World Vision International

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from World Vision)

World Vision International
FounderRev. Bob Pierce[1]
TypeReligious nonprofit organization[2][3]
Legal status501(c)(3)[4]
FocusWell-being of all people, especially children.
    • Monrovia, California, U.S. (administrative center, World Vision International board)
    • London, U.K. (executive office and international headquarters)
Area served
100 countries
MethodTransformational Development through emergency relief, community development and policy and advocacy
President, Chief Executive Officer
Andrew Morley[5]
Board Chair, Australia
Donna Shepherd[5]
Board Chair, Colombia
Maria Consuelo Campos[5]
Board Chair, Mali
Soriba Joseph Camara[5]
US$2.9 billion (2019)[6]
35,000 employees
Formerly called
World Vision Inc.

World Vision International is an ecumentical[7][8] Christian humanitarian aid, development, and advocacy organization. It was founded in 1950 by Robert Pierce as a service organization, with the intent to meet the emergency needs of missionaries.[9] In 1975, development work was added to World Vision's objectives.[9] It is active in more than 100 countries with a total revenue including grants, product and had foreign donations of USD 2.90 billion in 2019.


The charity was co-founded in 1950 as World Vision Inc. by Robert Pierce, Kyung-Chik Han and Frank Phillips.[7] It was founded after Pierce was invited to Korea by Han to speak at Young Nak Church, followed by another speech in Seoul. After the breakout of the Korean War weeks later, Pierce and Han continued to collaborate on relief efforts in the region.[7] The first World Vision office opened later that year in Portland, Oregon,[10][11] with a second office following in 1954 in Korea.[12] During the early years, the charity operated as a missionary service organization meeting emergency needs in crisis areas in East Asia. World Vision operated as a missionary service organisation meeting emergency needs of children in crisis areas in East Asia following the Korean War.[7]

In 1967, the Mission Advanced Research and Communication Center (MARC) was founded by Ed Dayton as a division of World Vision. It became the organizational backbone of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, collected and published data about "unreached people" and also published the "Mission Handbook: North American Protestant Ministries Overseas".[13]

During the 1970s, World Vision began training families in the agricultural skills necessary to build small farms, with the aim of promoting long term improvement and self-reliance in the communities.[14] The organization also began installing water pumps for clean water, which caused infant mortality rates to drop. Volunteers now use the fresh water to teach gardening and irrigation and promote good health.[14]

World Vision International was founded in 1977 by Walter Stanley Mooneyham, the then president of World Vision, as the international coordinating body for the charity group.[15][16] In 1979, World Vision also co-founded the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.[17]

During the 1990s, World Vision International began focusing on the needs of children who had been orphaned in Uganda, Romania, and Somalia in response to AIDS, neglect, and civil war, respectively. World Vision began working with communities, health providers, faith-based organisations and people living with HIV and AIDS to encourage an end to stigmatisation, better understanding of HIV prevention and community care for those living with AIDS, and orphans left behind by the pandemic. They also joined the United Nations peacekeeping efforts to help those affected by civil war. World Vision also started to openly promote the international ban on land mines.[14] In 1994 World Vision US moved to Washington State.[18]

According to Forbes magazine, as of December 2014, World Vision is the 11th largest charity in the United States with total revenue of over 981 million dollars.[19] In 2022, it worked in 100 countries and had 37,000 employees.[20]

Organizational structure[edit]

World Vision Partnership now operates as a federation of interdependent national offices governed by the same agreement but with three different levels of central control.

  1. National Offices - under strong central control by World Vision International, registered in the host country as a branch of the main organization.
  2. Intermediate Stage National Offices with a separate board of directors
  3. Interdependently National Registered Offices - autonomous in internal decision but expected to coordinate with World Vision International and bound to the Covenant of Partnership.[21]

The Covenant of Partnership is a document that all national members of the World Vision Partnership have to sign. According to this document all national offices have to accept policies and decisions established by the International Board and must not establish an office or program outside their own national borders without the consent of World Vision International and the host country. Except for direct project founding, all funds intended for outside their national borders have to be remitted through World Vision International. The financial planning and budget principles adopted by the International Board have to be accepted as well as an examination of the financial affairs of the national offices by Partnership representatives.[22]

