Since the Dorcas Society was officially recognized in 1879, Seventh-day Adventist humanitarian efforts have evolved as those challenges have grown. Here are several points clarifying the relationship of our church's organized efforts in domestic and international outreach.


1956 Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Service (SAWS) organized to strengthen Adventist relief efforts, with shipments valued at nearly $500,000 in 1958.

1973 Name changes to Seventh-day Adventist World Service (SAWS), as mission broadens from disaster relief to long-term development.

1983 Brought another name change to Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) International.

In 2004, ADRA assisted nearly 24 million people with more than $159 million (U.S. dollars) in aid.


ACS coordinates more than 1,100 outreach centers in cities across the U.S. and provides services such as disaster response, crisis care, the Youth Empowered to Serve program, tutoring and mentoring, and elder care and inner city ministries.

Here's an important "HEADS UP:" Funds given to ADRA or for disaster relief are used primarily for ADRA's international mission and provide little help for domestic relief efforts.

Those who wish to donate for ACS outreach projects within the U.S. should clearly mark their offerings for "NAD ACS." Oregon Conference members may use the "Humanitarian Services" line on their tithe envelopes.

Each local conference has its own ACS director. Doug Venn coordinates disaster response needs for the North Pacific Union Conference.

May 01, 2009 / Feature