Compassion's History - 1960s

History of Compassion International through the 1960s.

Compassion's History - 1960s

1960s image


Rev. Swanson visits South Korea in January and sees that children are inadequately dressed for the winter weather. "Operation Long Underwear," a special drive to provide a complete winter outfit — shoes, socks, heavy underwear and school uniform — begins. More than 6,000 children are clothed the following winter.


By September, the Everett Swanson Evangelistic Association supports 108 orphanages and homes in South Korea.   

Inspired by Jesus' words in Matthew 15:32 of "I have compassion on the multitude. I will not send them away hungry," as well as Swanson's growing uneasiness with seeing his own name represent a growing ministry, Swanson changes the name of Everett Swanson Evangelical Association to Compassion, Incorporated.

Compassion of Canada, Ltd., is formed and Bob and Janet Forsyth open their home to house the first Canadian office. Today, the offices are headquartered in London, Ontario.


An honorary Doctor of Laws degree is bestowed on Rev. Swanson by Kon Kuk University in Seoul.

In the fall, Miriam Swanson spearheads the first of four U.S. tours. A handful of Korean orphans travel to more than 80 U.S. cities. In churches, they sing, recite scripture and pantomime native folk songs. As a result, many new sponsors and supporters join Compassion's ministry.   

In November, 113 sponsors and friends of Compassion go on the First Compassion Orient Tour and visit Compassion's orphanages and projects in South Korea. Dr. Gus and Helen Hemwall host the three-week excursion throughout Asia. The first trip is so successful that Miriam Swanson hosts six others through the years.

On November 15, Dr. Everett Swanson dies, 13 years after pioneering Compassion's ministry.

After several months of prayer, the board selects Rev. Henry L. Harvey as president of Com­passion and appoints Miriam Swanson, Everett's widow, to serve as vice president. The chairman of the board is Dr. Gus Hemwall; Elmer Olson is the treasurer and David Swanson serves as secretary.  

Miriam Swanson plays a prominent role as a sponsor relations representative. She corresponds with and talks to sponsors who have questions or comments about the ministry.

Rev. Harvey's education and experience in business give him management expertise. His 13 years as a mis­sionary in India give him a deep understanding of fieldwork. During his eight-year tenure, Com­passion begins projects in 17 new countries.

A memorial fund is established for Everett Swanson. Contributions to the fund are used to construct a building for Compassion's offices in Seoul, Korea. Arthur N. Knudsen, a Compassion sponsor, goes to Korea and devotes a week of his own time to develop plans for the Everett Swanson Memorial Building.

In April, Miriam Swanson attends the ground-breaking ceremony for the office building and digs the first shovelful of earth.


The Everett Swanson Memorial Building is dedicated in May. Ninety three sponsors and friends of Compassion from the United States are among those on hand for the dedication.   

Compassion begins its international growth and establishes the Family Helper Plan in four countries: India, Indonesia, Haiti and Singapore. The effort is spearheaded by Edward Kimball, who joins Compassion in 1965 and serves as business manager in Korea and as field director in South Asia. Mr. Kimball travels thousands of miles to set up programs that are still followed in many countries today. 

1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s

Compassion's History In 2012, Compassion celebrated 60 years of releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

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