About Our History

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World Vision began in China with an American missionary named Dr. Bob Pierce.

Dr. Bob Pierce with the Korean Orphan Children's Choir

In 1947 Pierce met Tena Hoelkedoer, a teacher, while on a trip to China. She introduced him to a battered and abandoned child named White Jade. Unable to care for the child herself, she asked Pierce, "What are you going to do about her?" Pierce gave the woman his last five dollars and agreed to send the same amount each month to help the woman care for White Jade.

Child Sponsorship

This encounter was a turning point for Pierce. He began building an organization dedicated to helping the world's children and World Vision was born. The first child sponsorship program began a few years later in response to the needs of hundreds of thousands of orphans at the end of the Korean War.

Through the decades, World Vision has become a leader in the field of relief and development. More than 40,000 staff members worldwide help us serve more than 100 million people in nearly 100 countries. We work with communities to implement programs in emergency relief, education, health care, economic development and promotion of justice. World Vision is a living tribute to Pierce's work.

World Vision Canada

Canada has been part of the World Vision family since the early days. In 1950, Pierce held the first meetings in Canada to discuss what he had seen and learned in Asia. In 1957, Canada's first World Vision office opened in Toronto. Today the national headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario—overseen by president Michael Messenger—is one of World Vision’s busiest offices.

World Vision is Canada's largest private relief and development agency. Today Canadians sponsor over half a million children around the world. Child sponsorship helps fund World Vision Canada’s international long-term development projects. World Vision Canada has a long history of partnering with Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and other government bodies in overseas development and in addressing global issues, such as child rights, hunger and health.​




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