PRESENTING the foundation’s annual report for 2017, top officials of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) reported that the organization received just over $145M in donations and legacies in 2017. More than 82.5 percent of this income financed 5,357 projects to help the local Churches in 149 countries. ACN has national offices in 23 countries and close to 370,000 donors around the world.
The balance of the monies raised was spent on administrative services, fundraising campaigns, communications and marketing—categories where spending has been kept to a minimum.
ACN funding supported 1,212 construction projects, involving the repair or rebuilding of chapels, churches, cathedrals and seminaries, many of them in regions devastated by natural disasters. Every tenth priest (a total of 40,383) received help in the form of Mass stipends, particularly in Africa (15,440) and Asia (10,748).
In addition, 13,643 seminarians received support in the form of stipends, a larger number than ever before: one of every nine seminarians worldwide. Most of these beneficiaries are based in Africa. Living expenses were also given to 12,801 women religious, the majority of them members of contemplative orders; many women religious also received funding for their formation.
To support the pastoral mission of the Church, ACN also paid for 424 cars, 257 motorcycles, four trucks, three buses and three boats, motorcycles and bicycles as well as three boats, four lorries and three buses.
Last year, a large portion of aid once again went to the Middle East, where ACN sent well over a fifth of the total in aid, more than $20M, spent on projects in Syria and especially Iraq, where ACN has been on the forefront of helping Christians resettle on the Nineveh Plains, from where they were ousted by ISIS in the summer of 2014. Only Africa topped the Middle East in spending, garnering close to $30M in funding.
With almost $11M in funding, Iraq is at the very top of the list of countries that received aid from Aid to the Church in Need in 2017. India ranked second on the list of recipient countries with $6.88M, followed in third place by Syria ($6.8M), in fourth place by Ukraine ($5.5M), in fifth place by Brazil ($4.5M) and in sixth place by the Democratic Republic of the Congo ($4M).
Speaking at a press conference in Rome July 4, 2018 to present the annual report, ACN’s new Executive President Thomas Heine-Geldern said: “In 2017, the regional focus of our aid projects was the Middle East as well as Africa. We believe that our job is primarily to support the Church in those places where it does not have the material resources to carry out its pastoral activities or where Christians are suffering from oppression, persecution and violence.”