SGI is a non-profit Christian organization with the mission to encourage and equip the body of Christ to love and serve our Middle Eastern neighbors. We send and support teachers in Iraq, partner with refugee relief in Iraq, Greece, and Turkey, and offer support for refugees and migrants into the Nashville area.

We are a non-denominational agency with team members from a variety of backgrounds.

SGI was founded in 1992 in response to the arrival of hundreds of Kurdish refugees to Nashville after the first Gulf War. Since that time our work has expanded to include teams and projects in Europe and the Middle East in addition to Nashville. 

    • John Nelson serves as the Executive Director. John and his wife Mary lived and worked with SGI in Iraq from 2010-2014. They currently have three young children, Henry, Millie, and Ned.
    • Dave Dillard has worked with SGI since 1993 and currently serves as the Associate Director. Dave’s passion is to help everyday people use their gifts and talents to serve.
    • Colleen McGarry is a program coordinator for SGI’s team of volunteers and associated programs in the Nashville area. Colleen served with SGI teams in Iraq for 6 years.
    • Lisa Harris serves as the Director of Team Development. She is in charge of recruiting, training and deployment of new team members. Lisa has been with SGI since 2004.
    • Kim Goddard is our Office Manager. She handles all donor questions, gifts, receipts and in general keeps the office alive and in order. Kim has been with SGI since 1995.
    • Steve Goddard is our Local Liaison. He serves the Nashville Kurdish and Arab communities through direct interaction and mediation with Metro offices.
    • Hannah Sasscer is our Iraq teams Recruiter. She served with SGI teams in Iraq for 5 years. Now she attends conferences, hosts and edits our podcast, among many other things.
    • Aaron Thomas serves as the Field Development Director. He recruits and leads trips to serve our Greek ministry partners as well as fundraising and expansion efforts. Aaron and his wife, Karrie, live with their three boys in the Washington D.C. area and are pastors at Restore Church.
    • Bonnie Myers is our Sew For Hope Program Manager. She brings a lot of experience, administrative skills, and a love for refugee women to her role. She and her husband have two children.
  • Brandon Verner (Chairman)
  • Ian Kern (Secretary)
  • Nate Yoder
  • Lori Troxel
  • Jeff Morgan
  • John Nelson
  • Dave Dillard

How will my donation be used?

You can designate gifts to a particular project or team member, or direct your gift to be used “where most needed.” At present, our greatest needs are (1) funds to recruit, deploy and sustain team members in Iraq, and (2) funds to help support projects serving refugees in Iraq and Greece who lost their homes to ISIS. Funds designated “general” or “where most needed” will be used for these projects and to help support overall ministry operations.

Can I earmark my donations for a certain person or project?

Yes, a list of active approved projects and/or team members can be found in the pull-down list on our donate page. To inquiry about other designations, please email our office manager Kim Goddard ( or call our offices at 615-832-2282.

Are gifts tax-deductible?

Yes, SGI is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all gifts are tax-deductible as allowed by IRS regulations.

Will I get a receipt?

Yes, the SGI Home Office mails a tax-deductible receipt for most donations. Donations processed via bank draft and/or online will receive a year-end receipt each January.

How does SGI decide what projects to fund? 

Our projects are built upon relationships, in particular long-term relationships we have with national believers serving in their communities and our teams working along side them. In concert with national believers, projects are selected and approved based upon potential for long-term impact, their ability to meet immediate felt needs, and long-term sustainability and viability.

How is SGI held accountable?

SGI is governed by a Board of Directors with 75+ years experience managing mission projects and teams. We undergo an independent audit each year, copies of which are available to any potential donor upon request.

Where does SGI get most of their funding?

About 55% of our support comes from individuals, 32% from churches, 8% from foundations, and 5% from other organizations and Christian-owned businesses. Almost all our funding comes from sources inside the U.S.

What percentage of my donation goes to fund overhead expenses?

Typically, 5% of each donation is allocated to help fund ministry overhead expenses.

How do I find out more about specific financial needs?

For more information regarding specific financial needs, please email our office manager Kim Goddard ( or call our offices at 615-832-2282.

What will SGI do with my name and address information?

We will protect your privacy and will not share your name and address with any other organization or business. In addition to tax-deductible receipts, we will send you a copy of updates about our ministry from time to time via email or regular mail.

How can I update my donor information?

Please email our office manager Kim Goddard ( or call 615-832-2282. If you donate online, you can update your donor information by going to the donate page and clicking the login link at the top right of the page.

Is SGI affiliated with any church or denomination?

SGI is a non-profit Christian agency supported by a wide variety of churches. We are not affiliated with any particular church or denomination.

Will SGI accept a matching gift from my company?

Yes, for more information please contact our office manager Kim Goddard ( or call 615-832-2282.

Does SGI accept “gifts-in-kind?”

Gifts-in-kind (i.e., donated materials or special items) are welcome depending upon the need. Typically, we are not able to send material contributions overseas to Iraq, but we do accept donations for help with refugee work in Middle Tennessee. Per IRS regulations, receipts for gifts-in-kind will acknowledge the donation of items, but cannot establish a monetary value for donated items; that is the responsibility of the donor and/or their tax advisor.

Can SGI accept stock donations?

Yes, please contact our office administrator Robin Dillard at or 615-832-2282.

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SGI’s leadership and teams embrace the historic Christian faith as summarized in the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed. Our team members represent a variety of denominations and traditions.

In our own words:

We believe our love and service for people throughout this world is a
gift given to us through the saving work of Jesus Christ, as demonstrated
by his sacrificial death on a cross for the gracious payment of human sin.

We believe God exists in the Trinity of three: Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit. The Trinity of God has existed before the foundations of time.
God created humankind to enjoy fellowship with Him and worship Him
throughout eternity.

We believe God reveals his perfect love to us through His Word, the Holy Bible.

We believe eternal, fellowship with God is made possible only through faith in Jesus Christ. This faith is exhibited as we live in obedience to Christ’s commandments and as we model Christ’s love for all people.

We believe in the spiritual unity and communion of Christians with equality to all Believers. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

We proudly use