Kristin Loken first became aware of the American Friends Service Committee in the late 1980s, when she was serving as a foreign service officer with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Jerusalem. She was there during the first Intifada (1987-1993), a largely nonviolent Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation.
"We worked with several nongovernmental organizations," she says, "mostly providing humanitarian assistance. AFSC was not allowed to accept any government assistance—they got to do exactly what they thought was right. I appreciated their independence and ability to implement effective programs under especially difficult circumstances."
Kristin had joined the foreign service because she wanted to bring a Quaker perspective to that work. In AFSC, she found a partner who shared those values and could help create opportunities for collaboration and dialogue.
Kristin eventually left Jerusalem to serve in other countries, but she continued to donate to AFSC each year. When she moved to West Virginia, she discovered AFSC working there, as well. "AFSC is famous for helping refugees," Kristin says, "but there is wonderful work in the U.S. as well that is so needed."
After her father and his wife died, Kristin turned to AFSC to set up a charitable gift annuity for her sister.
"I looked at different options, but with the Quakers, I knew I could trust them," Kristin says. "My sister now has an income stream for the rest of her life, I got a good tax deduction, and AFSC got a donation. All in all, a nice win-win solution."