Is PDA tax exempt?

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation, is a federally recognized, tax exempt organization pursuant to section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Its tax ID number is 13-3462549. Receipts will be issued for charitable contributions made to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation, for disaster-related or other mission work.

How much of gifts are used for PDA's administrative fees?

17% of designated gifts are allocated for PCUSA operational services such as I.T., building services, legal services, etc. The remaining 83% goes directly to disaster assistance. 

Can I donate (insert material item here)?

Material donations are not accepted outside of the Gift of the Heart Kit program. Click here to read our Material Aid Do's and Don'ts. This includes donations such as hymnals and Bibles.

What is the mailing address for gifts to PDA?

Presbyterian Church (USA)
PO Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA  15264-3700

Please make checks payable to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and note PDA on the memo line either by name or using one of our account numbers found here.

What is a disaster?

Any occurrence such as a hurricane, tornado, storm, flood, tidal wave, fire explosion, contamination, civil strife, war, or other natural or human-caused event that produces human suffering or creates human needs that survivors cannot alleviate without assistance.

What are the stages of natural disaster?

  • Emergency Stage
    First responders in the emergency stage may be family, neighbors, congregations, local fire and police departments, search and rescue teams, and the American Red Cross. This is usually a very dangerous time. The survivors and the professional rescue people can be endangered by volunteers who are not part of a response organization.

The emergency stage usually lasts one to three days, but in more severe disasters can continue for up to two weeks. In this case, the next two stages - relief and recovery - are prolonged. Response activities include search and rescue, emergency shelter and feeding, grief counseling and pastoral care, and re-establishing contact with family and friends.

  • Relief Stage
    Basic human needs are the focus of the second stage of disaster response in the relief stage, which usually lasts about one month. Medical services, food, and temporary shelter become available through American Red Cross, coordinated with churches, interfaith response groups, and other helping organizations.

Basic clean-up of homes, businesses, and streets begins in this stage. Temporary repairs are made and utilities begin to be restored. Survivors begin filing claims with insurance companies and applying for assistance from American Red Cross and, if presidentially-declared, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

  • Recovery Stage
    People and communities try to return to normal during stage three of disaster response. People begin moving out of shelters and into temporary housing and lives and homes begin to be rebuilt. Response activities include permanent repair and rebuilding, emotional and spiritual healing, agency coordination, and reconciling permanent losses.

The problem and challenge for the faith community is that there can be no "return to normal" for most people. People with little or no insurance, renters, and the poor are often left with few resources. The aid given by the larger helping agencies is often not enough. The recovery stage from major disasters typically can take years for individuals, families and communities impacted by those disasters.

Can I purchase a PDA blue t-shirt?

A complimentary blue PDA t-shirt is provided for each member of a volunteer work team who serves through a PDA related volunteer hosting site.  Other supporters of PDA who would like to purchase a t-shirt may do so for $15 by emailing  Available sizes are adult S-XXXL.


What is PDA’s strategy for raising funds in response to a disaster?

Core funding for PDA comes from the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering, usually received by churches around Easter. PDA receives 32% of OGHS funds, which are shared among PDA, the Presbyterian Hunger Program and Presbyterian Self Development of People. OGHS supports core functions of these three programs, including staffing, strategic planning and outreach. OGHS is the only source of core funding for these offices.

Three areas of PDA are supported primarily by designated giving or special appeals.

International Response is carried out through global partners and local partners in the location where the disaster occurred.  We do this because we want to honor local agency, avoid colonial impositions, increase capacity of our partners, and strengthen ecumenical, interfaith and civil society partnerships that lessen dependence on the West. PDA enacts appeals and organizes international accounts with the broadest application possible, usually designating regionally— MIddle East, South Asia, etc.  Some catastrophic events do have specially designated accounts set up to support a multi-year, comprehensive long term response.

Domestic Response is carried out in collaboration with and at the invitation of the affected mid council.  PDA disaster accounts are generally organized around the type of disaster:  hurricanes, fires, human caused disaster/public violence, tornados, floods. This offers PDA  flexibility across regions to apply funds in a balanced way.  Some donors prefer to designate, and they may do so by notation on their check or note.  (“Hurricanes-Michael” for example). Most appeals are electronic, sent to donors that have given to PDA in the past. On occasion, a full mail appeal will be launched after a large scale disaster. These appeals use language specific to the particular disaster. If funds raised from the appeal exceed the needs identified by the mid council, excess funds will be applied to the general type of disaster. 

Humanitarian Support for Refugee and Asylum Responsesis done both domestically and internationally.  Domestic responses are implemented through presbyteries, with congregations and interfaith partners to support collaborative work in communities supporting refugees, asylum-seekers and new immigrants.  Internationally, PDA works to alleviate suffering among populations on the move or in camps, collaborating with international partners. Fundraising in this area is generally posted to a Refugee and Asylum account, and appeals are sometimes focused around a particular event, like the 2015 migrant crisis the US southern border.


What happens to donations if more funds are raised than the presbytery or the general response can utilize?

All appeals include a note that if the response is completed prior to the expenditure of designated funds, the money remaining will be used for a similar disaster and/or in the same general region— which gives PDA flexibility to address disasters that do not attract national attention.  Donors can also give to the general fund for PDA, which allows maximum discretion.


What can PDA funds be used for?

PDA funds provide immediate financial support to the Presbytery’s response to the needs of the community in the wake of the disaster.  These funds are used in a variety of ways: to support long term recovery work, volunteer rebuilding programs, emotional and spiritual care for leaders and survivors, and other programs, depending on the needs in the community and the gaps left by other responding agencies and groups. Disaster response funding is meant to be needs based, given without regard to affiliation, and where possible, engaged with ecumenical partnerships.  


What restrictions does PDA have in the use of donor funds?

PDA’s mandate does not include providing funds to support pastors’ or staff salaries following disaster. PDA’s primary mandate does not include rebuilding churches or supporting the gap in rebuilding caused by under- or non-insurance of church properties.  In some extreme cases, by approval of PDA’s advisory committee, when survival or continued ministry is imperiled, and when community recovery of the most vulnerable affected population is dependent upon churches that serve as community centers, exceptions to this rule may be made.


What is the role of other Agencies of the PCUSA in supporting disaster response?

Many of the Agencies have a specific role after disaster, worked out in collaboration with Presbyterian Mission Agency/PDA, which PDA communicates to the presbyteries when we begin our work together. Examples of these roles are: Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC) offers a book allowance for replacement of resources after church and pastoral libraries are destroyed; Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program (PILP) has a special disaster loan rate; the Board of Pensions (BOP) offers small emergency grants to church staff members following serious disasters. PDA works collaboratively with the Office of General Assembly (OGA) to communicate with midcouncils and identify needs.

Many presbyteries receive direct gifts alongside PDA grants after a disaster, and some presbyteries ask the Foundation to hold those funds for the midcouncil until unmet needs are identified.  In fact, there are some expenses related to disaster such as church rebuilding, pastoral salary support, that are beyond PDA’s mandate. These funds, given directly to presbyteries, are entirely discretionary and often used to respond to such needs.


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