An international board of directors oversees the World Vision partnership. The full board meets twice a year to appoint senior officers, approve strategic plans and budgets, and determine international policy. The current chairperson of the international board is Donna Shepherd.[23] The international president is Andrew Morley.[24][25]


World Vision's staff comes from a range of Christian denominations. Its staff includes followers of Protestantism, Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Around the world its staff includes followers of different religions or none.[26] Its staff participates in daily and weekly services. They stress that one can be a Christian in any culture. However, World Vision also respects other religions that it encounters, stating that "to promote a secular approach to life would be an insult to them".[27] Richard Stearns, president of World Vision US, stated that World Vision has a strict policy against proselytizing, which he describes as "using any kind of coercion or inducement to listen to a religious message before helping someone".[28]

The World Vision Partnership and all of its national members are committed to the concept of transformational development,[29] which is cast in a biblical framework and in which evangelization is an integral part of development work.[30]


WV relief effort in disaster affected areas

Activities include: emergency relief, education, health care, economic development, and promotion of justice.[31] The organization has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and partnerships with UN agencies like UNICEF, WHO, UNHCR and ILO, and financial records reveal that it has funded evangelical activities all over the world.[32]

It also addresses factors that perpetuate poverty by what it describes as promoting justice. It supports community awareness of the collective ability to address unjust practices and begin working for change. It claims to speak out on issues such as child labor, debt relief for poor nations,[33] and the use of children as combatants in armed conflict. World Vision International has endorsed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It claims to foster opportunities to help reduce conflict levels and to contribute to the peaceful resolution of hostilities and reconciliation of disputes.[34]

World Vision encourages public awareness about the needs of others, the causes of poverty, and the nature of compassionate response.[35] These efforts include collaboration with media and community participation in fundraising.[36] In areas of the world that are considered too dangerous for news organizations to send their crews, World Vision's own videographers supply newscasters with footage of events from these areas.[37] In its communications, the organization claims to uphold the dignity of children and families in presenting explanations of the causes and consequences of poverty, neglect, abuse and war.[38]

In 2015, World Vision took part in operations to bring earthquake relief to Nepal.[39] It was also involved in running a child sponsorship program bringing aid to needy children in the wake of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.[40][failed verification]


After his resignation from the post of president, its founder Robert Pierce criticized the organization for its professionalization at the expense of its evangelical faith and founded Samaritan's Purse in 1970.[41]

Accusations of misrepresentation[edit]

Some donors to World Vision's Sponsor a Child-type fundraising have reported feeling misled by the group's use of such funding for community rather than individual-specific projects.[42] In a 2008 report on famine in Ethiopia, reporter Andrew Geoghegan, from Australian TV programme Foreign Correspondent, visited his 14-year-old sponsor child. The girl has "been part of a World Vision program all her life" yet says (in translated subtitle) "Until recently, I didn't know I had a sponsor." And when asked about her knowledge of World Vision sponsorship says, "Last time they gave me this jacket and a pen." Geoghegan was disconcerted to find that despite being "told by World Vision that [the girl] was learning English at school, and was improving ... she speaks no English at all".[43]

In response, World Vision stated that "it unapologetically takes a community-based approach to development", in which the money is not directly provided to the family of the sponsored child.[44] The organization argued that the "direct benefit" approach would result in jealousy among other community members without children and would not work.[44] Foreign Correspondent replied to World Vision concerning child sponsorship, showing contradictions between the organization's literature that creates the impression that donated money goes directly to the sponsor child and evidence of cases where supposedly sponsored children received little if any benefit.[45]

Same-sex marriage ban[edit]

On March 24, 2014, the United States branch of World Vision announced that it would no longer ban employees from being in same-sex marriages.[46] Facing protests from donors and the larger evangelical community after the announcement, World Vision reversed the policy change two days later.[47][48]


World Vision has been criticized for evangelism in India, with the political weekly Tehelka citing World Vision India's involvement with AD2000.[49] Valerie Tarico, a commentator on religious and social topics, points out that World Vision defines proselytism as "Proselytism takes place whenever assistance is offered on condition that people must listen or respond to a message or as an inducement to leave one and join another part of the Christian church." which does not in general exclude evangelism. Furthermore, she mentions the phrase "serving as a witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ" as part of World Vision's description of its mission and identifies the word "witness" as an evangelical code word for seeking converts.[50]

