is a Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...
humanitarian organization that operates relief and development programs
in 13 countries, and funds partnership programs in nine other countries. The organization’s mission
statement is, “World Concern provides life, opportunity and hope to suffering people around the world,
through disaster response and development programs. Motivated by our love of Christ, we bring hope
and reconciliation to those we serve, so they may in turn share with others.”
The agency operates in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Americas, with its headquarters located in Seattle,
Washington. World Concern serves approximately 6 million people worldwide and has a staff of 877,
with 846 of those being international and 31 based at headquarters.
World Concern is part of CRISTA Ministries
CRISTA Ministries is a collection of Christian ministries located in the Richmond Highlands neighborhood of Shoreline, Washington, just north of Seattle...
, a Christian non-profit organization that oversees seven
ministries, and a charter member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA
The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability is an accreditation agency to promote fiscal integrity and sound financial practices among member organizations. Founded in 1979, it comprises over 2,000 evangelical Christian organizations which qualify for tax-exempt, nonprofit status and...
World Concern is also a founding member of the ONE Campaign
The ONE Campaign is an international, nonpartisan, non-profit organization which aims to increase government funding for and effectiveness of international aid programs....
Dr. Wilbert Saunders and pharmacist Jim McCoy founded an organization called Medicine for Missions in 1955 in Seattle. The two shared a concern that surplus medications being thrown away could be used to save lives in
underdeveloped countries. They founded Medicines for Missions and began supplying medicines to
clinics and hospitals overseas.
The organization was renamed World Concern in 1976 after expanding work to include emergency
relief in response to famines, hurricanes and earthquakes. Art Beals, a former missionary and pastor,
became World Concern’s executive director in 1975, and remained in the position until 1984. He was
an important figure in driving the early growth of World Concern. David Eller, the agency’s current
president, has overseen World Concern since 2007.
World Concern’s programs focus on community development in some of the poorest countries in the
world. Programs include disaster response, health services, education and vocational training, food security and water, child protection and microcredit
Microcredit is the extension of very small loans to those in poverty designed to spur entrepreneurship. These individuals lack collateral, steady employment and a verifiable credit history and therefore cannot meet even the most minimal qualifications to gain access to traditional credit...
World Concern has regional offices in Asia (Bangkok, Thailand) and Africa (Nairobi, Kenya), as well as
field offices in each operational country, which include Haiti, Bolivia, Bangladesh, Laos, Myanmar, Sri
Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Chad, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan. Each office is staffed by a country director
and mostly nationals, with a few expatriates.
Projects are developed based on the specific needs of a country’s poorest populations located in
underdeveloped areas. In Chad, for example, World Concern works in camps for refugees from the
Darfur region of Sudan and internally displaced Chadians. In partnership with organizations such as
USAID, World Concern implements a “Cash for Work” program that employs people living in the camp to
perform labor, such as building rock bunds to reduce erosion. Workers receive vouchers, which they can
convert to cash to purchase food, clothing and other necessities.
World Concern has also responded to major disasters, including the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Initially providing emergency supplies of food, water, tarps and medical supplies, the agency’s work
during the first year after the earthquake included employing Haitians to clear rubble, repairing
damaged homes, building steel-framed transitional shelters, repairing churches, and giving out business
grants. The organization is also distributing cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...
prevention and treatment information and supplies since an outbreak
of the disease hit the country in October, 2010.
World Concern’s programs seek to implement sustainable ways to lift people out of poverty, with a
goal of enabling members of the communities in which they work to support themselves. Examples of
this include supporting rural schools and teachers, providing job skills for caregivers of AIDS orphans,
establishing financial service associations or village banks
Village Banking is a microcredit methodology where-by financial services are administered locally rather than centralized in a formal bank. Village banking has its roots in ancient cultures and was most recently adopted for use by micro-finance institutions as a way to control costs...
, providing small business training and support,
improved agricultural techniques, and water and sanitation projects.
World Concern’s work is funded by donations from individuals, foundations and by government grants. Government grants include funding from USAID and OFDA. Donations from individuals for the Haiti earthquake response totaled more than $2 million. Through its parent organization, CRISTA Ministries, World Concern received a rating of four stars by Charity Navigator, with 94% of donations going toward programs.