Compassion's History - 1960s

History of Compassion International in the 1960s.

Compassion in the 1960s

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


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.

Rev. Everett Swanson at the Hillside Christian Orphanage in South Korea, May 1958


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 our ministry.

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Rev. Everett Swanson and his wife, Miriam Swanson, with the Korean Orphans Choir


In November, 113 sponsors and friends of Compassion go on the First Compassion Orient Tour and visit 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, after 13 years of pioneering ministry.


After several months of prayer, the board selects Rev. Henry L. Harvey as president 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, we begin projects in 17 new countries.

A memorial fund is established for Everett Swanson. Contributions to the fund are used to construct a building for our 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.

Ground-breaking ceremony for the Everett Swanson Memorial Building


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.


We begin growing internationally with the establishment of the Family Helper Plan in Indonesia.

By providing children with school tuition, nutritious meals, medical care, Bible lessons and other benefits, our staff workers help keep impoverished families together.

The Family Helper Plan's success in Indonesia leads to its implementation in India, Haiti and Singapore.

The Family Helper Plan is spearheaded by Edward Kimball. Mr. Kimball travels thousands of miles to set up programs that are still followed in many countries today.

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

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 millions of babies, children and young adults.

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