This is year 15 of WORLD’s Hope Awards for Effective Compassion—and the strangest. The 100-plus ministries our readers nominated had to adjust their programs in the face of COVID-19. And we had to adjust our process of choosing winners.

Over the years we’ve learned to verify by in-person visits what ministries put on their websites—but this year we decided not to send our team into a viral hazard all across the United States. Instead, we visited eight impressive East Coast ministries and then chose four to profile. (Happily, before the pandemic one of our reporters had already eyeballed the ministry in Malaysia that became our international winner.) Next year, our reporters will head west.

Our common denominator each year is that winners offer challenging, personal, and spiritual help. That’s harder under coronavirus conditions. So this year we learned how each ministry dealt with pandemic problems, as you’ll see in the profiles linked below.

We can’t offer these ministries a vaccine, but we’ll give each one a monetary shot in the arm. The ministry that received the most votes from our readers and listeners wins a $10,000 grand prize. The other four will pick up a check for $2,000. And all five get a well-deserved publicity spotlight after years of perseverance sometimes noticed only by God. Voting ended on Oct. 17, and we will announce the winner soon.


The Dream Center in Easley, S.C.

Tiny houses, big hearts
Chris Wilson runs the Dream Center to help people escape homelessness, but fighting client discouragement is a constant battle
by Charissa Koh

Listen to WORLD Radio’s profile



Gilgal in Atlanta

Relearning how to live
Gilgal helps women leaving addiction and homelessness. But some leave before they’re ready, and staff members have to cope with disappointment
by Charissa Koh

Listen to WORLD Radio’s profile



Overflow Café in Cambridge, Md.

Overflow of love
The Overflow Café provides a place for Christians to build friendships and make disciples. But keeping the shop open is a struggle
by Charissa Koh

Listen to WORLD Radio’s profile



Refugee Hope Partners in Raleigh, N.C.

“It’s just a simple friendship”
Refugee Hope Partners seeks to form relationships with refugees and help them become self-sufficient
by Charissa Koh

Listen to WORLD Radio’s profile



ElShaddai Refugee Learning Centre in Klang, Malaysia

A reputation for excellence
Refugee parents seek out a school in Malaysia that teaches refugee children from 20 countries
by Angela Lu Fulton

Listen to WORLD Radio’s profile



Nominees for future Hope Awards

For consideration in next year’s Hope Awards contest and thereafter, let Charissa Koh ( know about a Christian ministry to the poor you’re familiar with that relies not on government financing but on compassionate volunteers supervised by dedicated professionals. Please include a brief description of why a particular ministry impresses you and include its physical and website addresses.

Hope Awards directory

If you’re looking for ideas about something you could start in your own backyard, please see our listing of the organizations we profiled from 2006 to 2019, with their major focuses: addiction, babies, community, disabilities, education, family, gardening, homelessness, immigration, jobs, legal needs, medical, prison, repair work, sex (anti-prostitution), transportation, and youth.

The directory also shows what it takes to start a poverty-fighting ministry: a license, a specific skill (such as auto repair), experience (such as that a mother gains), or neighborliness (a simple desire to invest time in helping others).

Directory of Hope Awards Finalists


2019 Hope Awards >