1952

Compassion International Founded

Compassion International is founded by evangelist Rev. Everett Swanson who was moved by the plight of orphans in South Korea.

Evangelist Everett Swanson travels to South Korea to preach the gospel to the troops in the Republic of Korea army. During his visit he encounters children orphaned by the war. Rev. Swanson is challenged by a missionary friend: “You have seen the tremendous needs and unparalleled opportunities of this land. What do you intend to do about it?”

Two checks are presented to Rev. Swanson ($50 and $1,000) upon his return to America to help the orphans of Korea. “This was conclusive proof to me that God was in it,” Swanson said.

Miriam Swanson, Everett’s wife, and family friends, Dr. Gus and Helen Hemwall, encourage, support and work with Rev. Swanson in his efforts to help Korean orphans. Dr. Hemwall provides medical supplies and significant financial resources as Everett launches his overseas ministry.

1963

Compassion Canada is established

Everett changes the name of his ministry to Compassion International. Compassion Canada is established.

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. This committed couple wanted to expand Compassion’s ministry from the United States to Canada, and allow caring Canadians to respond to the needs of children around the world.

November 15, 1963

Rev. Everett Swanson dies

On November 15, Rev. Everett Swanson dies, 13 years after pioneering Compassion’s ministry. In 1966, after several months of prayer, the board selects Rev. Henry L. Harvey as president of Com?passion and appoints Miriam Swanson, Everett’s widow, to serve as vice president.

1968

Compassion begins its international growth

Compassion begins its international growth and establishes the Family Helper Plan in four countries: India, Indonesia, Haiti and Singapore.

1972

Rev. Jim Somerville becomes first Canadian president

Rev. Jim Somerville becomes first Canadian president; Compassion Canada’s offices move to London, Ontario.

1975

Wally Erickson becomes Compassion’s third president

In June, Wally Erickson becomes Compassion’s third president. He served the organization for eight years prior to that. Born in Bloomington, Illinois, Wally spent his boyhood in the Midwest and attended universities in Illinois and Missouri for his undergraduate and post-graduate degrees. An honorary Doctor of Humanities degree was awarded to him by Keimyung Christian College in Taegu, Korea, in the mid-1970s. During Wally’s term as president, the number of sponsored children climbs from 25,000 to more than 180,000.

TEAR Fund, a Christian relief agency in Great Britain, becomes affiliated with Compassion for child sponsorship. post-graduate degrees. An honorary Doctor of Humanities degree was awarded to him by Keimyung Christian College in Taegu, Korea, in the mid-1970s. During Wally’s term as president, the number of sponsored children climbs from 25,000 to more than 180,000.

1978

Compassion Limited of Australia

Australian sponsors help create Compassion Limited of Australia, headquartered in Newcastle.

1983

Dave MacLeod named president of Compassion Canada

Dave MacLeod named president of Compassion Canada following Rev. Somerville’s retirement. He continues to lead Compassion Canada until 1993. Rev. Barry Slauenwhite joins Compassion Canada’s staff as Vice-President of Marketing and Church Ministry.

1984

The Compassion Fund and Unsponsored Children’s Fund are introduced

The Compassion Fund is introduced to provide extraordinary medical and education assistance to Compassion-sponsored children.

Compassion sets up the Unsponsored Children’s Fund to help provide support to newly registered children waiting for a sponsor.

1986

Tear Fund New Zealand partners with Compassion

Tear Fund New Zealand partners with Compassion in funding the child sponsorship program.

1990

SEL France partners with Compassion

SEL France partners with Compassion in funding the child sponsorship program.

1991

10,000 children now sponsored

10,000 children now sponsored through Compassion Canada.

1993

More than 180,000 children are sponsored

More than 180,000 children are sponsored in more than 2,000 project sites in 21 countries.

Compassion leaves Korea after 40 successful years of ministry.

Compassion begins work in Ethiopia.

Rev. Wallace Erickson retires from Compassion International after serving as president for 18 years, and Dr. Wesley Stafford assumes the presidency.

Dave Macleod steps down as president of Compassion Canada. Rev. Barry Slauenwhite is named its third president. Following his graduation from Masters College and Seminary (EPBC) in 1977, Barry began his ministry as a church planter in Prince Edward Island. After establishing a church in Montague, he continued on to pastor a multicultural church in the city of Bathurst, New Brunswick. In 2009, he graduated from the Canada Christian College School of Graduate Theological Studies with a Doctorate of Divinity (Hon). He is also a graduate of the CREST School of Strategic Leadership.

1994

Compassion initiates relief efforts in Rwanda

Compassion initiates relief efforts in Rwanda following civil war that leaves more than 140,000 children “unattended” nationwide. Child development work resumes in 1995.

1996

The Netherlands joins the Compassion Partner Countries

The Netherlands joins Australia, Canada, France, Great Britain and New Zealand as Compassion Partner Countries.

Over 200,000 children are now sponsored through Compassion’s worldwide ministry.

The Leadership Development Program enrolls its first class of students in the Philippines. The program expands into Haiti and Guatemala the following year.

Compassion Canada reaches 15,000 sponsored-children.

1999

Compassion begins child development work in Tanzania

Compassion begins child development work in Tanzania.

Compassion UK opens in the United Kingdom.

2001

Italy becomes a Compassion partner country

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

Italy becomes a Compassion partner country.

2002

Compassion International celebrates 50 years of ministry.

Compassion International celebrates 50 years of ministry. The child sponsorship program expands into Nicaragua.

2003

Compassion Suisse opens in Switzerland

25,000 children sponsored through Compassion Canada as it celebrates its 40th anniversary. Over 500,000 children are supported through all of Compassion’s partners worldwide.

Compassion Suisse opens in Switzerland.

In December, Compassion begins its child development program in Bangladesh. worldwide.

2004

South Korea comes full circle in its relationship with Compassion

South Korea comes full circle in its relationship with Compassion, becoming a partner country and establishing Compassion Korea.

2005

Compassion begins its child sponsorship program in Ghana

Compassion begins its child sponsorship program in Ghana.

2006

Compassion assists more than 800,000 children

Compassion assists more than 800,000 children in 24 countries.

2007

Compassion Deutschland (Germany) is established

Over 900,000 children are assisted by Compassion worldwide. International President Dr Wesley K. Stafford celebrates 30 years of service.

Compassion Deutschland (Germany) is established.

Canada celebrates 50,000 children sponsored by Canadians.

Compassion expands Leadership Development Program into Honduras.

2008

Dr. Barry Slauenwhite celebrates 25 years of ministry service.

Compassion International registers the 1,000,000th child.

Dr. Barry Slauenwhite celebrates 25 years of ministry service.

2009

Compassion International celebrates 1,000,000 sponsored-children

Compassion International celebrates 1,000,000 sponsored-children. 70,000 of these children are sponsored through Compassion Canada.

2012

Compassion International celebrates its 60th anniversary!

Compassion International celebrates its 60th anniversary!

Compassion Australia celebrates 100,000 beneficiaries assisted through their office.

Compassion Canada celebrates 90,000 sponsored children.

2013

Compassion Canada celebrates 50 years of ministry

Compassion Canada celebrates 50 years of ministry.