Since 1979, Mercy Corps has dedicated itself to helping people facing the toughest challenges survive and move toward a stronger, more resilient future.
1979: The organization is founded as Save the Refugees Fund, a task force organized by Dan O’Neill in response to Cambodian refugees fleeing famine, war and genocide. The fledgling organization raises $1 million to provide lifesaving aid to hundreds of thousands of people in Cambodia.
1980: Dan O’Neill meets Ellsworth (“Ells”) Culver. The two men immediately strike up a friendship and find they share a commitment to providing more innovative, sustainable aid and development to fragile communities.
1982: Culver and O’Neill incorporate as Mercy Corps International in Seattle, Washington, and begin focusing on long-term solutions to hunger and poverty. The agency’s first development project is launched in Honduras.
1984: Mercy Corps shortens its name and establishes it headquarters in Portland, Oregon.
1985: Mercy Corps begins work in Sudan, with projects to improve food security and accelerate development.
1986: Mercy Corps launches programs in Afghanistan, assisting 2.5 million people with agriculture and development projects.
1988: Mercy Corps distributes $7 million in supplies, including seeds to people in Ethiopia and medicine to people in Afghanistan.
1989: Mercy Corps begins loan programs that will grow to eventually lend more than $1.5 billion to help people build small businesses and support their families.
1990: Mercy Corps provides medical supplies and relief to refugees in Jordan.
1991: Mercy Corps works with Scottish European Aid to provide medicine, supplies and services to Bosnians during the Balkans wars.
1993: Mercy Corps uses a $3 million grant to assist 175,000 people in war-torn Kosovo.
1994: Neal Keny-Guyer joins Mercy Corps as chief executive officer, placing human rights, civil society and social entrepreneurship at the forefront of Mercy Corps’ humanitarian mission.
1995: Mercy Corps distributes $20 million in supplies to people in need in Bosnia and Kosovo.
1996: Mercy Corps merges with Scottish European Aid to launch its European operations and opens its European headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland.
1997: Mercy Corps provides clothing and bedding to thousands of people in Azerbaijan who lost their homes during war with Armenia.
1998: Mercy Corps provides $3 million in assistance after Hurricane Mitch strikes Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mercy Corps also establishes Mercy Corps Northwest, its first initiative in the U.S., to help low-income populations in Oregon and Washington with small-business development and self-employment.
and more years…