City is lending $250,000 to World Relief charity

International agency moved its headquarters here last summer

October 16, 2001|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

The World Relief Corp., an international disaster relief and refugee assistance group, has won a $250,000 city loan to remodel its downtown Baltimore headquarters.

World Relief moved to 1-7 E. Baltimore St. last summer after an aggressive yearlong recruitment effort by local economic development agencies, including the grantor of the loan, the Baltimore Development Corp., the city's economic development agency.

"We are very grateful for the way the Baltimore community has welcomed us and made us feel at home," said R. Timothy Ziemer, executive vice president of World Relief. "It has exceeded our expectations."

The move to Baltimore consolidated operations in Wheaton, Ill.; Atlanta; and Nyack, N.Y. About 30 workers relocated and 120 more jobs are expected to be added in the next three years.

The evangelical charity plans to expand the ministry, which includes a network of churches and educational institutions of 79 denominations. Workers provide aid and development assistance around the world. They plan to undertake projects in Baltimore, officials of the charity have said.

Income to the organization, mostly from individual contributions and government grants, was $47.8 million in 2000, according to World Relief.

Among the reasons World Relief officials picked Baltimore was the presence of other philanthropic organizations such as the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Lutheran World Relief, the Lutheran Immigration and Relief Service, the International Youth Foundation Inc. and Catholic Relief Services.

"Each time another prestigious international organization announces its relocation to Baltimore it become more evident Baltimore has the right ingredients for a headquarters city and is respected in the international community," said Phyllis M. Wilkins, director of nonprofit development for the Baltimore Development Corp.

World Relief said another reason for moving to Baltimore were economic incentives. The state Department of Business and Economic Development and the private Abell Foundation also are expected to provide assistance to World Relief.

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