Press statement by Child Foundation (Portland, Oregan) in response to the recent news regarding the foundation.
Dear Friends and Sponsors,
With your support, the Child Foundation has provided food and education access to thousands of Iranian children over the past 16 years. We take great pride in the lives we have touched by providing much needed aid to Iran's most vulnerable populations; aid that is not rooted in any religious or political conviction. We thank you for your valued support of our efforts.
As you know, the Child Foundation strives to alleviate the pressures political wrangling place on the most vulnerable populations of countries like Iran. These political pressures include the notorious policy of sanctions against Iran by the United States, the terms and conditions of which continue to evolve and drastically affect Iranian children's ability to thrive.
The Child Foundation has always employed the most scrupulous standards in its operations, always prioritizing beneficiaries-the children of Iran-whose lives would take very different paths were it not for our intervention. To that end, we have successfully sent humanitarian assistance for the past 16 years without incident.
Changes to the terms of US government sanctions against Iran have significantly altered the landscape of humanitarian work, making it more difficult for humanitarian agencies to carry out their activities. Almost three years ago, the US government began an investigation into whether our organization violated sanctions and breached the terms of our tax-exempt status. Earlier this year, the government told us that they intend to bring charges against the Foundation.
We were surprised and saddened that after nearly two decades of operating within the confines of the law, the American government would pursue charges. Our attorneys have guided us in responding to the alleged violations of US-Iran sanctions. We, and other international organizations, believe the sanction laws have set an unreasonable precedent for any organization or individual in America providing humanitarian aid to people living in politically unpopular nations. In the case of the Child Foundation, we are profoundly disappointed that despite 16 years of care to ensure that every dollar we receive goes toward our child sponsorship program as intended, the US government still decided to target our organization. Despite our objections to the accusations made against us by the government, we have had to make some very difficult decisions.
After several meetings with US government representatives, we had to make a difficult choice about whether to drain precious future resources needed in Iran on legal expenses, or to agree to a settlement with the US government, pay a fine, and work within the narrower confines they are now placing on all humanitarian organizations that engage Iran. We decided to choose the latter path.
As ever, our first priority is to continue to provide life-saving assistance to nearly 3000 children in Iran and beyond. In addition, we will continue to fulfill our duty to donors like you who rely on and trust the Child Foundation to ensure your dollars reach the children you sponsor.
It is likely you will have further questions after receiving this letter and to that end, we are including a question-and-answer document, which we hope will address some of the finer details of this matter. Our volunteer legal committee members are also available to address any of your concerns.
Now that our legal dispute with the US government is over, we need you more than ever. Many needy children are desperately awaiting your continued support and we feel we must proceed with renewed courage and conviction to begin our operations in a country as troubled as Iran. We call on you to share the strength of this mission at a time when it is most stridently tested.
Please feel free to contact us at any time. We value your support for our efforts and can only continue our work with your compassion and understanding. We draw strength from the great poet Hafiz who tells us "love is easy at first and then the challenges arrive". We hold sacred our donors and the children we sponsor and are committed to continuing to meet and overcome the challenges.
Board of Directors
For updates and a list of questions and answers please see our web site at www.childfoundation.org or contact our office at 503-698-4084 directly.
About Child Foundation
Our Mission: To help children in need who have been identified as high achievers remain in school.
Our Philosophy: We believe that education can move a child beyond the stigma of poverty, and give that child the tools to reach his or her true and full potential.
Our Purpose: Since our inception in 1994, Child Foundation has provided basic necessities to children living in poverty or hardship by enhancing the quality of the life for these children as well as their respective families. By providing access to education, Child Foundation hopes to increase the number of students graduating from school, and in certain countries, early matrimony.
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