Compassion's History - 21st Century

History of Compassion International in the 21st century.

Compassion in the 21st century

Compassion in the 21st century | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s


We hold our inaugural Leadership Development Program International Congress in the Philippines, celebrating the graduation of the first LDP students.

Filipino students stand together in a group smiling and wearing sashes.


Over 400,000 children are assisted in 21 countries around the globe.

Our Global Ministry Center relocates to northern Colorado Springs.

Italy becomes a partner country.


We celebrate 50 years of child development ministry.

We expand our Child Sponsorship Program into Nicaragua, bringing the total number of assisted countries to 22.

A young Nicaraguan girl smiling with pursed lips.


Building on the experience of our Meals and Meals-Plus program in the 1980s as well as our early child development program in the 1990s, we launch the first Child Survival Programs in Haiti, Peru, India and Ecuador.

We launch YouthPartnersNET to take ownership of our work in the U.S. YouthPartnersNET provides services to a national network of ministries meeting leadership and practical needs in inner city and Native American communities.

Compassion Suisse opens in Switzerland.

In December, we begin our Child Sponsorship Program in Bangladesh.


South Korea becomes a partner country.

We begin our Child Sponsorship Program in Burkina Faso and open Child Survival Programs in Kenya and Uganda.


We begin our Child Survival Program in the Philippines and our Child Sponsorship Program in Ghana.

A group of children sit together outside an old blue house.


We assist more than 800,000 children in 24 countries.

We open Child Survival Programs in the Dominican Republic, East Indonesia and Ethiopia.


We provide a start-up grant to YouthPartnersNET to launch CityConnexx, a grassroots effort to meet the growing need to create direct relationships and collaboration between urban, suburban, rural and Native American communities in the U.S.

We expand our Leadership Development Program into Honduras and our Child Survival Program into Thailand and East India.

Compassion Deutschland (Germany) becomes a partner country.


Our Child Survival Program opens in Bolivia, Indonesia, and Tanzania.


Compassion Togo becomes the 26th country we work in, and Fellow Kpodo, an 8-year-old boy in Togo, becomes our 1 millionth sponsored child.

We open the Child Survival Program in El Salvador.


We begin our ministry in Sri Lanka with the Child Survival Program. This marks the first time we begin working in a country with a program other than child sponsorship. Child sponsorship begins in Sri Lanka in two years later.

We also open Child Survival Programs in Bangladesh and Rwanda.


We open the Child Survival Program in Mexico.


We open Child Survival Programs in Burkina Faso and Ghana and start our Child Sponsorship Program in Sri Lanka.


Dr. Wess Stafford retires from his 21-year tenure as President and Chief Executive Officer, and Santiago "Jimmy" Mellado assumes the presidency.

Santiago Jimmy Mellado and Wess Stafford

Born in El Salvador and raised in seven different countries, Jimmy has experienced firsthand the powerful impact thriving local churches can have on their communities, especially in under-resourced environments.

Prior to joining Compassion in June, Jimmy served 20 years as the president of the Willow Creek Association (WCA) – a global ministry completely dedicated to helping local churches thrive.

Jimmy’s educational background includes graduating cum laude with a Mechanical Engineering degree from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.

Compassion in the 21st century | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s

The Heart of Compassion Beats Stronger Than Ever

Our history begins with one man’s act of compassion in 1952, an act that blossomed into a ministry helping more than 1.7 million babies, children and young adults.

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