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Our Founder

The roots of WHI can be traced back to the vision and heart of our dynamic founder, Jo Anne Lyon. From a humble start in 1996, God has blessed Jo Anne’s journey to serve those crippled by poverty. Her hope:

To empower the poorest of the poor around the world so they can become agents of change within their communities.

What began in the back bedroom of her home, grew into a leading-edge Christian relief and development organization, recognized by partners and governments alike as a successful service model for those in need. For more than 10 years, Jo Anne entered into war-torn regions, abandoned communities and dark pockets of the world teeming with forced labor and prostitution. She looked at the bleakness and despair, and saw how she could bring glimmers of light through opportunity, dignity and hope.

Though Jo Anne stepped down as WHI’s CEO in 2008 to accept a prominent leadership role within The Wesleyan Church, she remains actively involved as a member of our Board of Directors. Today, current WHI President and CEO John Lyon carries out Jo Anne's original hope, empowering the poorest of the poor to become changemakers within their own communities.

Today, World Hope International continues its mission as a voice for the silent, an opportunity for the oppressed and water for those who thirst. WHI helps provide the dignity that comes from an educated mind, a healthy body, an honest day’s wage and a safe place to heal. WHI is the one who comes alongside those gripped by poverty to offer a hand up instead of a handout. But more than anything, World Hope International is the reflection of Jesus Christ’s compassion for all who suffer.