Who We Are

History

Founded in 2013, Multifaith Alliance (MFA) is a US-based 501(c)(c) non-profit organization dedicated to addressing displacement crises through the collective power of over 100 faith-based and secular partners. MFA’s work began with raising public awareness of the Syrian crisis and organizing advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill before expanding to include humanitarian relief efforts in 2016. Since then, MFA has delivered nearly $500 million worth of aid to non-government-held Syrian territories, northern Iraq, Lebanon, and Ukraine.

MFA specializes in delivering high-quality medicines and medical supplies as well as emergency food and non-food items. Our team coordinates the transportation and distribution of aid, leveraging vetted partner organizations to serve hard-to-reach areas. These efforts have served over 2.5 million households and sustain the activities of dozens of hospitals, medical facilities, and camps.

In addition to distributing aid, MFA also directly implements healthcare and clean water projects throughout northern Syria. On Capitol Hill, we continue advocating for informed, inclusive approaches to policies that impact the lives and livelihoods of displaced communities, including refugee resettlement, humanitarian intervention, counterterrorism, and anti-normalization.

Mission

MFA makes a tangible difference in the lives of refugees and internally displaced people by harnessing the collective power of over 100 faith-based and secular partners. We are dedicated to restoring dignity, resilience, and stability to Syrians and other displaced communities through:
  • Filling gaps in vital humanitarian aid and implementing healthcare, clean water, and other innovative projects in hard-to-reach areas;
  • Creating awareness of the facts, needs, and opportunities for positive action to help displaced communities rebuild their lives;
  • Advocating for informed, inclusive policies that impact the lives and livelihoods of displaced communities, including refugee resettlement in the U.S.
  • Mobilizing diverse faith-based and civic partners across all aspects of our work in order to foster collaboration and promote humanitarian diplomacy.

Vision

We envision a world where diverse secular and faith-based communities can come together and make a positive impact on displaced communities, and work towards a future in which all individuals impacted by conflict can rebuild their lives with dignity and hope.


Our Team

Shadi Martini

Chief Executive Officer

The Syrian war turned businessman Shadi Martini into a refugee, an activist, and an advocate for greater cooperation across faith and cultural lines for the Syrian people. Shadi is now Chief Executive Officer of Multifaith Alliance.

In March 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on those providing aid to anyone suspected of being in the opposition, Shadi, then the General Manager of a hospital in Aleppo, and his comrades worked covertly to provide aid to wounded and ill civilians. This secret network was discovered in mid-2012, forcing him to flee his country.

Immediately, Shadi began organizing assistance programs for Syrians displaced by war. He founded Bulgaria’s Refugee Support Group, a humanitarian aid organization, and was elected to the Bulgarian Crisis Commission by Bulgarian NGOs to help overcome the obstacles to aiding and integrating refugees. His efforts attracted partnerships with numerous faith-based organizations in the U.S. and abroad, which led to his involvement with Multifaith Alliance (MFA).

Shadi became Director of Humanitarian Relief and Regional Relations, the role in which he structured MFA’s humanitarian aid program. We attribute the success of this program to the partnerships Shadi and MFA Founder Georgette Bennett forged with like-minded humanitarians throughout the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East, who were willing to help by donating or delivering life-saving aid. These ongoing relationships, and a decade of experience, have contributed to the facility and economy with which MFA now executes aid shipments.

As CEO of Multifaith Alliance, Shadi’s vision is to strengthen and enhance the organization’s existing projects and programs in the U.S. and abroad to effect large scale policy and cultural changes, and secure lasting solutions to the Syrian refugee crisis. He is driven not only by his commitment to alleviate suffering, but also to keep awareness of the crisis at the forefront of public consciousness.

Consequently, he travels the world presenting to groups from governments to college students, encouraging greater activism to generate a more rational U.S. immigration policy. The network he has maintained throughout Syria and the surrounding region gives him a vantage point from which to provide first-hand briefings of the crisis to leaders of governments and civil society, as well as in interviews, articles, and speeches.

Marlene Adler

Head of Operations

In 2015, Marlene Adler joined MFA as its Director of Communications and Development, and now serves as MFA’s Head of Operations.

Before her time at MFA, Marlene had an eight-year career at Bear Stearns where she was vice president of Marketing. In the course of doing business, she met Walter Cronkite and left Bear Stearns to join him in building a documentary production company in partnership with the Discovery Channel. She then became his Chief of Staff and manager through their 20-year relationship that ended with is passing in 2009.

Following that, Marlene was Managing Director for Cententia Group LLC, a private equity company with a focus in the oil & gas industry in Louisiana. When Cententia closed in 2012, Marlene produced two PBS documentaries in collaboration with Colonial Pictures, an award-winning U.K. production company: One PM Central Standard Time, commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the JFK Assassination; and the Emmy-nominated JFK & LBJ: a Time for Greatness, which coincided with the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. In 2013, Marlene joined the Green Mountain (U.S.) Fund L.P., a Fund of hedge funds, and served as its Chief Operating Officer.


Betsy Dribben

Head of Advocacy

Betsy Dribben, Head of Advocacy for Multifaith Alliance, is an attorney with decades of international political and policy experience. As Head of Advocacy, she works on policy and advocacy focused on the Syrian refugee crisis and U.S. resettlement of refugees.

Betsy began her career as a legislative and press aide on Capitol Hill, working for senior members of the House and Senate. She has also been a public relations director for two major nonprofits, including having worked on two sets of Presidential Debates.

She has nearly twenty years of advocacy experience at the European Parliament and a decade at the United Nations. At the UN, she served as the chief representative for two nonprofits in their environmental and economic work. Her efforts resulted in key language in the Rio Plus 20 United Nations agreement and regulations in the European Union pertaining to environmental problems.

Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, Newsday and the LA Times wire. Betsy holds a BA degree from Wheaton College (Norton, MA) and a JD from George Mason University's School of Law.

Ahed Festuk

Logistics Manager

​Ahed Festuk has worked as Multifaith Alliance’s Logistics Manager since 2019, overseeing MFA’s humanitarian aid shipments. An activist from Aleppo, Syria, Ahed is a prominent member of the Syrian women's political movement.

When the war erupted, she worked as a paramedic on the frontlines, and remained in Aleppo's rebel-held side until late November 2015. During her time in Syria, Ahed joined several local organizations, helping them provide humanitarian relief and raising funds to expand their efforts. Simultaneously, she became a member of the ancillary staff of the Aleppo local council.

Before seeking asylum in America in 2016, Ahed was contracted to train hostile-environment and first aid responders inside Aleppo.

Hope Leone

Grants and Partnerships Manager

Hope Leone joined the MFA team in the fall of 2020 as a Development & Cultivation coordinator, assisting with a portfolio of MFA's supporters. She quickly began overseeing fundraising and community engagement encompassing MFA’s total portfolio of programs. Within a short while, Hope assumed the role of Grants & Partnerships Manager, developing strong connections to the full breadth of MFA's supporters.

Prior to joining MFA, Hope worked in the luxury retail field and managed multiple million-dollar brands for one of America’s premier retailers.

As a student at George Washington University, she led No Lost Generation, a student organization which was founded to support Syrian refugees.

Hope has a B.A. in International Affairs and graduated with special honors. Her notable senior thesis focused on the topic of humanitarian intervention.