Anera Visionary: A family passionate about supporting refugees

Through the personal relationships that came out of our volunteer work, we became more aware of the political issues that impact refugees and their families back in their places of origin.

I’ve moved around quite a bit during my lifetime, but at heart I’m a Midwesterner and lived most of my life in the “flyover” states. I grew up in Minnesota and my extended family is all there.  

From 2013-2015 my family and I lived in South Korea while I was on an assignment with my company. We first became active in refugee causes while we were in Korea, where we got involved with an organization that helps North Korean refugees escape and resettle in South Korea. This was a unique and impactful experience, especially for my three kids who were teenagers at the time.

Michael and Kelly
Michael and Kelly

Since coming back to the US, we’ve lived in the South – Nashville, Tennessee and now in Greenville, South Carolina. I’m planning to stay in Greenville for a while. It’s a nice community in the “Upstate” region of SC, near to the mountains but also not too far from the beach.  

After Korea, we relocated to Nashville, TN which has a very dynamic refugee community. Nashville was a common destination for refugees coming to the US from the Middle East, prior to 2017. The personal relationships that came out of our volunteer work sensitized us to the political issues that impact refugees and their families back in their places of origin.  

I first became interested in Anera in 2018, as a response to some of the events that were affecting Palestinian refugee communities at that time. It was during this period that Israeli security forces killed hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators and wounded thousands more with live fire. I was shocked that the international community wasn’t taking more forceful action to restrain the violence.  

Then in early 2019, the Trump Administration took actions that effectively ended all US financial aid to the West Bank and Gaza, both through USAID and UNRWA. I knew this would have a huge negative impact, and I wanted to do something – even if it was relatively small – to support the Palestinian people and try to improve the situation in some way.  

I began researching aid organizations that were active in the region and was very impressed with Anera and the work that they are doing in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as in Lebanon and Jordan. So, I decided to start following their activities and providing regular monthly financial support.

I provide monthly donations and try to help with additional donations during crisis situations such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. I stay connected to your activities by following Anera’s email updates, the website, and social media. I also appreciate the regular personal contact from Anera staff members.

The primary motivator of my support for refugees is my Christian faith. The Bible is very clear that Christ followers have a responsibility to be charitable to those in need, and to “welcome the stranger,” which clearly applies to refugees. Supporting Anera is an effective way to live out my faith with respect to the suffering of the Palestinian people.

I don’t have any direct connection to the region, other than through the people that we’ve met from the refugee community here in the US. But I’m very interested in understanding the real situation on the ground there. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation in the US about the Palestinian people and their circumstances. Being connected to Anera helps me to stay informed about the facts and gives me the ability to counter misconceptions and share my perspective on Palestinians and refugees more effectively.


Anera Visionary gifts support the entire Anera mission. Your gift helps sustain core programs and helps Anera respond quickly in times of crisis.

By becoming an Anera Visionary, you’re joining a group of committed individuals who dare to envision a brighter future for Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan through a monthly donation of any amount.

We envision a future where…
Palestinian families are connected to the CLEAN WATER they need.
Every child has the chance to LEARN AND PLAY in a safe environment.
Syrian teens feel HOPEFUL for their futures and empowered to learn.
Green fields and LUSH FARMS provide food and income across Palestine and Lebanon.

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