Advocating Today for a Better Tomorrow: Preserving the U.S. Commitment to Foreign Assistance

Advocating Today for a Better Tomorrow: Preserving the U.S. Commitment to Foreign Assistance


CARE’s network of dedicated citizen advocates, working hand in hand with CARE staff on Capitol Hill, have succeeded in preventing devastating cuts to the U.S. foreign assistance budget. In keeping with America’s long tradition of generosity and humanitarian commitment, we’re staying the course – maintaining global engagement that saves and transforms millions of lives.

CARE’s “Don’t Cut Lives” campaign partnered with Congress to maintain U.S. foreign assistance in Fiscal Year 2018 – averting proposed cuts of more than 30 percent by the Trump Administration. By reaching out to representatives on both sides of the aisle, CARE and our humanitarian partners helped preserve over $17.3 billion for programs that save and improve lives – from helping women deliver babies safely… to protecting children from preventable but deadly diseases… to fighting gender-based violence and child marriage… to preventing famine that threatens tens of millions.

U.S. foreign assistance represents less than 1 percent of the federal budget, yet this small percentage has far-reaching impact. These funds are more important than ever, as 30 million lives are threatened by famine, 65 million people have been displaced from their homes, and infectious disease outbreaks are on the rise. The evidence shows reducing funding will cost lives and scale back the progress we have made around the world. But foreign assistance has been an unfortunate target of the Trump Administration, despite the overwhelming support for foreign assistance from both the Republican and Democratic Party.

CARE and our allies answered the call.

We led a coalition of global humanitarian agencies, held over 90 meetings with members of Congress, and rallied support from business and community leaders. CARE’s citizen advocates took action 177,059 times, calling, writing and arranging meetings and events with their representatives, signing petitions, and otherwise taking a stand for American generosity. CARE used cutting-edge tools including voter guides, grassroots training and digital technology to mobilize advocates to reach those in power.

Thanks to CARE’s dedication and leadership, millions of people will live and thrive who wouldn’t otherwise:

  • 9 million children will continue to have lifesaving nutrition interventions and treatments.
  • Life-saving food assistance and long-term food security programming will reach 30 million people.
  • Over 2 million people will have access to drinkable water.
  • Basic education programming will continue around the world, ensuring, among other things, that millions of girls can go to school.
  • The U.S. will keep a robust capacity to respond to disasters.
  • Teams fighting HIV, tuberculosis and malaria will be able to prevent 4 million more HIV, TB and malaria infections and 77,000 AIDS-related deaths.
  • More than 30,000 deaths of mothers and children will be prevented with maternal and newborn healthcare.
  • America will continue our commitment to supporting family planning, fighting child marriage and addressing gender-based violence.

Since Fiscal Year 2017, Congress has also made an unprecedented commitment to humanitarian funding. A special allocation of $7.66 billion made in 2017 is helping CARE and other agencies meet dire needs in places like Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen that face the threat of famine. This set the stage for a continued commitment to humanitarian needs in Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019.  A second victory came in August 2018, when the Administration backed off a plan to freeze and roll back more than $3 billion in foreign assistance funds that had already been budgeted but not yet spent.

What we achieved together is not just a success on Capitol Hill.  It echoes through the stories of countless individuals whose lives are transformed through programs funded by foreign assistance.

Our work is not over yet. CARE Action advocates are working tirelessly to preserve U.S. foreign assistance in Fiscal Year 2019 from any cuts. Tell Congress today, #DontCutLives. 

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