Operation Blessing International

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Operation Blessing
Founded1978
TypeNon-Government Organization
FocusDisaster Relief & Development
Location
Area served
90 countries
MethodDirect Aid / Program Funding
Key people
Gordon Robertson (President)
Revenue
USD $276,804,696 (2018)[1]
Websitewww.ob.org

Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation (OBI) is a non-profit organization headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States. Founded in 1978, OBI operates in 90 countries, focusing on disaster relief, medical aid, clean water, hunger relief, community development, and orphan care programs.[2]

History[edit]

Operation Blessing International (OBI) was founded on November 14, 1978, by businessman and televangelist Pat Robertson. Its stated purpose is to assist people facing challenges, by connecting their needs, like clothing and appliances, with donations from viewers of The 700 Club. Operation Blessing International (OBI) collaborates with local churches and organizations to provide support to low-income families, including food and financial aid. In 1990, the organization transitioned its focus from individual assistance to funding outreach centers throughout the United States. These centers work with local ministries, food pantries, and shelters. OBI's international activities include medical aid, hunger relief, and disaster response efforts. The organization became officially registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1986, following a partnership with Development Corporation.

Activities[edit]

A team from Operation Blessing assisting a homeowner in Port Charlotte, Florida after Hurricane Ian.

Disaster relief[edit]

Operation Blessing has been involved in domestic relief work for victims of many natural disasters, such as severe flooding in Nebraska, tornadoes in Mississippi, and hurricanes Michael and Florence in Florida and North Carolina. and, internationally, Operation Blessing has assisted victims of humanitarian crises in Ukraine, Poland, Turkey, and Kenya.

With a focus on public health, Operation Blessing was involved in working to combat the spread of Zika fever through educational initiatives, distribution of mosquito nets, and providing insect repellent[3]

OBI's involvement extends to various natural disasters, including the April 2015 Nepal earthquake,[4] the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami,[5] and the 2010 Haiti earthquake and accompanying cholera outbreak.[6]

Operation Blessing has also responded to humanitarian crises arising from conflict in Iraq, Syria, Israel, South Sudan, Mali, Somalia,[7] and Lebanon.[8]

Partnerships[edit]

Operation Blessing has partnered with several organizations and nonprofits, including the Mayo Clinic of Minnesota, International Justice Mission, Free Wheelchair Mission, and Tide Loads of Hope. OBI also conducted annual food distributions with professional sports teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals.[9]

Affiliation[edit]

Operation Blessing is a member of the Association of Evangelical Relief and Development Organizations (AERDO)[10] and is registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)[11] and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).[12] It 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).[13]

Financial accountability[edit]

Operation Blessing is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA),[14] and is audited annually by KPMG, LLP.

Controversy[edit]

In 1994, Pat Robertson made pleas on The 700 Club for cash donations to Operation Blessing to support airlifts of refugees from Rwanda to Zaire. The Virginian-Pilot later discovered Operation Blessing's planes to be transporting diamond-mining equipment for the African Development Corporation, a venture Robertson had established in cooperation with Zaire's dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, whom Robertson had befriended earlier in 1993.[15][16] According to Operation Blessing records, Robertson owned the planes used for Operation Blessing airlifts.[17]

A 1999 report concluded that, while Robertson's request for donations to Operation Blessing had been misleading, it was not an intentional attempt to commit fraud.[18] A September 2013 article in The Guardian reported that Operation Blessing's volunteers recited Bible passages to dying refugees. Robertson was accused of taking credit for work that was actually done by Médecins Sans Frontières.[15]

In a December 2013 article, 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 their "relief efforts for victims of the typhoon in the Philippines."[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Operation Blessing International. "BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2018 annual report" (PDF).
  2. ^ "United States Agency for International Development (USAID)", Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief, 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks California 91320 United States: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2011, doi:10.4135/9781412994064.n303, ISBN 978-1-4129-7101-0, retrieved 2024-02-15{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  3. ^ "Operation Blessing launches effort to combat Zika virus in El Salvador, Haiti". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2016-06-01.
  4. ^ "Operation Blessing delivers food, supplies to Nepal". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  5. ^ "New fishing fleet signifies progress in Japan". NBC. Archived from the original (Video) on 2012-03-13. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
  6. ^ "Cholera in Haiti: a view from a first responder". CNN. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
  7. ^ Darg, David (2007-01-27). "Somalia dispatch: Delivering relief in a lawless land". AlertNet. Reuters. Retrieved 2007-09-06.
  8. ^ King, Lawrence ‘Larry’ (2007-08-09). "Live" (Transcript). CNN. Retrieved 2007-09-06.
  9. ^ "Chiefs & Royals Help Feed Kansas City". Kansas City: Chiefs. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  10. ^ "Member Organizations". AERDO. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-07-20. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  11. ^ "Thousands of Volunteers Embark On Massive Gutting in Orleans Parish". FEMA. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-03-08. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  12. ^ "Ocean Freight Reimbursement Success Stories". USAID. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  13. ^ "Affiliations". About. Operation Blessing. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
  14. ^ "Operation Blessing - MinistryWatch". db.ministrywatch.com. Retrieved 2024-02-15.
  15. ^ a b "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.
  16. ^ "Mission Congo - Toronto Film Festival". Toronto Film Festival. Archived from the original on September 4, 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
  17. ^ "OBI Responds to Malicious Mission Congo Allegations". Operation Blessing. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  18. ^ "Guardian Newspaper Apologizes". The Christian Post. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  19. ^ "Corrections and clarifications". The Guardian. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-11.

External links[edit]