Israel and Palestine[edit]

In 1982, after World Vision publicly criticized Israel's actions in Palestinian refugee camps near Sidon and Tyre, it came under attack from conservative evangelicals and the government of Israel. In spite of this pressure, World Vision president Mooneyham presented to the eight hundred thousand readers of World Vision Magazine a report "showing 255 bodies and ankle-deep body fluids left in a school basement by an Israeli bomb."[51] In the September 1982 issue of World Vision Magazine President Stanley Mooneyham was quoted describing Israeli actions with the behavior of Hitler's army, "reminiscent of Warsaw".[52] In the same month Mooneyham was forced to resign when, according to former World Vision employee Ken Waters, his leadership style was criticized; he was replaced as President by Ted Engstrom.[53]

In February 2012, based on information provided by the Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center, World Vision Australia allegedly provided "financial aid to a Gaza-based terrorist group", the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), which they also alleged is a "front for terror group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine". WV had "suspended its dealings" with UAWC until the outcome of the investigation.[54][55] WV resumed working with UAWC after AusAID and World Vision found the allegations were unfounded.[56] The Israel Law Center considers World Vision's response to be a whitewash and maintains that the allegations have not been refuted.[57]

On June 15, 2016, Mohammad El Halabi, manager of World Vision in Gaza, was arrested at the Erez border crossing and charged by Israeli prosecutors with channeling its funds directly to Hamas, a listed terror organization.[58] A senior official with Shin Bet, Israel's internal security agency, stated that Halabi was recruited by the military wing of Hamas in 2004 and instructed to penetrate World Vision.[58][59][60] According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Halabi is accused of transferring cash to Hamas to help it in digging military tunnels and purchasing weapons.[60] Muhammad Mahmoud, Halabi's lawyer, told Haaretz that his client has nothing to do with Hamas and that the fact that the investigation had lasted 55 days proves that there is a problem with evidence.[60] Israel's Shin Bet intelligence agency claims that about $48 million of World Vision resources were funneled to Hamas in just six years and another $80,000 was used for building a Hamas position in Beit Hanon and for paying salaries of Hamas members who fought against Israel in the 2014 war. World Vision confirmed that its funds are spent in accordance with legal requirements that contribute to peace and that the charity works closely with the UN and Red Cross.[61] The charity initially defended Halabi as a "humanitarian".[62]

In August 2016, Israeli officials claimed that the World Vision organization was providing the military wing of Hamas with tens of millions of dollars in Gaza. World Vision has denounced these allegations which come amid Israeli campaigns against the non-governmental organizations that worked with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.[63][64]

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade immediately suspended all funding of Palestinian programs by World Vision.[65] World Vision Australia chief executive, Tim Costello, accepted this move as being the correct thing to do pending a proper investigation of the allegations.[66][67] A review of the Australian government came to the conclusion that no Australian taxpayer money was diverted to Hamas.[68]

Notable affiliated persons[edit]


