If you’ve been with us for a while, you are probably aware that we believe in the power of programs funded by U.S. foreign assistance. Whether we are talking about the benefits of these programs, explaining how they work, or sharing experiences from the field, the effectiveness of these programs is evident. Thanks to funding from U.S. foreign assistance, each year over 3 million people are able to receive life-saving immunizations.

But don’t just take our word for it, hear what others have to say about these programs! Below, 15 experts from business people to generals to government officials all share why they believe foreign assistance is powerful.

1. It provides us an opportunity to live out our faith.

“U.S. foreign assistance is our moral call and our opportunity to feed the hungry, offer water to the thirsty, and free the stranger from exploitation. As the FY18 budget debate gets underway all too soon, we are deeply grateful that Congress has made its bipartisan support of American values put to work, abundantly clear.” — Jean Duff, leader of Faith for International Assistance

2. It gives hope to refugees

“Countless times, I’ve seen firsthand how U.S. foreign assistance works and saves lives. I recently visited Jordan, a country that is committed to welcoming families fleeing violence and persecution in neighboring countries. More than 650,000 Syrian refugees, half of them under the age of 18, are now in Jordan, and the U.S. provides significant foreign aid for refugee programs in the country. That support feeds young refugee children, offers children the chance to get back into school after years of being away from home and provides vocational training for Syrian youth to give them hope for a productive future. This U.S. funding is essential if we are to avoid a lost generation of young people who can eventually help put their country on a better path.” — Carolyn Milespresident and CEO of Save the Children and co-chair of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network

3. It promotes global health

“Who really loses if we turn our back on global health? We, the American people lose. We lose out on the innovative new medical interventions that could someday save our lives. We lose critical opportunities to grow the next generation of scientific leaders. And we make our country more vulnerable to devastating epidemics.” — Jennifer Slyker, assistant professor of Global Health at the University of Washington Schools of Medicine & Public Health

4. It is bipartisan

“I believe that one thing that unites conservatives and liberals and moderates is the view of who we are as a people. And our goal is to explain to the American taxpayer that we take every dollar you send to us seriously when we spend it through the foreign operations account.” – Senator Lindsey Graham

5. It’s a smart investment

“Looking at these issues as a businessman, I believe that investing in the world’s poorest people is the smartest way our government spends money.” – Bill Gates

6. It’s good for U.S. jobs

“As a business person, I understand the value of an investment – and the importance of getting a good return on your dollar. And that’s what we get when we fund our diplomatic efforts and international programs. Yes, it means needed humanitarian relief. Yes, it means more security for the American people in these troubled times. But from years of our company’s experience, it also means jobs right here at home.” – James W. Owens, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar

7. It’s cost-effective

“As you know, increased funding in nutrition enables USAID [United States Agency for International Development] to target nutrition interventions during pregnancy and the early, critical stages of childhood when better nutrition has the greatest impact on the child’s development and brain growth. According to independent research, each $1 invested during this critical period yields a return of $48 in long-term health and economic benefits.” Representative James McGovern (D-Massachusetts)

8. It acts like insurance

“If you have a hard time accepting foreign aid as an investment, think of it as insurance. Insurance that is cheaper than at some point having to put American troops in danger.” – George Ingram, a senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution

9. It establishes the U.S. as a global leader

“Thank you for your leadership and for the bipartisan atmosphere of respect and problem-solving that you have instilled in this Committee. You have the ability to shape America’s future as a global leader by investing in diplomacy and development.” Representative Ted S. Yoho (R-Florida)

10. It makes the U.S. stronger

“Strong national security is dependent on having a strong diplomatic arm, a strong development arm, a strong intelligence arm, a strong capability to try to have strong economies in the world.  I mean, all of this is related to our national security. And I think if any one of these areas suffers cuts above and beyond others it’s going to damage our security just by virtue of the kind of broad approach we need to have to be — to maintain the leadership position we have in the world.” – Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta

11. It creates a more stable global environment


“The ultimate importance to the United States of our security and development assistance programs cannot be exaggerated. The programs and activities provided for in these bills will enable the United States to continue its contribution to the achievement of a secure and stable international environment.” – President Ronald Reagan

12. It addresses threats


“Development and diplomacy keep us safer by addressing threats in the most dangerous corners of the world and by preventing conflicts before they occur. … We urge you to support a strong and effective International Affairs Budget. Our nation’s security depends upon it.” – 70 top military leaders; USGLC National Security Advisory Council’s Letter to Congress

13. It promotes peace

If we spend [U.S. foreign assistance] wisely, it is what keeps our men and women out of harm’s way, keeps them from being in a hot war.” – Senator Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

14. It helps break the cycle of poverty

“When a mother receives adequate nutrition and access to healthcare before and during her pregnancy, her chances of delivering a healthy, HIV-free baby go up considerably. And when a healthy baby has access to good nutrition and critical immunizations, she is much more likely to survive and thrive throughout her first 5 years of life. And a child who makes it past the age of 5 has a much greater chance of remaining healthy, which means she’ll be more likely to go to school. Once a child is educated, the cycle of poverty is broken.” – Marian V. Liautaud, author and Director of Marketing for the Aspen Group

15. It’s just 1% of the total U.S. budget

“Foreign Aid is not charity. We must make sure it is well spent, but it is less than 1% of budget & critical to our national security.” — Senator Marco Rubio

This is why World Vision believes in the power of U.S. foreign assistance. With smart, compassionate investments, the U.S. can be a leader in empowering communities and nations. As Christians, we believe we are called to walk with the poor and help in need. Foreign assistance allows us to leverage other funding sources and do the most possible for God’s people all over the world.


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Photo: Oscar Otim, 1-and-a-half, and his brother Emmanuel Ojede, 3, enjoying cakes made out of orange flesh sweet potatoes at home.   © 2015 World Vision/ photo by Simon Peter Esaku

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