalf of Orthodox Christians. In carrying out its mission, IOCC applies the highest professional standards and renders itself fully accountable to the public and its donors.

Q: How much of my gift goes directly to programs?

A: Over the last 23 years, on average IOCC has used 92¢ out of every dollar for programs that help people in need. The remainder goes toward administration and fundraising costs. For detailed information about how donations are used, view our Financial Information page.

Q: Does IOCC accept donated items, such as clothing, furniture, and toiletries?

A: To some extent, yes; IOCC does accept gifts of supplies that meet demonstrated needs. There is a specific program detailing the types of items to donate – emergency kits.

Each emergency kit is a small package of supplies that is assembled in the United States (by a supporter like you; or a parish or other group). The kits are then shipped to an address here in the U.S., and then shipped to people in need in other parts of the world. There are three basic types: school, health/hygiene, and clean-up bucket.

Our vehicle donation program is another way to donate a tangible item of value to IOCC.

IOCC also works with corporations and other organizations to provide bulk shipments of brand new products that meet strategic needs. Examples include: shoes, books, medicines and medical supplies.

If you or your company is interested in working with IOCC to partner in one of our programs by offering donated products, please see our Corporate Giving page for more information.

Q: Where does IOCC work?

A: Our headquarters is in Baltimore, Maryland. There are also offices in other countries where we have programs. The location of the offices varies depending on needs. Since our founding in 1992, we have worked in more than 60 countries.

To see what countries IOCC is currently working in (as well as where we’ve been in the past), visit Where We Work. You’ll also see examples of the types of life-saving projects and assistance donors like you make possible. Currently, some of the areas of focus include Syria, Greece, Jordan, Lebanon, Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza and the United States.

Q: How do you choose projects and the people to help?

A: IOCC determines when and how it will respond based on a needs assessment that factors in such things as: severity of need, financial support, availability of IOCC and partner human and logistical resources, and expertise for a given crisis.

More details are in the Where We Work section of the website, along with the FAQs such as who receives assistance and why so many partners.

Q: Who receives assistance from IOCC?

A: Need (without discrimination of any kind), determines who receives assistance. This determination is done in conjunction with local partners and community leaders, and in coordination with other humanitarian organizations working in a given area.

Wherever we put your donor dollars to work … it’s done in close cooperation with local organizations and community leaders. The results are more effective and sustainable solutions. Local people understand the language, culture and internal dynamics of the country where your donations are helping people.

What’s more, the locals are very good at identifying those most in need, and any resources already available within country to help its citizens. Plus experience has shown that the people receiving assistance respond better to this grassroots approach – to leaders from their own community.

Examples of the people receiving assistance are in the Know the Causes, and the Where We Work sections of the website.

Q: Does IOCC do refugee resettlement?

A: IOCC does not do refugee resettlement in the United States. If your parish or group is interested in learning about organizations that do, please see UNHCR’s list of US Resettlement Agencies here.

Q: What’s the best way I can help?

A: Monetary donations are the best way you can help and it’s known as “smart compassion” Charitable organizations such as IOCC advise donors that monetary donations to proven relief organizations are the most effective way to help – especially when helping survivors of an emergency crisis.

Q: Can I sponsor someone in need?

A: Given the high cost of sponsorship programs, IOCC does not offer this type of direct one-to-one relationship with a beneficiary. Nonetheless you can give with confidence knowing IOCC works to help the poorest of the poor – either in response to emergencies, or long-term socio-economic development needs. And your donations also help refugees, displaced citizens, victims of natural disasters and violence (e.g. wars and terrorism), and many others. See the six main ways you help people.

Q: You have pointed out the needs of children who have been orphaned. Can I adopt a child through IOCC?

A: IOCC does not offer any type of adoption program, although we encourage you to follow your heart in this endeavor. Christ calls upon us to give our love and our support to those who are without – whether lacking in food, a safe home, warm clothes, physical ability … or even to help children who have lost their parents. Your desire to adopt and share your love with an orphaned child is commendable and we wish you the best in this undertaking.

Q: How can I volunteer to go overseas?

A: IOCC is looking for highly skilled people who share our passion for helping others. These international positions are among some of our most challenging and rewarding career opportunities. You’ll have the chance to apply your expertise and compassion in the field where they have the greatest impact. Another opportunity you may wish to explore is the IOCC internship program or IOCC Professional volunteer program.

Q: Why do you have so many partners? And how do you choose your partners?

A: Working in cooperation (partnership) with other organizations increases our effectiveness. It also broadens the types of projects we can help fund and execute. We pool the expertise, resources and connections to help ensure your donor dollars are doing the most good.

IOCC is a member of various alliances (e.g. ACT Alliance and InterAction), and we’re part of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), a national network of faith-based, community-based emergency response organizations. We also partner with organizations connected to the Orthodox community in the United States or overseas.

Thank you for your interest in IOCC and the work our supporters make possible. Taking action to help ease the suffering of others is a rewarding act of compassion. We hope you’ll join us.