‘Showered with kindness?’
Author: Heike Wieters

This book provides a historical account of the NGO Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE) as one of the largest humanitarian NGOs worldwide from 1945 to 1980. Readers interested in international relations and humanitarian hunger prevention are provided with fascinating insights into the economic and business related aspects of Western non-governmental politics, fundraising and philanthropic giving in this field. The book also offers rich empirical material on the political implications of private and governmental international aid in a world marked by the order of the Cold War, and decolonialization processes. It elaborates the struggle of so called "Third World Countries" to catch up with modern Western consumer societies. In order to do justice to CARE's growing dimensions and to try to make sense of the various challenges arising from international operations, the book contains five main chapters on CARE's organizational development, with three case studies. It tells CARE's story on two different yet connected levels. First, it tells the story as a history of individuals and their interactions, conflicts, initiatives, and alliances within CARE and second as an organizational history focusing on institutional networks, CARE's role in international diplomacy. By the start of the 1960s CARE's strategically planned transformation into a development-oriented agency was in full swing. With United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Food for Peace, and the Peace Corps, several new government agencies in the development assistance sector were founded that offered potential junctions and opportunities for cooperation for CARE and the voluntary agencies in general.

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Heike Wieters

In 1990 Harold Gauer, former regional director of CARE in the American Midwest, published his professional memoirs entitled Selling Big Charity: The Story of C.A.R.E. This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book focuses on CARE operations overseas, on communications between head and foreign offices, and on the way CARE conducted its business in a foreign environment. The first case study on Korea sheds light on CARE's transition from Europe to "everywhere" and on the way the organization positioned itself in the precarious diplomatic environment of the Cold War. The second case study deals with Egypt. The book analyzes CARE's overseas operations, highlights the reasons for its exponential growth in the 1950s and 1960s. It shows how the new public-private partnership in the field of food relief came about.

in The NGO CARE and food aid From America, 1945–80
Heike Wieters

In late 1945, CARE was officially incorporated under the name Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe, Inc., as a non-profit organization. Created by a group of people from very diverse organizational backgrounds, CARE was designed to have a visible impact on the overall amount of material relief delivered to Europe. It was most notably the American Relief Administration of the First World War headed by Herbert Hoover that served as a blueprint for CARE both in terms of operating schemes and of generating publicity. By early 1946 CARE was ready to purchase 2.8 million 10-in-1 rations containing "rich, concentrated food products, reflecting American dietary habits and the needs of soldiers in the field. In May 1946 President Truman asked his Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, to set up a new Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid, comprised of outstanding citizens.

in The NGO CARE and food aid From America, 1945–80
Heike Wieters

In June 1947 Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe's (CARE) executive director, Paul Comly French, proudly informed the State Department that he had been awarded the Order of Orange-Nassau by the Queen of the Netherlands. A classified study conducted by the American military authorities in Germany in early 1950 showed that eight out of ten people in the American zones and almost everyone in Berlin and Bremen had heard of the CARE package. One reason for CARE's rising popularity among American donors was certainly rooted in the concept of personalized packages from individual to individual. By early 1948 CARE had officially expanded its services beyond Europe to Asia and opened its first offices in Tokyo and the port city of Busan, South Korea. In the early 1955 the organization had offices in 42 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and northern Africa.

in The NGO CARE and food aid From America, 1945–80
Heike Wieters

This chapter analyses the installation and development of Egypt CARE mission. It examines the attempts of all three parties: the private non governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as both governments to use this cooperation as a means to reach particular individual goals. From CARE's perspective, the Egyptian program offered the chance to expand its outreach, expertise, and geographical focus as well as an opportunity to serve a maximum number of hungry people with a minimum amount of private investment. In order to formalize the newly established relations, President Nasser decreed the setting up of an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) which was to deal with and coordinate American voluntary agency activities in Egypt. The food commodities entering the country under the CARE contract, by contrast, were almost free of charge and replaced a good part of those food imports which would otherwise have been necessary.

in The NGO CARE and food aid From America, 1945–80
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Heike Wieters

This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the concepts discussed in this book. The book focuses on the history of Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE) from 1945 to 1980. In the late 1940s agricultural surplus commodities came into the picture, as a result of the inability of US policymakers to reduce wartime production incentives. It was primarily due to voluntary agency efforts that a growing proportion of these un-sellable surplus stocks were channeled through the private agencies for humanitarian purposes and hunger relief. Equipped with a successful concept and a glowing reputation, by the late 1940s CARE executives had decided to include regions outside of Europe in its operations. The fact that CARE's executive director left the agency in the early 1960s to become the head of Food for Peace demonstrates the reputation and networking capacity CARE had gained in the US food aid sector.

in The NGO CARE and food aid From America, 1945–80
Heike Wieters

Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE), as a comparatively large agency, had more difficulty coping with major changes in the surrounding institutional environment. In May 1961 CARE sealed a major deal with the newly established Peace Corps, helping it become operational abroad. This special kind of public-private partnership was a milestone in CARE-US government relations and underscored the degree to which CARE had become a recognized and esteemed player in humanitarian affairs. In 1962 the agency merged with Medico, Inc., another private voluntary organization in the overseas healthcare sector. CARE's new division operated two main programs. One focused on young medical professionals who agreed to serve for two years in clinics in developing countries. The primary focus of the second program was on volunteers who signed up for short-term stays in clinics or projects abroad in order to operate or provide otherwise unavailable expertise.

in The NGO CARE and food aid From America, 1945–80
Heike Wieters

When Richard Reuter was appointed as Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe's (CARE) new executive director in mid-July 1955 he inherited a difficult task. The fiscal year 1955 had closed with a deficit of almost half a million US dollars, future operational directions and programming options were cloudy, and staff morale was low. By August 15 he had reduced CARE's New York operating budget by US$517,000, and had cut back on overseas operating expenses by US$518,000. In addition to organizational improvements and cutting costs, CARE's revenue needed to be increased. The new campaign aimed to raise an additional US$1.5 million from private donors. The Food Crusade campaign was again supported by the Advertising Council, which had originally proposed the term Food Crusade as a catchword for any kind of surplus distribution by CARE. In late 1955 the term was redesigned to fit the one-dollar food packages.

in The NGO CARE and food aid From America, 1945–80
Heike Wieters

Throughout most of the 1960s Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE) and the American voluntary agencies had enjoyed predominantly friendly relations with both Democrat administrations. The Kennedy years had augmented their visibility as private players in food aid, relief, and development assistance, despite growing competition from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) experts and agencies such as the Peace Corps. The World Food Conference had a catalytic effect on CARE and the American voluntary agencies, which had learned from their experience in Rome that they needed to step up their efforts at coordination on the international level. In the interim, CARE would linger somewhere between being a multinational organization and being a transnational enterprise, with largely independent entities without an identifiable national center, spread around the globe.

in The NGO CARE and food aid From America, 1945–80
Heike Wieters

Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE) and several dozen American private voluntary agencies extended their services from Europe to Asia during the 1940s and early 1950s. South Korea, once it was freed from Japanese colonial rule, was one of the first non-European countries to receive post- war relief from the United States. Korea's economy was depressed, education levels were low, and the brain drain caused by colonial occupation had severely weakened its leadership basis. Hence, Western experts from the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (UNRRA) and the Allied forces agreed that external help was needed. In January 1953 CARE was informed that the State Department had given the green light for the Korean children's choir to come to the United States.

in The NGO CARE and food aid From America, 1945–80