InterAction: A United Voice for Change Digital Press Kit

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InterAction is a convener, thought leader, and voice for international nongovernmental organizations (NGO) working to eliminate extreme poverty, strengthen human rights and citizen participation, safeguard a sustainable planet, promote peace, and ensure dignity for all people.

Our mission is to be the convener and unified voice of the NGO community, so that no one ever stands alone when trying to change the world.



Our regular field mission reports, white papers, and publications provide timely updates on global affairs and issues faced by the global development and humanitarian assistance sectors.

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Annually, we host the InterAction Forum, CEO Retreat, and over 800 meetings bringing together our Members, future leaders, outside experts, government officials, and stakeholders to discuss ongoing issues, encourage cross-sector collaboration and evaluate the sector’s progress.

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We amplify the voice of the sector and complement Member and partner efforts with traditional and digital communications strategies, including press referrals, blogs, content production, sign-on letters, and promotion through social media channels.

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We mobilize Members to work with government officials at all levels to highlight our Members’ work and guarantee ongoing political and financial support.

Our Members receive timely information on legislative, policy, and budgetary movement that both directly and indirectly impacts their work.

Lead Change

We help Members tackle salient issues including International Humanitarian Law, preventing sexual harassment and abuse and gender-based violence, managing risk, and countering disinformation.

Our NGO Futures initiative convenes Members and leaders to adapt to rapid political, environmental, technological, and economic sector shifts.

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We represent NGO perspectives through involvement in the United Nations Inter-Agency Standing Committee. We lead NGO engagement through our role on the Grand Bargain Facilitation Group for effective information sharing and collective positioning between donors and aid providers.

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Our Members are premier international global development, humanitarian, and sector-supporting organizations that work in almost every country around the globe and manage more than $15 billion in programs worldwide.

InterAction is managed by a committed and active board of directors. Diverse in representation, we seek variety in NGO size, geographic representation, a mix of faith-based and secular organizations, CEO gender, a balance of new and returning board members, and experience.

InterAction is a team of more than 50 policy advocates, researchers, practitioners, fellows, and communicators.


Sam Worthington, CEO

For over a decade, Sam Worthington has served as CEO of InterAction, the largest U.S. alliance of international nongovernmental organizations focused on people around the world.

Sam strengthens the impact and collective voice of the U.S. NGO sector and leads its engagement on a wide range of policy and programs with the highest levels of the U.N., governments, philanthropies, and civil society actors. Previously, he served as CEO of Plan International USA, a large global child rights NGO, and was a resident policy fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center. He is currently a trustee of the Van Leer Foundation; sits on the U.N. Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC); USAID’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aide (ACVFA); Brown University’s Advisory Board on the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies; the boards of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Forus, Religions for Peace and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a recipient of numerous awards including an honorary doctorate.

When not reading a book or enjoying city life, Sam has a deep personal affinity for high alpine ridges and healthy coral reefs. Sam grew up on three continents and has worked in over 50 countries. He lives with his wife, Renee, in Bethesda and travels to visit his three adult children.

Carolyn J. Aeby, Vice President

Membership and Public Engagement

Carolyn Aeby joined InterAction in November 2016 as the Director of Membership. She is an expert in membership recruitment and retention strategies, developing programs and events to enhance member engagement, and organizational branding. In June 2018, Carolyn was promoted to Vice President of Membership and Public Engagement, adding NGO Futures, Communications, and the Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Abuse program to the MPE portfolio.

Prior to joining InterAction, she was the Director of Membership and Strategic Planning for Chief Executives Organization (CEO), a global community of corporate leaders hosting educational events. Prior to CEO, Carolyn was a consultant for more than 12 years assisting organizations to develop performance-driven objectives; partner with outside sources for enhanced programs and member benefits; create organizational strategic plans encompassing short- and long-term objectives; and partake in operational changes to reduce expenses and ensure potential growth. As a divergent thinker, she has a keen ability to generate innovative, successful solutions and recognize hidden opportunities.

Carolyn has a degree in marketing from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and holds the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential from the American Society of Association Executives. She has a 13-year-old son who tries her patience, and she enjoys international travel.

Noam Unger, Vice President

Development Policy, Advocacy, and Learning

Noam Unger is Vice President for Development Policy, Advocacy and Learning at InterAction. In this role, he leads efforts to strengthen the voice and role of civil society in global development, international relief, and associated policy deliberations. Noam oversees work with Members and partners to: enhance their impact through networked learning; align common interests; and mobilize together to influence U.S. and international policies and practices.

Prior to joining InterAction in 2018, Noam served as the Acting Chief Strategy Officer at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Noam also previously served as the Director of USAID's Office of Policy, and as an Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning. His early career additionally included service at the State Department and USAID in roles focused on international conflict and humanitarian assistance.

