Press Release

Anera Marks its 50th Year at Annual Dinner

October 10, 2018 | Washington, DC Anera recently hosted its most successful Annual Dinner to date on Friday, September 28 at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, DC. Funding cuts have made 2018 a challenging year for Anera and the Palestinian communities it serves. However, Anera’s supporters rose to the occasion. This Annual Dinner was Anera’s largest ever, with well over 500 people in attendance. In such a crucial year, the dedication and commitment of Anera’s supporters ensured the event also surpassed its fundraising goals.

Many attendees felt the evening inspired renewed commitment to overcoming development challenges, helping hope find a way. Among those in attendance, Anera supporters Ellie and Erland Heginbotham commented,

“In a week that was otherwise so dispiriting, how lovely it was to enter another world: one full of people who help others get water, food, schools, health and happiness. We will wear our scarves proudly. Thank you for a most impressive and delightful (and delicious!) evening.”

Staff from Lebanon, Jerusalem, and the West Bank joined, including Lebanon Country Director Samar El Yassir and Jack Byrne, Anera’s new country director for Palestine (unfortunately, travel restrictions prevented any Anera staff in Gaza from joining for the Dinner this year).

Anera President and CEO Sean Carroll walked guests through the organization’s 50 years of work and accomplishments. Carroll acknowledged the difficulties in present circumstances while reminding attendees why Anera is well-placed to continue its work in collaboration with communities throughout Palestine, Lebanon, and beyond.

The dinner honored five of Anera’s closest supporters and partners:

  • The Sams Family In 1967, 50 people from around the US came together in the Sams’ Bethesda living-room to mobilize around helping Palestinian refugees. And, from those first days, supporting the work of Anera has become a Sams family passion spanning generations.
  • John Richardson John saw the flow of refugees coming out of Palestine in 1967 and became Anera’s first executive director, helping consolidate all of the outpourings of humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees.
  • Frances Stickles (1929-2018) Frances was one of the few individuals who was part of the Anera community throughout its entire 50 years of service, having served on the Anera board, on and off, for five decades, organized two trips to Palestine, and helped create an advisory council and an education committee to support and advise Anera’s education programming.
  • Women’s Programs Association | Mariam Shaar Our work is only possible because of organizations like WPA and leaders like Mariam, which reach some of the most vulnerable and needy Palestinians and Syrians in Lebanon with relief supplies, health awareness sessions and non-formal education classes that teach valuable job, math and literacy skills.
  • Murad Siam From being an active member of Anera’s board for 25 years to directly supporting programs through his generous donations and garnering support from others, Murad’s infectious enthusiasm and generosity inspire us all to do more and try harder.

The talented musician and spoken word artist Omar Offendum was the master of ceremonies, and Ramy Adly and his ensemble provided the perfect musical accompaniment to close out the evening. The reception area was decorated with banners collecting images covering Anera’s 50 years and collections of decorative items celebrating the regions where Anera works.

For more information:

Steven Fake
Media Relations Officer
[email protected]


For 50 years, Anera has helped refugees and others hurt by conflicts in the Middle East live with dignity and purpose. Anera, which has no political or religious affiliation, works on the ground with partners in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, Lebanon, and Jordan. We mobilize resources for immediate humanitarian relief and for sustainable health, education, and economic development efforts. Our staff are from the communities they serve, navigating the politics that constrict progress to get help where it’s needed most. In this way, Anera has grown to deliver more than $65 million in programming annually. We will keep building better lives until hope finds its way in the Middle East.