Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What does Preemptive Love do?

We show up with emergency relief—food, water, medical care, and more—for families on the frontlines of war in Syria and Iraq. But then we stay, long after the immediate crisis has passed. We help refugees start small businesses, so they can provide for their families and rebuild their lives, without having to depend on handouts.

Sectarian division lies at the heart of almost every conflict. So we put reconciliation at the heart of everything we do. This is about more than food, water, or medicine. It’s about healing hearts and choosing to love anyway. We form coalitions across as many divisions as possible—Christian and Muslim, Sunni and Shia, and more—in pursuit of the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.

What is Preemptive Love’s history?

Our story began in 2008, in a hotel lobby in Iraq, behind a bomb blast wall. A fearful father brought his beautiful daughter to us, with her her ailing heart and a simple question: “Please, will you try to save her?”

There were thousands of children in Iraq just like her. They couldn’t get the care they needed because war had decimated their country’s medical system. We threw ourselves into this work, providing thousands of lifesaving heart surgeries and cardiac screenings, often in the most war-torn, unreached parts of Iraq, like Fallujah and Tikrit. We brought teams of doctors from overseas to train local medical staff—so they could be the long-term solution to their country’s healthcare crisis. We expanded our heart surgery work into other countries as well, including Libya, Pakistan, and Iran.

When ISIS stormed onto the scene in 2014, we were uniquely positioned to respond, after years of working with local partners and officials in almost every corner of Iraq. We began rushing relief to the frontlines. We airlifted aid to the besieged city of Haditha, brought food and water to those fleeing Fallujah, and we were the first to reach families inside Mosul as the battle raged. In 2016, we expanded into Syria, providing food and other aid to families caught in that country’s brutal civil war.

As displaced families looked for ways to put the broken pieces of their lives back together, we launched the Sisterhood Collective, turning refugees into business owners, so they can provide for their own families—often using skills they already have—instead of being forced to depend on handouts forever. Our handmade soap, candles, and other refugee-made products are providing jobs, income, and hope for Syrian and Iraqi families.

Who is Preemptive Love?

Preemptive Love Coalition was started by Jeremy and Jessica Courtney in the middle of the Iraq War. Our team is based in Iraq, with additional staff and volunteers across the US.

Each person’s story is different, but the thing we all have in common is a desire to be peacemakers, to bring people together, and to encourage understanding. Our staff and volunteer base include Muslims and Christians, Iraq War veterans and pacifists, conservatives and liberals.

Want to join us in remaking the world? Check out our current job openings.

Is Preemptive Love religiously affiliated?

No, but we are a faith-oriented community which encourages every person to respectfully bring their faith to the workplace. In our office and in our fields of service around the world, we have Muslims, Christians, doubters, and people who do not affiliate with any faith working side-by-side.

For us, faith and worldview are essential to being human, too important to avoid.

Do you work with the military or government?

We work with anyone who will help us wage peace, bring communities together, and serve those others fear or forget.

Delivering aid in conflict zones like Mosul requires close coordination with local government and military officials. We’ve also partnered with governments around the world to help them provide lifesaving medical care for their own children in their own hospitals.

To fund our work, however, we rely on private donations. UN and government funding is attractive, but it’s a two-sided coin. It’s easy for aid groups to become over-reliant on political money. When that money moves on, so do most international organizations, chasing whatever crisis the UN is willing to fund next.

We know change takes time. When we commit to a country or crisis, we think about the next 10 to 20 years. We’ve chosen not to rely on political money so we can be independent and free to respond to those who need it most, when they need it most, how they need it most.

Financial Questions

How do I know what my money is really going to?

The donation categories used on our website and/or in accompanying print materials are representative of some of the many needs Preemptive Love must meet as we heal hearts across enemy lines.

Accordingly, while we make every effort to digitally tag and track your donation and implement your donation on behalf of those you intended to serve, Preemptive Love leadership, with the full oversight of our Board of Directors and outside, independent third party auditors, reserve the right to use your donation “where needed most”, as programmatic timing and capacities change according to unpredictable outside forces in the conflict-zones and fragile states where we live and work.

