10 Facts about Latter-day Saint Charities

Latter-day Saint Charities has been the official humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1985. Here are some facts you may not have known about the operation of the organization.

28 August 2020, Latter-day Saint Charities Blog Writer

1. Our Origins

Latter-day Saint Charities was originally formed in 1985 to respond to the devastating famine in Ethiopia that year. Two worldwide fasts were held, raising over $11 million for the relief effort. (You can read more about the origin of Latter-day Saint Charities here or watch it here.)

2. The Mission

Latter-day Saint Charities was created as an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit and became the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its mission is to offer relief, foster self-reliance, and provide opportunities for service.

3. Our Name

Humanitarian Services was the original name of Latter-day Saint Charities. Any relief efforts the Church provides can be considered the work of Latter-day Saint Charities.

© UNHCR/Firas Al-Khateeb

4. Funding

Funding for Latter-day Saint Charities comes primarily from the Humanitarian Aid Fund of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as philanthropic donors to the organization. Latter-day Saints typically donate through their local congregations. The funds are used to support domestic and global relief efforts that align with Latter-day Saint Charities’ major initiatives.

5. Worldwide Fasts

In addition to donations through the Humanitarian Aid Fund, to date there have been five worldwide fasts. The offerings received in conjunction with these fasts have significantly contributed to Latter-day Saint Charities’ efforts. Two of the fasts were for relief for the Ethiopian famine in 1985, and another fast was held for the Southeast Asia tsunami in 2005.

6. Major Initiatives

Latter-day Saint Charities currently consists of nine initiatives: food security, clean water, community projects, emergency response, immunizations, maternal and newborn care, refugee and immigrant services, vision care, and wheelchairs. Each initiative is led by project managers with experience specific to their field. Within these initiatives, most Latter-day Saint Charities projects are carried out by trusted partners as well as welfare and self-reliance missionaries.

© UNHCR/Antwan Chnkdji

7. Partners

Latter-day Saint Charities works in partnership, domestically and globally, with over 40 experienced nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). In addition, Latter-day Saint Charities works with thousands of other community organizations and governments to expand its reach and amplify its impact throughout the world. Trusted partners help provide the infrastructure and hands-on support in the community or country of need to align with Latter-day Saint Charities’ core values.

8. Volunteers

In addition to these trusted partners, welfare and self-reliance missionaries also act as hands-on support for Latter-day Saint Charities projects. They live in countries around the world and help create and supervise local projects. Currently, Latter-day Saint Charities has ongoing projects in 197 countries.

9. Community Service

JustServe is the volunteerism arm of Latter-day Saint Charities. On JustServe.org, you can sign up for service opportunities in your community. You can also create your own service project and enlist the help of others on this new platform.

10. A Welfare Heart

Latter-day Saint Charities is a part of the Church’s welfare and self-reliance efforts, which also include Church farms and production facilities as well as bishops’ storehouses. Through the Humanitarian Aid Fund, Latter-day Saint Charities provides help to individuals in need regardless of race, beliefs, or nationality. And through the fast offerings that Church members give each month, local Church members in need can receive assistance from their congregations or from bishops’ storehouses. Both programs are based on the principles of self-reliance.