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Founded 1950
Founder Lance Latham, Art Rorheim
Type 501(c)(3) non-profit religious
Area served
U.S. and Int'l (109 countries)
Key people
Valerie Bell, CEO; Matt Markins, President/COO; Art Rorheim, Co-Founder
12,200 U.S. churches, 6,000 int'l churches

Awana (derived from the first letters of "Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed" as taken from 2 Timothy 2:15) is an international evangelical Christian nonprofit organization founded in 1950, headquartered in Streamwood, Illinois. The mission of Awana is to help "reach kids, equip leaders and change the world for God." [1]


In 1941, the children's program at the North Side Gospel Center[2] in Chicago laid the foundation for the principles of Awana. Lance Latham, North Side's senior pastor, collaborated with the church's youth director, Art Rorheim, to develop weekly clubs that they believed would appeal to all children.

Other churches learned about the success of the program and inquired about its availability. In 1950, Latham and Rorheim founded Awana as a parachurch organization. By 1960, 900 churches had started Awana programs. By 1972, Awana began its first international club in Bolivia. Today, children and youth in 117 countries (Dec. 2016) participate in Awana programs and millions of adults are alumni.[3] Awana serves churches from many different denominations.

Awana claims to give children from every background and cultural setting a place to belong, build confidence and grow in Christian faith. Awana is also involved in prisons,[4] refugee camps, slums and other hard to reach places around the world.

Awana aims to reach 10 million children with its message by 2020.[5] Art Rorheim served as the CoFounder/President Emeritus.[6] Founder Art Rorheim passed away January 5, 2018 [7]

Non-profit status[edit]

Awana broadly encompasses the following tax-exempt entities:

  • Awana International;
  • Awana Clubs International;
  • Awana International Canada
  • Impact Life, and;
  • Canadian Adventure, Inc.

According to the 2006 Form 990 filed with the IRS by Awana Clubs International, ACI reported gross revenues of $45,595,800 --- significantly higher than the amounts reported for both 2004 ($41,464,006) and 2005 ($41,513,499) within the Awana "2004–2005 Financial Highlights" report,[8] but this gross revenue variation may be due to a timing difference with the actual start and end date of the ACI tax year or a transfer of funds between the various Awana EOs.[9]

At the close of 2007, Awana was named one of 30 "Shining Light Ministries" by, a financial watchdog group. The award is based on passing a number of stringent financial accounting and reporting standards.[10] Awana is also a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ About Awana
  2. ^ "History". The North Side Gospel Center. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Hey Alumni | Awana". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Awana Lifeline". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Global Outreach". AWANA. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Global Leadership Team, Awana". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  7. ^
  8. ^ (Awana) "2004–2005 Financial Highlights" Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ IRS 2005 Form 990 "Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax". This form also lists the compensation for Officers, Directors, Trustees, and Key Employees.
  10. ^ 30 of the Brightest Shining Light Ministries Archived September 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]