THE FFHL – ABOUT US
Principal Purpose and Mission
The Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land is a worldwide organization founded in 1994 under the auspices of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. The Foundation was created to strengthen and support Christianity in the Holy Land through the preservation of holy Christian sites and the support of the basic human rights and continued presence of the Christian minority living in the Holy Land.
Today, there are approximately 150,000 Christians living in the Holy Land. Due to severe political and economic hardships, an estimated 500 Christian families leave the Holy Land each year. This steady emigration suggests that one day the Christian community and the Christian church may cease to exist in this part of the world. As the Christian population struggles to survive in a volatile political environment of ethnic distrust, the FFHL uses every available resource to help the poor and unemployed meet their human needs.
Church leaders predict that if the current exodus continues, Christianity could easily cease to exist in the Holy Land within 60 years. One of the solutions to this problem is providing higher education and opportunities for economic advancement. We believe that our University Scholarship Program is the cornerstone of the solution.
FFHL is supported by Roman Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran churches worldwide, individuals via direct giving, and events hosted by clergy and lay leadership throughout the United States. The centerpiece fundraising event is the biennial Vatican Dinner held in Washington D.C. This dinner brings top donors from around the world to its Embassy in Washington D.C. Additionally, many gifts are inspired by pilgrimages guided by Fr. Peter Vasko to the Holy Land.
The Board of Trustees includes 20 committed Catholics from across the United States. Father Peter F. Vasko, OFM, serves as President of the Board of Trustees. The focus of FFHL is to keep a Christian presence in the Holy Land by providing education, employment and housing.