Global Compassion is an ambitious account of the relationship between private voluntary organizations (PVOs) and the US federal government from 1939-2005. After World War II, humanitarian aid became a key component of US foreign policy and has grown steadily ever since. Organizations like Oxfam, CARE, World Vision, and Catholic Relief Services are known the world over; however, little is known about the relationship between these private agencies and the federal government, and how truly influential these organizations can be in the realm of foreign policy. Here, Rachel McCleary provides the first truly comprehensive study of PVOs and their complex, often-fraught interaction with the federal government. The book focuses on the work of PVOs from a foreign policy perspective, revealing how federal political pressures shape the field of international relief. McCleary draws on a wide array of data-annual reports, State Department documents, and IRS records-to assess to what extent international relief and development work is becoming a commercial activity. She analyzes the often competing goals of the federal government and religious PVOs.
She then exames the continuing trend of decreasing federal funds to PVOs and the simultaneous increasing awards to commercial enterprises, and looks at what this holds for the future. In this thought-provoking and rigorously researched work, Rachel McClearly offers a unique, substantive look at an understudied area of US foreign policy and international development.