For many children around the world, poverty leaves a lasting mark on their lives. But a new study is providing hope — by showing the life-changing impact of being released from poverty in Jesus’ name.

The new study, focused on a small group of Compassion program participants, shares promising indicators of the long-term positive direct impacts and ripple effects of child development programs led by Compassion International and its partner network of local churches in the Dominican Republic. Results show that an overwhelming number of those surveyed have become thriving adults who are involved in their community, have pursued education, have self-confidence and are filled with hope.

The pilot research project focused on 99 alumni in the Dominican Republic who participated in a Compassion-sponsored program with a local church partner at some point during their childhood or youth. The alumni, involved in Compassion’s program for an average of nearly 13 years, shared their insights into the lasting impact of the program on their lives.

Many participants shared that the place they started from — physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually — was bleak. Just 6.3% of participants surveyed described their lives positively prior to enrollment in a Compassion center. But participation in the program resulted in transformation that has lasted well into adulthood:

  • 97% said they were released from poverty in Jesus’ name.
  • 95% said participation helped them have hope in their adult life.
  • 95% said participation helped them achieve their educational goals.
  • 95% said the Compassion center helped them have self-confidence in their adult life.
  • 93% said the Compassion center changed their lives.

These results represent a major transformation — echoing the truth shared by Compassion’s President Emeritus Dr. Wess Stafford: “The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is enough.” The power of “enough” is visible in the transformations shared by alumni: from hopelessness to thriving. From feeling insecure to feeling cared for and restored. From alone and anxious to empowered and fulfilled.

Participants shared things like:

  • “In my moments of depression, the center was my escape and my help.”
  • “Knowing Christ through the [Compassion] center … helped me create a stable marriage.”
  • “My biggest impact was the way [my] mentality changed. They helped me be a better person, they loved me and they wanted me just [as] I am.”

In addition, the ripple effects that the alumni attribute to their participation in Compassion’s program were also significant:

  • 92% said participation helped them provide their children with a better life.
  • 79% said participation helped them break the cycle of poverty in their family.
  • 90% reported serving in their community, with 73% doing so at least weekly.

To learn more about God’s work through Compassion and our church partners in the Dominican Republic, watch the Ripple Effects documentary here:

About Compassion International

Compassion International is a Christian child development organization dedicated to releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Founded in 1952, Compassion partners with more than 8,500 local churches in 29 program countries to deliver spiritual, economic, social, and physical care to over two million babies, children, and young adults in poverty. Ranked No. 13 in Forbes’ America’s Top Charities List in 2023, Compassion is a founding member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and an accredited charity with the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, X, and TikTok.