  1. ^ a b Balmer, Randall (2002). "World Vision International". The Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism. Berkeley: Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 0-664-22409-1.
  2. ^ see entry "World Vision International" in California Secretary of State Business Database Archived March 15, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Group exempt letters from IRS to World Vision International and World Vision, Inc. Feb. 13, 2009, (accessed on Aug. 11, 2011)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 30, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "World Vision International Inc. Archived July 15, 2020, at the Wayback Machine" Tax Exempt Organization Search. Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d "Our Leadership Archived June 27, 2020, at the Wayback Machine". World Vision International. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  6. ^ "World Vision 2019 Partnership Update" (PDF).
  7. ^ a b c d Swartz, David R. (March 16, 2020). "World Vision's Forgotten Founder". Christianity Today.
  8. ^ "Time to review law for foreign funding of NGOs". The Sunday Guardian. June 22, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Hamilton, John Robert (1980). An Historical Study of Bob Pierce and World Vision's Development of the Evangelical Social Action Film (Dissertation). University of Southern California.
  10. ^ Brian Steensland, Philip Goff, The New Evangelical Social Engagement, Oxford University Press USA, USA, 2014, p. 243
  11. ^ Hamilton, John Robert (1980). An Historical Study of Bob Pierce and World Vision's Development of the Evangelical Social Action Film (Dissertation). University of Southern California.
  12. ^ Graeme Irvine: "Best Things in the Worst Times: An Insiders View of World Vision" BookPartners, Inc. (1996) p. 77 ISBN 1-885221-37-1
  13. ^ S.W. Haas: "MARC to Make Transition, Retain Its Mission" MARC Newsletter 03-4, World Vision Publications, Nov. 2003
  14. ^ a b c World Vision History Archived March 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved April 26, 2011
  15. ^ "World Vision International : Company Content Page". Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  16. ^ [1] Archived February 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Timothy J. Demy Ph.D., Paul R. Shockley Ph.D., Evangelical America: An Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Religious Culture, ABC-CLIO, USA, 2017, p. 135
  18. ^ "MONROVIA : World Vision Picks Seattle as Relocation Site". Los Angeles Times. June 30, 1994.
  19. ^ "World Vision on the Forbes The 50 Largest U.S. Charities List". Forbes.
  20. ^ WVI, All Locations Archived June 26, 2020, at the Wayback Machine,, USA, retrieved November 5, 2022
  21. ^ Karen Foreman: Evolving Global Structures and the Challenges Facing International Relief and Development Organizations. In: Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 28/4 (1999), p. 178–197
  22. ^ Appendix D, "A Covenant of Partnership" in Graeme Irvine: "Best Things in the Worst Times: An Insiders View of World Vision" BookPartners, Inc. (1996) ISBN 1-885221-37-1
  23. ^ "Board of Directors". December 7, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  24. ^ "World Vision International announces new President and CEO". Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  25. ^ "Andrew J Morley President & CEO, World Vision International". February 19, 2019. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  26. ^ Michael Barnett, Janice Gross Stein, Sacred Aid: Faith and Humanitarianism, Oxford University Press, UK, 2012, p. 46
  27. ^ Tripp, Linda. "Gender and development from a Christian perspective: Experience from World Vision." Gender and Development 7.1 (1999): 62–64. Print.
  28. ^ Stearns, Richard. "World Vision CEO Richard Stearns Charts Course, Spirit For Nonprofit Sector ." Huffington Post March 3, 2011: 1–2. Print.
  29. ^ "World Vision Mission Statement." In: Graeme Irvine: "Best Things in the Worst Times: An Insiders View of World Vision", BookPartners, Inc. (1996) ISBN 1-885221-37-1, Appendix C.
  30. ^ see e.g. Bryant L. Myer: "Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practice of Transformational Development" ISBN 1-57075-275-3 (1999)
  31. ^ Bornstein, Erica (2001). "Child Sponsorship, Evangelism, and Belonging in the Work of World Vision Zimbabwe". American Ethnologist. 28 (3): 595–622. doi:10.1525/ae.2001.28.3.595.
  32. ^ "The People's Paper". Tehelka. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  33. ^ – Amnesty International News – Apr 2, 2009 Archived December 26, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, G20 leaders urged to protect the poor, April 2, 2009
  34. ^ Amnesty International News – Oct 14, 2005 Archived August 25, 2014, at the Wayback Machine – Uganda: Former child soldiers excluded in adulthood, October 14, 2005, independent journalist Euan Denholm
  35. ^ Advocacy action center Archived July 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, World Vision. Retrieved July 21, 2009
  36. ^ – Amnesty International Press Center Archived November 22, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, Document of Public Statement Issued by CEOs of INGOs on the impact of the global economic downturn – October 2008, Authors: Irene Khan, Secretary General, Amnesty International, Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director, Oxfam International, Dr. Dean Hirsch, Chief Executive Officer, World Vision International, Tom Miller, Chief Executive Officer, PLAN International, Gerd Leipold, International Executive Director, Greenpeace, Dr Robert Glasser, Secretary General, CARE International
