Operation Blessing International
|Founder||M.G. "Pat" Robertson|
|Focus||Disaster Relief & Development|
|Area served||105 countries|
|Method||Direct Aid / Program Funding|
|Key people||M.G. "Pat" Robertson (Chairman of Board of Directors), Bill Horan (President)|
|Revenue||USD $377,963,289 (2011)|
|Slogan||Our mission is to demonstrate God's love by alleviating human need and suffering in the United States and around the world.|
Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation (OBI) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA. Beginning in 1978, OBI has operations in 105 countries and all 50 US states, providing goods and services valued at more than $3.1 billion. Implementing programs that provide disaster relief, medical aid, clean water, hunger relief, community development and orphan care, Operation Blessing is governed by a national board of directors that includes founder M. G. "Pat" Robertson.
Founded on November 14, 1978 by businessman, televangelist, and philanthropist Pat Robertson, Operation Blessing was originally set up to help struggling individuals and families by matching their needs for items such as clothing, appliances, and vehicles with donated items from viewers of The 700 Club, Robertson's daily television program. Coordinating with local churches and other organizations, OBI expanded their matching funds program to also include food provisions and financial assistance for low-income families. In 1990, Operation Blessing began moving from individual assistance to helping fund outreach centers across the U.S. who provide a broad, community impact through their partnerships with local ministries, food pantries, and shelters. Internationally, OBI continued to expand its medical, hunger and disaster relief efforts and, in 1986, Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation was officially incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
According to the organization's official website, Operation Blessing's mission statement is "...to demonstrate God's love by alleviating human need and suffering in the United States and around the world." Operation Blessing operates on a daily basis in 23 countries around the world, implementing programs that provide strategic disaster relief, medical aid, hunger relief, clean water and community development.
Specializing in disaster relief, Operation Blessing was involved in relief work following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake (Indonesian tsunami), as well as recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina and during the Darfur conflict.
More recently, OBI has funded relief and recovery efforts in response to war-torn Somalia, Israel and Lebanon; the Niger food crisis; the 2010 Haiti earthquake; the 2010-2011 Haiti cholera outbreak; the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami; the 2011 Horn of Africa famine; and 2011 tornadoes in Virginia, Alabama, and Missouri.
Internationally, Operation Blessing medical teams offer free medical care (general medical, optical, dental and surgical services) and medicine to impoverished families, many of whom cannot afford such treatment or live in rural areas without regular access to health clinics. They are also developing teams of community health workers to help prevent and detect illnesses and diseases in rural villages as well as conduct insecticide-treated bed net distributions for children and pregnant women to reduce the risk of being bitten by malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
Operation Blessing teams drill water wells in impoverished communities to provide villagers with an accessible clean water source, preventing many water-borne diseases and reducing the amount of time women and children spend collecting water. In high altitude areas where wells are not an option, cisterns installed by Operation Blessing collect and store rainwater. Operation Blessing also installs large water purification systems that purify up to 10,000 gallons of water a day, often used during disasters or for high volume areas like hospitals.
In the United States, Operation Blessing's Hunger Strike Force trucks deliver an average of almost 2 million pounds of food and product each week to local ministries, food pantries, shelters, and more across America. Internationally, Operation Blessing's food distributions are helping to fight hunger and reduce malnutrition by providing emergency food relief to children and families in crisis. Further, food security efforts like grain banks, agriculture training, and fish farms are working to establish long-term hunger relief in areas affected by drought, famine and poverty.
Microenterprise projects and loans are helping to equip men and women with marketable job skills and the resources needed to open small businesses in countries like Honduras, the Philippines, Peru and India. Skills training courses in electrical work and baking, as well as community development initiatives such as vegetable gardens and sewing centers are helping to improve the living conditions of impoverished families and develop stronger communities.
Operation Blessing's Orphan's Care programs provide nutrition, education, medical care, and more for vulnerable children while also aiding HIV/AIDS orphans, street children living in poverty, and those rescued from child trafficking.
Operation Blessing partners with numerous other organizations and nonprofits, including Mayo Clinic of Minnesota, TOMS Shoes, Free Wheelchair Mission, and Tide Loads of Hope. OBI also conducts annual food distributions with professional sports teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals, Washington Redskins, and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Operation Blessing is a member of the Association of Evangelical Relief and Development Organizations (AERDO) and is registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). OBI is also a national member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), Christian Service Charities, Christian Service Organizations of America (CSOA), the Global Compassion Network, the Virginia Trucking Association, and the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
According to the organization, more than 99% of OBI's spending goes toward humanitarian programs. Forbes called OBI one of "America's Most Efficient Charities", and OBI was awarded Charity Navigator's coveted 4-star rating for sound fiscal management for the 7th year in a row (2011), a feat that only 2% of rated charities have ever achieved. Additionally, The Chronicle of Philanthropy currently ranks OBI as the 23rd largest charity and the 6th largest international charity. Operation Blessing is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), and is audited annually by KPMG, LLP.
After making emotional pleas in 1994 on The 700 Club for cash donations to Operation Blessing to support airlifts of refugees from Rwanda to Zaire, it was later discovered, by a reporter from The Virginian-Pilot, that Operation Blessing's planes were transporting diamond-mining equipment for the Robertson-owned African Development Corporation, a venture Robertson had established in cooperation with Zaire's dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, whom Robertson had befriended earlier in 1993. According to Operation Blessing documents, Robertson personally owned the planes used for Operation Blessing airlifts.
Robertson continues to state that Operation Blessing was largely responsible for providing aid to Rwanda following the 1994 genocide, even after an official investigation into Operation Blessing described it as a "fraudulent and deceptive" operation that provided almost no aid. A September 2013 article in The Guardian stated that all Operation Blessing volunteers did was recite Bible passages at dying refugees. Robertson was accused of taking credit for work that was actually done by Médecins Sans Frontières.
In December 2013, The Guardian issued an apology to Operation Blessing, retracting many of their accusations, acknowledging that they had not mentioned a further report that cleared Operation Blessing of any wrongdoing, and agreeing to make a donation to Operation Blessing's "relief efforts for victims of the typhoon in the Philippines." A 1999 report concluded that, whilst Robertson's request for donations to Operation Blessing had been misleading, they were not an intentional attempt to commit fraud.
- "Annual Report" (PDF). Operation Blessing. 2011. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "History". About. Operation Blessing. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "About Us". 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-28.
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- "Cholera in Haiti: a view from a first responder". CNN. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
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- "Medical Aid". Operation Blessing. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
- "Clean Water". Operation Blessing. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "Annual Report" (PDF). Operation Blessing. 2011. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "Hunger Relief". Operation Blessing. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "Microenterprise". Operation Blessing. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "Orphan's Care". Operation Blessing. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "Power & Influence Top 50" (PDF). The NonProfit Times. Retrieved 2007-08-28.[dead link]
- "Chiefs & Royals Help Feed Kansas City". Kansas City: Chiefs. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
- "Member Organizations". AERDO. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-07-20. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
- "Thousands of Volunteers Embark On Massive Gutting in Orleans Parish". FEMA. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
- "Ocean Freight Reimbursement Success Stories". USAID. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
- "Affiliations". About. Operation Blessing. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "Financial Information". About. Operation Blessing. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "Mission Congo: how Pat Robertson raised millions on the back of a non-existent aid project". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2013-09-14. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
- "Mission Congo - Toronto Film Festival". Toronto Film Festival. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
- "OBI Responds to Malicious Mission Congo Allegations". Operation Blessing. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
- "Corrections and clarifications". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
- "Guardian Newspaper Apologizes". The Christian Post. Retrieved 2014-02-11.