Our ministry to children began in 1952. Rev. Everett Swanson left his pastorate to work as a full-time evangelist and traveled to South Korea to preach the gospel to the troops in the South Korean army.

While on the trip he saw the poor conditions in which many orphaned and abandoned children live — and die.

One morning he saw city workers collecting piles of rags and tossing them into the back of a garbage truck. As he approached the truck, he realized the "piles" were not rags. The city workers were collecting the frozen bodies of orphans who had died overnight in the streets. He had never seen circumstances like this before. Rev. Swanson could not ignore what he saw and vowed to find a way to help.

Back home in Chicago, Rev. Swanson raised money to support a Korean orphanage and established a unique program to provide food, clothing, shelter, a Bible-based education and medical care for Korean orphans for a few dollars a month. That program, our initial ministry to children, grew into our Child Sponsorship Program.

Read More About Our History >

Many children sitting on the ground together with their backs leaning against a wall


We focus our ministry on children. We exist to release children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty.

Our commitment to children is a commitment to holistic child development. And it's a commitment unique among child sponsorship organizations. Unlike many children's ministries that serve children through community development, all of our work is about the individual child.

We believe changed circumstances rarely change people’s live but changed people inevitably change their circumstances.

We establish one-to-one long-term relationships with the children our local church partners minister to. Our ministry is about equipping children so they can end the cycle of poverty in their lives.

We provide children in our programs with:

  • Mentoring and leadership development
  • Critical medical resources and medical checkups
  • Clean water, nutritious food and supplemental vitamins
  • Health and hygiene training
  • Educational assistance, emotional support and spiritual guidance
  • Assistance for special needs, including access to special services like life-saving surgeries, transplants, cancer treatment, and disaster relief
  • Opportunities to hear about Jesus Christ and be encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God

Our ministry gives poor children and their families the skills and opportunity to reach enough — enough to succeed physically, socially, economically and spiritually. We minister to children as whole beings with bodies, minds, souls and spirits. We seek transformation in the lives of the children we minister to so they are truly, completely and finally released from poverty.

Read More About How We Work >

Six smiling children


In 2008, a team of researchers led by Dr. Bruce Wydick, a professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, conducted a study of our Child Sponsorship Program. No other child sponsorship organization was willing to risk participation in the study his team proposed: Does international child sponsorship really work?

After collecting data on more than 10,000 individuals over a two-year period, Dr. Wydick and his colleagues concluded that our Child Sponsorship Program has large and statistically significant impacts on the educational, employment and leadership outcomes of the children who participate.

On average, a child we minister to spends 4,000 hours in safe, nurturing programs, is at least 50 percent more likely to graduate college and is 35 percent more likely to find white-collar employment as an adult.

Learn How We Decide Which Children to Help >

Essentially, our ministry TO children is a ministry FOR children in that it gives children the opportunity to develop and succeed.

When asked which component of our children's ministry was most beneficial to them; nearly 40 percent of the formerly sponsored children who participated in Dr. Wydick's research replied "educational support." The second-most common response related to spiritual growth and character development.

For some children in our sponsorship program, the cost of school fees, clothing and supplies are provided. Other children may receive tutoring, help with homework, or access to a literacy program outside the classroom. Children also are taught a vocation that can help them earn employment when they are older, and they receive regular Bible lessons through a local church committed to Jesus Christ and the children in the community.

Learn How Sponsorship Supplements Traditional Schooling >

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