  37. ^ Shortal, Helen (April 1, 2001), "Showing the Way", AV Video Multimedia Producer, pp. 67–69
  38. ^ World Vision News Archived May 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine – World Vision Houses 70,000 in Somalia In War Torn Area
  39. ^ "Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid orders aid flight to Nepal - The National". April 28, 2015.
  40. ^ Staff, Jonathan Phelps Daily News. "$67K offering will go to fight Ebola outbreak".
  41. ^ David P. King, God's Internationalists: World Vision and the Age of Evangelical Humanitarianism, University of Pennsylvania Press, USA, 2019, p. 159-160
  42. ^ Diaa Hadid (August 3, 2016). "A World Vision Donor Sponsored a Boy. The Outcome Was a Mystery to Both". The New York Times. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  43. ^ Geoghegan, Andrew Archived February 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine "Ethiopia – The Endless Famine Archived September 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine", Foreign Correspondent, November 25, 2008, series 18, episode 22, 2008 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  44. ^ a b Costello, Tim (2008). "World Vision response to Foreign Correspondent story from Ethiopia broadcast on 25 November 2008". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on December 8, 2008.
  45. ^ ABC Material's Foreign Correspondent, Foreign Correspondent story from Ethiopia broadcast Archived October 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, broadcast on November 25, 2008, Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  46. ^ "Is This the Future of Same-Sex Marriage for Evangelicals?". Aleteia. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  47. ^ "World Vision reverses decision to hire Christians in same-sex marriages". Fox News Channel. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  48. ^ "World Vision Reverses Decision to Hire Christians in Same-Sex Marriages". Christianity Today. March 26, 2014. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
  49. ^ "VK Shashikumar '"Preparing for the harvest ..."' Tehelka, Vol 1, Issue 1, Feb 07, 2004". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  50. ^ Author, Valerie Tarico; Doubt', 'Trusting; 'Deas; Founder, Other Imaginings'; (December 3, 2009). "Many Don't Know of World Vision's Evangelical Mission". HuffPost. {{cite web}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  51. ^ David Stoll, Is Latin America Turning Protestant? The Politics of Evangelical Growth, University of California Press, Oxford 1990, p. 285. ISBN 0-520-07645-1.
  52. ^ Moon, Luke (December 2016). "World Vision's Decades-Long Hate Campaign Against Israel". The Tower Magazine. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  53. ^ Ken Waters: "How World Vision Rose From Obscurity To Prominence: Television Fundraising 1972-1982" American Journalism, 15, Nr. 4, 69-93 (1998)
  54. ^ "Australian groups accused of aiding PFLP-linked group". The Jerusalem Post |
  55. ^ "Chip Le Grand: "World Vision to investigate terror link" The Australian, Feb.18, 2012".
  56. ^ "Chip Le Grand: "Vision back as AusAID dismisses 'terror' link" The Australian, March 2, 2012".
  57. ^ "World Vision: Shurat HaDin responds". May 23, 2013. Archived from the original on June 27, 2013. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  58. ^ a b Kershner, Isabel (August 4, 2016). "Israel Charges Palestinian Employee of Aid Group With Funneling Funds to Hamas". The New York Times. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  59. ^ "Israel: World Vision Gaza boss diverted cash to Hamas". BBC. August 4, 2016. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  60. ^ a b c "Top Official in Christian Aid Group Charged With Funnelling Funds to Hamas". Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  61. ^ "Christian charity rejects Israeli claim funds went to Hamas". The Electronic Intifada. August 4, 2016. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  62. ^ "Israel accuses World Vision's Gaza director of diverting cash to Hamas". Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  63. ^ "Update: Statement by World Vision International CEO in wake of staff arrest". Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  64. ^ "Statement by World Vision International CEO; Gaza staff member pleads not guilty - occupied Palestinian territory | ReliefWeb".
  65. ^ Karp, Paul (August 4, 2016). "Australia suspends World Vision's Palestine aid after allegations funds were diverted". The Guardian. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  66. ^ "World Vision manager accused by Israel of diverting money to Hamas". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. August 4, 2016.
  67. ^ "World Vision aid cut over Hamas rort".
  68. ^ France-Presse, Agence (March 21, 2017). "Inquiry clears World Vision Gaza of diverting funds to Hamas". The Guardian. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  69. ^ "An interview with Hugh Jackman, World Vision ambassador".
  70. ^ Alej, Edgar; Hilbert, ro (February 18, 2013). "Kris Allen comes to Sacramento". Sacramento Press. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  71. ^ " - Page Not Found". Archived from the original on March 24, 2016 – via {{cite web}}: Cite uses generic title (help)
  72. ^ "Who is Meghan Markle? Profile of the actress, humanitarian and campaigner engaged to Prince Harry". The Independent. November 27, 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  73. ^ "Liam Cunningham | World Vision Ireland". Retrieved April 16, 2019.

External links[edit]