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Barnabas Fund has national offices around the globe as well as an international office. Christian Relief International (CRI) serves as the international office of Barnabas Fund ministries. All staff internationally refer to CRI as the Barnabas Fund international office. The organisation is registered in the USA but has an office based at Pewsey, UK. CRI does not have a public profile, nor does it raise funds for itself, but rather coordinates and facilitates the global ministry of Barnabas Fund. All the national offices raise awareness and funds within their regions and forwards these on to the international office.
The main role of CRI, as the international office for our global ministry, is to facilitate and coordinate the international work of Barnabas Fund. This helps us globally to keep our overheads lower than 12%. Therefore instead of each national office having its own Editorial Department (writing and producing the magazine) or Projects Department (preparing project applications for the committee and monitoring the end use of funds, etc.), all these functions are done by a central group at CRI. Some national offices may have overheads higher than 12%, but there are other offices where the overheads are considerably less than 12%. This is however not the only standard that we set for our global ministry; we also have very strict criteria when assessing project applications in keeping with our efforts to be good stewards of that which is entrusted to us. Grants that we give do not include anything towards the overhead costs of the partner, and those that do are very small and deemed absolutely necessary. We exist to serve and support the persecuted Church, and therefore do all we can to maximise the percentage of every dollar and pound donated to us to benefit them. As you all know, we commit to allocating 100% of a donation received for a specific project to that project – we do not subtract any overhead costs from that donation. All overheads are covered from our General Fund donations.
Another very important role CRI plays is on legal and regulatory compliance. International charitable organisations are coming under increasing pressure to comply with ever-demanding financial regulations which are driven by the sanction policies of the US and Europe. Navigating these regulations is increasingly time consuming, complex and requires full global adherence. One slip up could cause severe complications for related organisations. CRI is therefore well placed to be the main contact with the international banking system, implementing global policies adherent to the applicable global regulations and standards, thus ensuring that the persecuted Christians whom we serve and support continue to get much needed assistance. Many of these Christians are in very sensitive countries that have been placed under sanctions by the West. It is in this context that end-use-verification becomes vital, ensuring the grants reach the intended beneficiaries and that they are spending funds according to the agreed upon purpose. This is vital to fulfil our obligation under, and compliance to, international anti-terrorism legislation. Again, rather than employing appropriate expertise in each office to navigate this ever-changing landscape, CRI provides this expertise for the global ministry. CRI and all the national Barnabas Fund offices will always remain fully compliant with current financial regulations, and only use the recognised international banking system for international money transfers.
Lastly, the Chairs of the national offices are also Trustees of CRI, enabling all the national offices to have a decision-making role in the global strategy and focus of the global ministry of Barnabas Fund. The legal relationship between CRI and the national offices are regulated by bilateral MoUs.