Celebrate 40 years

of justice, compassion, and love

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. ADRA is the global humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that serves communities regardless of ethnicity, political party, or religious affiliation.  The international non-profit agency works with communities, organizations, and governments to enhance the lives of millions of people via sustainable community development and disaster relief.

“Our 40th anniversary is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our staff members and partners, who have worked relentlessly to provide healing and hope to people in need.  ADRA has made significant progress in its four decades of existence, nevertheless, more work remains.  As we commemorate this milestone, we also look forward to the future and the opportunities to continue making a remarkable difference in underprivileged communities,” says Michael Kruger, president of ADRA International. “ADRA is grateful for the support of donors, volunteers, partners, and the Adventist Church, which make it possible for us to positively impact the lives of the millions of people we serve. We remain committed to our mission of serving humanity so that all people may live as God intended.”

My ADRA My Story — Video Essays

Take a look at some amazing video stories about ADRA from around the world and throughout the last 40 years!

ADRA’s History

ADRA has a long heritage of humanitarian work that dates back over a century. Before the Seventh-day Adventist Church established ADRA in 1984, it had already been organizing relief activities since 1918, when it sent aid to regions devastated by World War I.

The increase in disasters and famine prompted the Adventist Church to establish the Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Service (SAWS) in 1956, which began supplying relief shipments to 22 nations by 1958.  Over the years, SAWS evolved from a welfare agency to a global role in long-term development initiatives, therefore it changed its name to the Seventh-day Adventist World Agency in 1973. As the need for international sustainable community development grew, SAWS was reorganized and renamed the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in 1984 to better reflect its overall mission and activities.

ADRA achieved General Consultative Status by the United Nations in 1997, the highest degree of nonprofit organization accreditation. This afforded ADRA the potential to serve even more marginalized populations around the world on a greater scale.

Today, ADRA is a global humanitarian agency with over 5,000 employees and 7,000 volunteers serving in over 120 countries. Apart from supporting communities in long-term humanitarian crises and conflicts, ADRA responds to an average of two disasters per week. Although our country offices are spread across different continents and thousands of miles apart, ADRA works as a unified body to provide innovative solutions to a world in need.

Use the « » icons above to browse through ADRA’s timeline, or scroll through and click on the pills to read more. Enjoy!

ADRA’s Impact

ADRA touches the lives of millions of people every day thanks to the compassion and generosity of its supporters and partners all over the world.  The international organization meets people where they are and remains post-crisis to help individuals rebuild and restore their lives. ADRA’s legacy of service over the previous four decades has left an imprint in global communities through programs in livelihood, health, education, and emergency preparedness and response.

ADRA plans to unveil a new strategic framework in the coming months to transform even more vulnerable communities in the future. The global faith-based organization is committed to empowering disadvantaged populations to recover from crises as quickly and efficiently by leveraging global talent, integrating cutting-edge systems and technology to extend resources, and creating more resilient programs.

ADRA’s Pillars

ADRA, which stands for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, is a humanitarian organization that works to alleviate poverty and suffering worldwide. The four pillars of ADRA are:

  1. Emergency Response (Emergency): ADRA responds to emergencies and disasters, providing life-saving assistance such as food, shelter, and medical care.

  2. Ending Poverty (Livelihoods): ADRA works to empower communities by promoting sustainable livelihoods, providing training and education, and supporting small business development.

  3. Healthier Communities (Health): ADRA supports healthcare programs, including nutrition and sanitation, to improve the health and well-being of communities.

  4. Empowering Education (Education): ADRA believes in the transformative power of education and works to provide access to quality education to marginalized communities, including children affected by conflict or natural disasters.

Emergency Response

When disaster strikes, those whose lives are the most at-risk are simply those who are furthest from help. Thanks to ADRA’s global network of partners, the ability to reach areas in crisis as quickly as possible saves more lives than ever before. In fact, more than 10 TIMES the amount of lives are saved today because of global networks like ADRA’s over the past century. 

ADRA’s global network of country offices takes immediate action nearest to a disaster and deploys appropriate relief supplies to quickly reach areas hardest hit.


10% of the world lives on less than $1.90 a day. Some of the biggest tools to fight poverty come from the simplest solutions—training, loans, seeds, animals, and access to a marketplace. And the biggest solution to fighting poverty? Empowering women to enter a marketplace previously closed to them! 


ADRA helps individuals break their family’s cycle of poverty by providing the training, loans, seeds, animals, and more, they need to provide dependable income, self-reliance, and even safety, to them and their children.


When communities don’t have enough food, when they depend on unsafe water sources, when they don’t have access to reliable health support, every life suffers.


ADRA provides sustainable ways that improve access to nutrition, clean water, health, and more resources which truly makes the difference between life and death for men, women, and children around the world every day.


1 in 5 children worldwide is not in school. Children with disabilities and children in crisis — especially girls, face the most hurdles to gaining an education and suffer the sharpest consequences when they miss out. 


ADRA helps children access primary education and provides school supplies, uniforms, and other necessary resources that actually safeguard against violence, abuse, exploitation, and even reduce vulnerability to natural disasters.

Before you go!

Donate Today to Make Double the Difference

$1=$2 MATCH

If You Must Go, be the first to know

Before you leave, make sure you stay informed! Enter your email address to get worldwide news from ADRA.