Elsewhere online
January 28, 2016

Embattled Aid Charity Changing Name and Leaving Washington

A global aid organization that was accused by the government last year of mishandling hundreds of millions of dollars in federal development funds is moving its headquarters from the Washington, D.C., area to Madison, Wisc., the Milwaukee Business Journal writes.

International Relief and Development, known as IRD, is rebranding itself as Blumont and will split into three subsidiaries, two nonprofits and a for-profit engineering company. President and CEO Roger Ervin, who took over leadership of IRD in late 2014 amid a federal review of the group, lives in Madison and is an adjunct business professor at the University of Wisconsin. He said the move reflects changes in the nature of government aid contracting and in the organization's mission.

IRD received more than $2.4 billion from the U.S. Agency for International Development from 2007 to 2015 to implement development programs, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan. The nonprofit was suspended from federal work for several months last year after a USAID review found "serious misconduct" in its spending of contract funds.

Blumont will focus on high-impact aid delivery and engineering solutions for humanitarian relief and long-term economic stabilization in developing countries. Mr. Ervin said the organization will look to forge ties with Wisconsin's university system and engineering sector: "There are new markets we want to go into that IRD wasn't in, and markets IRD was in that we no longer will be working with."