Heifer International
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About Heifer International

It's not just a handout; it's a new way of life. Heifer Project International (known as Heifer International) runs more than 925 projects that help millions of impoverished families become self-sufficient. Current recipients are located in more than 50 countries around the world, including about 28 US states. The non-profit organization provides more – more...  than 25 different kinds of breeding livestock and other animals (bees, rabbits, ducks) that can be used for food, income, or plowing power, in addition to training in sustainable agriculture techniques. In exchange, the family agrees to pass on not only the animals' first female offspring to another needy family, but their knowledge, too.

The international development and education group draws support from individuals, businesses and organizations, and congregations: individual contributions account for more than two-thirds of its total revenue.

Despite a $42 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (the largest single grant in the group's history) in 2008, Heifer International saw a decline in donations that year as well as in 2009. As a result, the organization initiated cost-cutting measures and in mid-2009 laid off 20% of its staff in the US and abroad. Heifer International cited declining donations as a result of the deep recession in the US as the reason for the layoffs.

Following the streamlining efforts, the group named Pierre Ferrari as CEO in late 2010. Ferrari has more than 40 years' experience in the corporate world and with social organizations, serving Coca-Cola USA, CARE, and the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund. Ferrari succeeded president and CEO Jo Luck, who stepped down earlier that year to write her memoir. (Former Heifer International chairman Charles Stewart served as interim CEO before Ferrari was chosen.)

Heifer International was established in 1944 by Dan West who had worked helping feed the hungry during the Spanish Civil War.
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What We Do

The core of our model is Passing on the Gift. This means families share the training they receive, and pass on the first female offspring of their livestock to another family. This extends the impact of the original gift, allowing a once impoverished family to become donors and full participants in improving their communities.

The goal of every Heifer project is to help families achieve self-reliance. We do this by providing them the tools they need to sustain themselves, and we couldn't do it without a team of individuals as committed as our participants.

Our Shared Vision

Although we walk separate roads and often speak different languages, we share one vision—"a world of communities living together in peace and equitably sharing the resources of a healthy planet."

This vision is realized by staff, volunteers and project partners who are diligently focused on providing education and tools to people all over the world who seek sustainable solutions to end hunger and poverty. The ripple effect continues as our farmers adopt Heifer's vision and join in the mission by assisting their neighbors through Passing on the Gift® practices and a commitment to our Cornerstones.