The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is the global humanitarian organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Through an international network, ADRA delivers relief and development assistance to individuals in more than 130 countries—regardless of their ethnicity, political affiliation, or religious association. By partnering with communities, organizations, and governments, ADRA is able to improve the quality of life of millions through 9 impact areas.
For more than 30 years, ADRA has remained committed to working with communities worldwide to improve their quality of life.
Established in 1956 by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, ADRA underwent two name changes before becoming the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in 1984. Originally called Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Service or SAWS, the agency became Seventh-day Adventist World Service in 1973.
While their name changed throughout the early years, their core principles remained. In 1958, SAWS reported disaster relief shipments to 22 countries with a total value of $485,000. Four years later, the number of countries increased to 29, totaling $2.3 million worth of supplies. During this period, countries in South America and the Middle East, sites of major disasters, were the recipients of immediate emergency relief.
By the mid-1970s, they began to broaden their mission from disaster relief to long-term development projects in vulnerable communities. From an initial international staff of approximately 600, their programs expanded to include: building health clinics in parts of Africa, assisting hurricane victims in Central America, teaching hygiene and health to children in Asia, and supporting women and girls through education.
In 1997, ADRA was granted General Consultative Status by the United Nations, the highest status given to nongovernmental organizations. This allowed them the opportunity to participate in the international community on a broader scale.
NEW DECADE, SAME MISSION
Today, ADRA is a leading humanitarian agency operating in more than 130 countries with a dedicated team of 6,000 staff and volunteers. While their offices are often miles and oceans apart, they work together as a unified whole, bringing positive transformation to a world in need.
Every day, they task themselves with finding new ways to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, and take in the stranger. As needs arise and challenges grow, they strive to realize their mission, reflecting God’s love through compassionate acts of humanitarian service.