In the non-profit sector, Noam served as Vice President for Partnerships and External Affairs for Global Citizen Year, an education-related social enterprise committed to building the next generation of leaders. From 2007 to 2012, he worked at Brookings as a Global Economy and Development Fellow, where he directed the Foreign Aid Reform Project, co-founded the Development Assistance and Governance Initiative, and managed the annual Brookings Blum Roundtable. Noam was also a founding member and principal of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), and his background also includes consulting work with Save the Children in Haiti and with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Noam received his bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College and then spent a year on a solo, around-the-world project in Central America, South America, West Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia as a fellow of the Thomas J. Watson Foundation. At the start of his career, he worked in the private sector as an analyst and inventor for a software company. He holds a master's degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Patricia McIlreavy, Vice President

Humanitarian Policy & Practice

Patricia McIlreavy is the Vice President of the Humanitarian Policy and Practice team. She leads InterAction’s efforts to assist the humanitarian community, including InterAction Members, U.N. agencies, and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, to address the needs of vulnerable populations.

Through her current role, she represents InterAction membership, expanding the position, partnerships and influence of NGOs in multilateral and bilateral fora and events. Currently, McIlreavy serves on the Department of State's Stabilization Advisory Council and the CSIS Task Force on Humanitarian Access. McIlreavy’s experience in the humanitarian field began in 1993, when she joined USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. After serving on USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team to Rwanda in 1994, McIlreavy took on a position with the International Rescue Committee’s Rwanda program. Her subsequent career with the IRC in Africa spanned 14 years, during which she held Country Director posts in Sudan, Tanzania, Burundi, and Regional Director for the Horn and East Africa. As Regional Director, she oversaw IRC’s relief, rehabilitation, and post-conflict development programming totaling over $134m in Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. Directly before joining InterAction, McIlreavy was based out of Amman, Jordan, where she worked with a diverse group of organizations, including humanitarian NGOs, the Red Cross movement, United Nations agencies and NATO as an international management and training consultant.

McIlreavy holds a master’s degree in International Affairs from the American University School of International Service and was a 2014-2015 fellow of MIT’s Seminar XXI program. In 2014, she was selected for inclusion into the United Nation’s Humanitarian Coordinator pool.


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President of InterAction: Foreign Aid will Continue to Deliver (posted 08/22/19)

Washington, DC—Sam Worthington, CEO of InterAction issued the following statement in response to the administration’s announcement to not cut foreign aid:

“Throughout the past two weeks, InterAction and our members have collaborated in multiple ways and at various times in response to the administration’s announcement to put a hold on congressionally approved foreign aid funds and a possible rescission of funds.

“Today, we received the excellent news that OMB’s rescission attempt to cut foreign aid is over.

“Foreign aid will continue to deliver. Data tells us that America’s small investment has worked. Global poverty is at an all-time low, hunger has been cut in half, and safe water is increasingly available.

“InterAction would like to thank House and Senate Republican and Democratic leaders for their bipartisan support for U.S. foreign assistance and thank you to our members for ensuring that America continues to help transform lives around the world.”

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The Hill: What Trump’s foreign aid fight can teach us

The news no doubt came as a huge relief to the more than 90 aid organizations that had joined together to urge him to reconsider. Sam Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction, an alliance of more than 180 international NGOs, had even considered suing the White House but worried the move would ignite political divisions and renew calls to defund the “aid industrial complex.”…

The Wall Street Journal: Humanitarian groups face banking challenges as Venezuelan sanctions escalate

… Kathryn Striffolino, a senior manager in the humanitarian practice at InterAction, a consortium of about 180 aid organizations, said several of her members have had accounts closed and had issues with prepaid cards, but she declined to provide their names….

PBS News Hour: Why Trump wants to cut aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras

... And I talked with a lot of CEOs of aid organizations as well, including Sam Worthington of InterAction, an umbrella group of 180 organizations. And this is what he said to me. He said: "The root causes of these crises are in Central America. If we're addressing them at the southern border, it is too late. These local governments are overwhelmed by the quantity of the problem. And we are saying" — meaning the U.S. — "by cutting this aid, they do not have a partner….

The Hill: Trump may be blind to foreign aid’s merits, but we must not be

For the ninth year in a row, InterAction has prepared Choose to Invest, funding recommendations and justifications for 45 poverty-focused accounts and programs covering development, democracy building, health and humanitarian action in the international affairs budget. Our point is straightforward: We need sustained funding for these investments. They work. They are a major part of America’s leadership on the world stage. They align with our values and further American economic and security interests...

The Washington Post: Congress scorns Trump plan to cut, weaponize foreign aid

… “Now is not the time to slash effective, lifesaving programs that help create a safer and more secure world,” said InterAction, an alliance of international organizations….
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For all press inquiries, please contact Morgan Martinez, Director of Communications.

Morgan Martinez | Director, Communications mmartinez@interaction.org | 202.552.6556

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