Employ Iraq

The Morrell Foundation believes in the intrinsic worth and dignity of every human being—and the right and responsibility of every individual to contribute to society. We also value cultural, ethnic, religious and gender diversity and equality.

The first program of the Morrell Foundation, Employ Iraq grew out of the underlying philosophy and values of organization founder Phil Morrell. Launched in 2003, the program sponsored community development programs to help rebuild Iraq at the grassroots level.

Employ Iraq

In the wake of the 2003 invasion, Iraq’s people, infrastructure, institutions and industry were stressed to the breaking point. While many Iraqis had suffered hardship under Saddam Hussein, military conflict disrupted established patterns of everyday life and commerce, creating fresh new challenges. Industry slowed to a near standstill. Employment opportunities evaporated. Many buildings and roads were damaged or destroyed. Disillusion and violence were on the rise.

Morrell Foundation Founder Phil Morrell decided to take action, asking his team in Baghdad to put together a plan to help the Iraqi people help themselves, even in a time of great adversity and challenge. The Iraqi people needed opportunity, purpose and hope—and that’s precisely what the people of the Morrell Foundation committed themselves to providing.

In short order, the Morrell Foundation developed a plan called Employ Iraq, which drew inspiration and key lessons from historical programs including the New Deal and the Marshall Plan. Though executed on a smaller scale, Employ Iraq was designed to provide work, wages and training to the Iraqi people by, among other things, employing Iraqis in the nation’s cleanup and rebuilding efforts.

With the lessons of history firmly in mind, the Employ Iraq plan called for putting people to work constructing and repairing roads and public buildings as a means to help unemployed individuals, improve the overall morale and conditions of the Iraqi people, jumpstart the rebuilding process, increase overall economic activity, and ultimately reduce violence

Employ Iraq provided employment and hands-on experience to more than 800 previously unemployed Iraqis, giving them the opportunity to work on critical projects in their local communities. While stimulating pride and self-reliance, Employ Iraq ultimately led to the successful renovation of 14 schools across Southern Iraq, improving the lives of thousands of people.

ICare Village

Soon after Hurricane Katrina struck the United States Gulf Coast in 2005, the Morrell Foundation deployed staff and volunteers to offer assistance and solutions. After a few days on the ground, it became clear that there was a great need for a central community center and volunteer headquarters for the people that lost their homes, and the people who wanted to help re-build.

The first ICare Village was built in Waveland, MS to serve as a Community Center and Support Center for the victims of the Hurricane,  and Volunteer Headquarters for the responders near Waveland, Mississippi. The ICare Village provided shelter, food and shower facilities to  the thousands of volunteers who streamed to the area to help the recovery and rebuilding process. It also served as a volunteer command center, assigning volunteers to projects and requests for assistance, in the community. The 3000 volunteers that were served by the ICare village contributed over 125,000 hours of labor and recovery efforts to the local community.

In addition, the ICare village provided shelter, food, shower and laundry facilities to the residents of Waveland. It served as a location for community meetings, faith based services, and counseling for all the residents and volunteers. The ICare village hosted community parties, holiday celebrations, children activities, and free concerts. Food, clothing and toy donations were brought to the ICare Village and distributed to the community in need.

Employ Haiti

In 2010, the Morrell Foundation stepped up to provide hope and assistance in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The foundation is currently launching Employ Haiti, a comprehensive program to employ Haitians in local cleanup, rebuilding and recycling efforts.

For more information and to learn how you can help, visit