Recently the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad established a Memorial and Relief Fund for local Iraqi staff of the CPA and local staff affiliated with the CPA, including locally contracted Iraqi personnel. The Fund is composed entirely of voluntary contributions from CPA staff, visitors and other private individual donors. The Relief Fund is established to respond to crises and humanitarian requests on behalf of our Iraqi colleagues working for the CPA or affiliated with the CPA in Iraq.
You guessed it….I’m asking for your help.
Iraqis who work with Americans here are every day under constant threats of violence directed at them personally. More than a few have died working with us trying to help rebuild their country. With an unemployment estimated at 65% the loss or temporary disabling of a breadwinner is far more catastrophic here then in the States.
If you can help, even just pocket change, please do.
The Fund itself is intended to be a quick, non-bureaucratic source of funds to assist local Iraqi staff with urgent needs for meeting emergency medical expenses, funeral expenses or other severe financial hardship. The amount of funds that can be disbursed is limited to the donations on hand. Right now, donations are urgently needed to assist the families of local CPA staff that have died or were injured in the last two weeks.
I’ve set up a PayPal account for this purpose. You can donate by going to PayPal and clicking on “Send Money” and then entering my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please add the comment “CPA Relief Fund” in the comment block on PayPal.
Currently, the Fund does not have a bank account, although one is being established. (You can imagine the hassle on funds transfer from the States to an Iraq with an underdeveloped electronic banking infrastructure.) You’d be relying on nothing more than my goodwill at this point to make sure the funds are correctly disbursed. But the Fund has a board that maintains the cash and reviews requests for assistance and I would be channeling funds to them for disbursement. Once the Fund is more mature, the process will be more transparent than it is now and I will back away from being the conduit and let them handle any donations directly.
As an aside, donations are not tax deductible for purposes of U.S. federal income taxes. To do that, the Fund would have to obtain certification from IRS as a tax exempt organization under Title 25 U.S.Code Section 501(c). Even if that were possible, we would have to have a complex accounting system to satisfy IRS requirements and also file an annual IRS Form 990 — and this would defeat he purpose of being a quick, non-bureaucratic means of alleviating distress of our employees here.
We’re grateful for anything you can do to help. A little goes a long way here.