What is AFEDJ?

AFEDJ is a nonpolitical, nonsectarian 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to raising financial support for schools, hospitals, and centers for children with disabilities in Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon that are owned and operated by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. 

AFEDJ was founded in 1988 during the time of the first Palestinian Intifada by an American bishop and the bishop in Jerusalem to raise awareness in the United States about the plight of the Palestinian people and to encourage support for the Diocese of Jerusalem humanitarian institutions. 

AFEDJ staff and volunteers, including its elected board of trustees, help grow American’s understanding of the economic, political and social realities of life in the Holy Land and the positive impact Diocese of Jerusalem humanitarian institutions have on the lives of families and children in the region. 

AFEDJ staff visit the humanitarian institutions our donors support several times each year. We monitor ongoing funded programs, inspect and report on the impact of completed projects, learn about new opportunities for our donors to support and build our relationships with the leaders and staff of the institutions we support. 

In collaboration with the Diocese of Jerusalem, AFEDJ offers a safe, secure, transparent channel for people in the U.S. to support the diocese. Learn more about AFEDJ and our history in the About section of our website.

What is the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem?

The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem is one of three dioceses that comprise the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, one of 40 member provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The diocese spans five countries: Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria and is headed by its bishop, the Most Rev. Hosam E. Naoum.

The diocese was formed in 1841. The current boundaries of the diocese were established in 1976. The first Palestinian bishop was elected in 1976. Archbishop Naoum is the 15thbishop and fifth Palestinian bishop of the diocese.

The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem owns and operates more than two dozen schools, hospitals, clinics, homes for the elderly, and centers for children with disabilities across the region, many of which are more than 100 years old. The humanitarian institutions of the Diocese of Jerusalem serve all people, irrespective of their religion, ethnicity, or ability to pay. The Christian leaders of these institutions – in a region where Christians are a small minority of the population – embody the values of equity, justice, and respect for the dignity of all. 

The diocese includes 27 parishes. All congregations are Arabic speaking. St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem and All Saints Church in Beirut also have English-speaking parishioners and worship services conducted in English.

St. George’s Cathedral is located on the edge of the old city in East Jerusalem. Within the walls of the cathedral campus, St. George’s College welcomes clergy and lay people from across the Anglican Communion for continuing education courses. Many pilgrims to the Holy Land make St. George’s – well-known for its hospitality to visitors – their stop for Sunday worship in English and Arabic. The diocese maintains four pilgrim guesthouses in Jerusalem, Jordan, Nazareth and Ramallah. St. George’s Guesthouse in Jerusalem is part of the cathedral close and is a crossroads for pilgrims from across the globe.

Where are the institutions AFEDJ supports located?

AFEDJ support institutions in Jerusalem, Gaza, the West Bank, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon.

Who are the people AFEDJ supports?

The majority of people served by Diocese of Jerusalem’s humanitarian institutions are Palestinian Muslims and Christians, many of whom are refugees from the 1948 and 1967 wars. They live in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Jordan, and Lebanon. Jordanian children, both Christian and Muslim, are served by many of the schools operated by the diocese in that country. Schneller School in Marka, Jordan, serves impoverished children from an adjacent Palestinian refugee camp as well as refugee children from Syria and six other nations. Schools in Israel serve Arabic-speaking Israeli citizens who are both Christian and Muslim.

What projects and programs does AFEDJ support?

In the 36 years since its founding, AFEDJ has supported educational scholarships, renovation projects, educational and healthcare programs, equipment purchases, professional development, and programs for children with disabilities and refugees. Increasingly AFEDJ is working to win foundation grants to fund innovative programs in healthcare and education that will transform the lives of those served by diocesan institutions in profound and lasting ways. As a small nonprofit, AFEDJ can be nimble and flexible to raise funds for emergency needs that arise in diocesan hospitals and schools. Over the past few years, with the remarkable support of our donors, AFEDJ has responded quickly during the early days of the pandemic, the 2020 Beirut explosion, and the ongoing economic crisis in Lebanon, the May 2021 war in Gaza, and the 2023 Israel-Hamas war (ongoing).

May I designate a donation to a specific institution?

Donors may designate that their gift be given to a specific institution or for a specific program, both on our online donation page and with donations made by check. One hundred percent of funds designated to a specific institution is directed to the intended recipient.

Many donors make gifts that may be used “where the need is greatest.” These gifts provide AFEDJ and the Diocese of Jerusalem flexibility in meeting urgent needs.

Does AFEDJ raise funds for the parishes of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem?

While AFEDJ does not actively raise funds for parishes of the diocese, donors wishing to offer financial support to a parish are welcome to use AFEDJ as the channel to make a donation. 

What percentage of funds donated to AFEDJ go directly to the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem?

100% of all funds designated for a specific institution go directly to the diocese for that purpose.
In 2022, 85% of funding was used for program support.

How does AFEDJ ensure that my donation goes directly to the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem institutions?

AFEDJ staff work closely with program staff and institutional leaders in the Diocese of Jerusalem to monitor the use of funds transmitted through our safe, secure channel. This close, working relationship gives our donors confidence that their gifts are being used for their intended purpose.

AFEDJ has earned a 2023 Gold Seal of Transparency from Guidestar which ensures our commitment to financial accountability and transparency, and has a four-star, 100% rating on Charity Navigator, which allows you to give with confidence. Please learn more at the links above and review our financials.

How do I make a planned gift to support the mission of AFEDJ?

We welcome planned gifts and other types of legacy giving. Donors who make a planned gift of any size become a member of AFEDJ’s Jerusalem Saints Society. Becoming a saint has never been so easy! 

Most planned or legacy gifts are made through bequests and gifts of special assets such as real estate, stock, life insurance, or retirement accounts. 

Please contact AFEDJ Executive Director Eileen Spencer – or 914.924.9704 – for more information about making a legacy gift to support our mission.

Does AFEDJ accept gifts of stock?

Yes! We welcome gifts of stock. For stock transfer information, please contact Executive Director Eileen Spencer at or 914.924.9704.

Is my donation to AFEDJ tax-deductible?

AFEDJ is a 501(c)(3) organization, incorporated in Florida. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent permissible by law.

Does AFEDJ publish its audited financial records?

How can I contact AFEDJ?

We would love to hear from you! Please contact our office via phone, mail, or email.

Donations by check may be made payable to:

American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem
25 Old Kings Highway North, Suite 13
Darien, CT 06820

General email inquiries to

Eileen Spencer, Executive Director, or 914.924.9704

Diana Branton, Director of Marketing and Communications & Bearing Witness Program Director, or 985.664.2973

Sarah Schofield-Mansur, Director of Individual Giving, or 617.834.9522

Betsy Wilson, Senior Manager, Operations and Donor Services – or 203.655.3575

How can I learn more about AFEDJ’s work?

To join our mailing list or sign up to receive updates and newsletters by email, please visit our Sign Up page or check our News page.

And visit our resources page!

Can AFEDJ help with pilgrimage to the Holy Land and the Diocese of Jerusalem?

AFEDJ encourages all to visit the Holy Land and the Diocese of Jerusalem on a pilgrimage. We recommend two pilgrimage tour companies in particular – Qumri Pilgrimages and Lightline Pilgrimages. Both of these companies offer tours led by Palestinian Christian guides and they both make a point of connecting pilgrims to the indigenous Christian community and the humanitarian institutions of the Diocese of Jerusalem.

How do I request an AFEDJ speaker for my event?

AFEDJ would love to learn more about your event. In order to help us facilitate your request, please complete and submit this form at least 45 days prior to the event, and someone will be in touch with you.