Does my donation really make a difference?

Absolutely! Whether you help provide lifesaving heart surgeries or launch new businesses for ISIS-survivors, we use your money to serve those in some of the world’s most polarizing conflict zones.

Click here to see the impact your donations have made over the years!

What is needed most so more work can be done—volunteers or funding?

It depends on the work in question, but our greatest need is almost always funding. Your donations allow us to serve families who would normally be beyond reach, to invest where others won’t, and to keep our lifesaving work going strong.

Are there any costs that are not tracked or reported?

No. We are careful to track and report how each dollar is spent. If you’d like to see more on where your money goes and how we track it, you can view all of our finances.

Can I donate through PayPal or check?

Yes, you can safely give via PayPal on our donate page. You can also donate offline by mailing a check to:

Preemptive Love
1300 Darbyton Drive
Hewitt, TX 76643

Can I get a tax refund for my donation?

Yes, all donations are 100% tax-deductible for donors in the US. You will receive a contribution statement in the mail each January. Your online receipt will count as a contribution statement as well. If you have questions about your receipting or other tax-related issues, feel free to contact us here.

How can I donate if I don’t live in the US? Can I still get a tax refund?

Wherever you are in the world, you can donate securely on our website by clicking here. Please note that in some countries, it isn’t possible to receive a tax refund due to our registration with the United States government.

Questions About Our Work

What type of relief and empowerment services does Preemptive Love provide?

We start by asking displaced families one simple question: what do you need? If they recently fled and have absolutely nothing, we start with the basics: food, shelter, hygiene kits, and access to clean water. If their child has a life-threatening heart problem, we help get them the operation they need.

When the essentials are covered, we can explore work opportunities and getting their children into a local school. It’s often as simple as asking the parents, “What kind of work would you like to do?” or “What did you do before you were displaced?” We have helped parents start home bakeries, corner stores, sewing shops, cell phone accessory shops, fruit stands, candle making businesses, and much more.

How do you decide who to help—or where you serve?

Our guiding principle is to show up where others won’t, to love the people others won’t. That means leaving the safe zones to help in frontline places like Fallujah, Mosul, and Aleppo. Most of the relief that organizations provide for families in Syria and Iraq goes to the same places, but there are huge numbers of people stranded outside these safe zones. They need us to show up for them.

If we see they need help and no other groups are willing to go, the decision is already made—we go.

How do your job creation programs work?

Empowerment begins with building trust—sitting down with a family, listening to their story, and getting to know their needs. It takes more than just a few sacks of flour or a few visits to help displaced families get back on their feet. We have to show them we’re with them for the long term.

Most importantly, we empower refugees to decide for their own family. There is no “one size fits all model.” We identify skills they already have and help them to define their dreams and goals. Then we provide empowerment grants, tools, and coaching to help them stand on their own and reclaim their lives.

Learn more about our job creation work.

How do you measure success in your job creation programs?

When a family says they don’t need us anymore, we consider that a success. Some families start their business to survive until they can return home. Other families will stay where they are long-term. Whatever their goal, we know we’ve done our job when people are self-sufficient. In some cases, empowerment grant recipients have even used their thriving new business to benefit other victims of violence!

Personal Involvement Questions

I want to do more than donate. What else can I do?

The simple act of telling someone is powerful, and there are plenty of ways to spread the word and get your community involved. You can mobilize your mosque or church, your book club or sports team, or use your business to raise money. Email us and let’s explore it together!

Can I volunteer or visit your work in Syria or Iraq?

We are not able to host volunteers in Syria and Iraq. If you live in the U.S. and would like to volunteer for us where you live, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us here to explore some of this more via email.

Can I send supplies to help?

When it comes to relief aid, our 10 years of experience have proven the value of “local first.” Whenever possible, we source aid locally because it is more cost-effective and it benefits local economies. That’s why we don’t accept donations of supplies. To learn more about why we buy aid locally, read more.

Can I start my own fundraiser?

Absolutely. Click here to get started!

How can I learn more about your work and what’s going on in the Middle East?

Follow our blog for regular updates. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

More questions? Send us an e-mail. We love hearing from you!