Working to end hunger and poverty, while caring for the earth through training in environmentally sound agricultural practices.

Beyond temporary relief and aid

Dan West, an Indiana farmer, was a volunteer relief worker handing out a meager cup of milk a day to orphans and other victims of the Spanish Civil War. Moved by their plight, he decided these people should have cows so they could produce their own milk and not have to depend on temporary aid. From that simple idea, Heifer International was born.

In 1944, the first cows sent abroad were donated by West’s neighbors and were distributed throughout Europe following World War II. More than 60 years later, Heifer has expanded its mission and now provides 30 types of animals—from goats, geese, and guinea pigs to bees, silkworms, and water buffalo.

Passing on the Gift

Heifer has partnered with 15 million families in 125 countries around the world to improve their quality of life. A cornerstone of Heifer’s philosophy is “Passing on the Gift”. Each recipient family is required to provide offspring of their animals to another poor family—and this family then does the same—on and on until an entire community is able to lift itself out of poverty. Lasting self-reliance for families and sustainability for the environment are the end results.

From Appalachia to Zambia, millions of hungry and impoverished families have been directly affected by Heifer’s work.