International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) was established in 1992 as the official international humanitarian arm of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA).
Since 1960, SCOBA has brought together Orthodox religious leaders from Albanian, Greek, Antiochian, Serbian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Bulgarian and Russian Orthodox churches in the U.S. and Canada. IOCC is one of six charity and outreach agencies supported by SCOBA.
Since its inception, IOCC has administered more than $200 million. The organization has received funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
In 2004, contributions and grants to IOCC totaled almost $15.9 million, with 47 percent from government sources. In 2003, government grants represented a bigger chunk of the total contributions: 68 percent of $16.1 million.
Over the past 14 years, most IOCC programs have addressed disaster and emergency relief, shelter construction and repair, and refugee return and assistance in 30 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. The countries, most with a strong Orthodox Church presence, include Albania, Greece, Romania, Georgia, Turkey, the former Yugoslavia and Russia.
A newcomer to the AIDS battle
IOCC's first HIV/AIDS program was launched in Ethiopia in January 2004 after the organization received a $4.6 million, three-year grant from the U.S. government. Its preexisting partnership there with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC), which has more than 40 million followers and 35,000 churches and monasteries, gave IOCC access to the most remote parts of the country.