Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

The Oklahoma Connection: World Neighbors Organization a Success Story

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

The Oklahoma Connection: World Neighbors Organization a Success Story

Article excerpt

Since its beginning in 1951, World Neighbors has been an Oklahoma success story.

The organization was launched after a sermon by John Peters, who was a witness to constant hunger, poverty and disease while serving in Asia with the U.S. Army during World War II.

I promised God, 'If I get out of here alive, I'm going to do something, somehow, somewhere, he later said about his experience in World War II.

Oklahoma City was his somewhere.

While preaching at St. Luke's United Methodist Church on April 22, 1951, Peters challenged the Oklahoma City congregation to create a program that would answer the needs of the disinherited, the exploited, the poverty-stricken of soul and body around the world, according to the history of World Neighbors provided by the agency.

The congregation provided financial support, and World Neighbors was incorporated as a nonprofit. The first board of directors voted to focus on long-term development rather than short-term relief, a policy that continues today.

World Neighbors established its first program in India. Programs later were offered in more than 50 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. World Neighbors estimates its programs have now served more than 25 million people.

World Neighbors is an Oklahoma success story, said Melanie Macdonald, president and CEO. When I travel, the agencies know World Neighbors. A lot of the work has been done in Oklahoma City.

At its headquarters at 4127 NW 122nd St. in Oklahoma City, World Neighbors has about 25 employees. The 20 members of the board of directors include six Oklahoma residents and other board members have Oklahoma ties.

The Oklahoma connection continues to expand.

The co-founder of an organization created to improve the lives of marginalized people in Ramechhap, Nepal, will receive the 2006 Reflections of Hope Award presented by the Oklahoma City National Memorial. …

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