Compassion International was started way back in 1952 by Reverend Everett Swanson, in South Korea. He was the Chaplain of American troops in the Republic of Korea. It was begun as an orphanage of 18 children, which he called “Faith and Hope”, thanks to some early donations.
In 1954, special sponsorship programs were developed that enabled individuals, families, or churches support orphans for a few dollars a month. In 1963, inspired by the words of Jesus in Matthew 15:32, as well as his growing uneasiness of seeing his name representing a growing Ministry, Swanson changed the name of Everett Swanson Evangelical Association to Compassion Incorporated. That same year, Compassion Canada was formed.
On November 15 th , 1965, Dr. Everett Swanson died 13 years after pioneering the ministry. Reverend Henry L. Harvey was named President of Compassion in 1966. In 1968, Compassion began its international growth, expanding from its Korean ministry.
In 1974, school projects were set up. In the same year Reverend Henry Harvey
In 1975, Reverend Wally Erickson was named President. Tear Fund, a Christian Relief Agency in Great Britain, became affiliated with Compassion for Child Sponsorship. Compassion Australia was formed in 1978 with the help of Australian sponsors.
In 1980, Compassion moved its headquarters to Colorado Springs, Colorado USA. The None Formal Education (NFE) Program was introduced. Hunger Health (HH) Fund was established in 1983. In 1984, the Compassion Fund was introduced to provide extraordinary medical and education assistance to Compassion sponsored children. The unsponsored children Fund was also set up.
In 1986, Tear Fund New Zealand became a co-operating Partner Country with
Compassion. In April, Services d’ Entraide et de Liaison (SEL) of France became affiliated with Compassion. In 1991, Overseas Scholarship Grant Program was organized to financially support older children who completed their formal education and would like to continue in secondary schools, vocational or university.
In 1993, more than 180,000 children received sponsorship in more than 2 000 project sites in 21 countries. Within the same year, Compassion left Korea after 40 years of successful ministry. Compassion also began work in Ethiopia. Reverend Wallace Erickson retired from Compassion after serving for 18 years. Dr. Wess Stafford assumed the presidency. He served for 35 years and
was replaced by Jimmy Mellado Santiago who officially assumed President and CEO of Compassion International in June- 2012.
In 1996, the Netherlands joined France, Great Britain, and Australia as Partnering countries with Compassion. In 2001, Italy also joined other partnering countries. It is during the same year that Compassion ’s USA Headquarters relocated to northern Colorado Springs
Today, Compassion World Wide assists more than 1,898,865 Children in CDSP, 19,172 in Survival and 286 students in Leadership Development.