New Research Shows Substantial Impact on Participants in Compassion Programs

New study shines light on ripple effect of Compassion church partnerships in the Dominican Republic

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — Surrounding International Children’s Day in June, Compassion International, a leading child development organization, announced the release of a new study showing the positive impacts on alumni who have participated in Compassion programs in partnership with local churches.

New study showing the positive impacts on alumni who have participated in Compassion programs in partnership with local churches.
Some of the data from the Compassion International 100 and 1 Alumni study.

The pilot research project titled “100 and 1 Alumni: Long-Term Impact and Ripple Effect,” was conducted to gain insights on the long-term effects of Compassion’s programming. The self-reported research focused on 99 alumni in the Dominican Republic who participated in a Compassion sponsored program with local church partners at some point during their childhood/young adulthood.

International Children’s Day is celebrated in many countries each year on June 1. In the United States, Children’s Day is typically celebrated on the second Sunday in June. The tradition dates back to 1856 when the Reverend Dr. Charles Leonard, pastor of the Universalist Church of the Redeemer in Chelsea, Massachusetts, held a special service focused on children.

Through its child development program and in partnership with local churches, Compassion provides support to more than 2 million children in 29 countries.

According to Amy Pennar, Ph.D., a child development expert, Compassion behavioral scientist and Principal Research Analyst for the study, the purpose of the research is to assess the longer term, broader difference intervention makes in the life of a program participant, their family and/or community.

“The findings of this study illustrate the powerful impact the local church and a sponsor can have on a child in poverty,” she said. “We are excited to have research that shows the significance of Compassion’s program interventions, especially in the areas of social, educational, and economic impact on children living in the Dominican Republic.”

Participants in the study averaged 30 years of age and participated in a Compassion program for an average of 12.72 years.

Key findings attributed to participation in Compassion’s program as a child include:

Individual Impact:
(Surveyed individuals who participated in Compassion’s program as children said the impact of the program has lasted into adulthood)

  • Released from poverty — 97% said they were released from poverty.
  • Hope — 95% of participants reported participation in the program resulted in feeling hope as an adult.
  • Education — 95% reported having achieved their educational goals.
  • Self-confidence — 95% of participants said the Compassion Center helped them have self-confidence in their adult life.
  • Changed life – 93% said the Compassion center changed their lives.

Ripple Effects:
(Participants also noted a ripple effect as a result of their participation)

  • Better life for their children – 92% said participation helped them provide a better life for their children.
  • Volunteering in Community — 90% said they serve in their community.
  • Breaking the cycle of poverty in their family – 79% said participation helped them break the cycle of poverty in their family.

Compassion Dominican Republic National Director Tony Beltran, himself a program alumnus, echoes the findings on the significance of the ministry’s work with local churches in the lives of children. According to Beltran, more than 70,000 children throughout the country are impacted by Compassion’s partnership with more than 230 participating churches.

“Just seeing that many lives, that much potential being developed by the day-by-day work of normal people is why I love Compassion,” he proclaimed.

And for Beltran, the impact is personal.

“When I was a child, I didn’t even think about a future. It was at the Compassion child development center that they helped me to dream,” he recalled.

Compassion does all its work through partnerships with thousands of local churches worldwide. The ministry firmly believes local churches are best suited to address the needs of children and families in their communities and act as catalysts for community change because they are already located and invested in the communities they serve. Because of their unique role, local churches can create an environment of unparalleled stability where children’s lives are transformed by tangible expressions of God’s love.

According to Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado, president and CEO of Compassion International, the results powerfully illustrate the extensive impact and transformation that Compassion programs in partnership with local churches can make in the lives of children living in poverty all while providing a key ingredient – hope.

“Most people think about poverty in terms of the lack of necessities such as food, clean water, shelter, healthcare, and opportunities for advancement. While that is all true, another key factor of poverty is the lack of hope,” he said. “There are countless stories like those reflected in this research that show the power of hope and how it can be nurtured and grown,” he continued.

In fact, Mellado believes that everything changes when a child finds hope. “Their God-birthed potential shines through in ways none of us could imagine,” he said. “We’re pleased to play a small role in partnership with local churches in the Dominican Republic and many other countries around the world to positively impact the lives of children living in poverty,” he added.

To read more about the study click here.

About Compassion International

Compassion International is a Christian child development organization working to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Founded in 1952, Compassion partners with more than 8,500 local churches in 29 program countries to deliver spiritual, economic, social, and physical care to over two million babies, children, and young adults in poverty. Ranked No. 12 in Forbes’ America’s Top Charities List in 2022, Compassion is a founding member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and an accredited charity with the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT: Larry Lincoln, 719-424-6461,

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