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Cooperative Housing Foundation CHF
History and Background

Who We Are

Founded in 1952, the Cooperative Housing Foundation--now known simply as CHF International--serves more than 20 million people each year, empowering them to improve their lives and livelihoods for a better future.

CHF currently has programs in 30 countries around the world, across Asia, Africa, Latin America & the Caribbean, Europe & the Caucasus, and the Middle East.

Our mission is to be catalyst for long-lasting positive change in low- and moderate-income communities around the world, helping them improve their social, economic and environmental conditions. Our reputation is built on the strong relationships we have with the communities we serve--engaging and involving them throughout the development process through a unique methodology that keeps control and ownership in their hands.

 Our History
Good Works Done Well: A Legacy of Change
Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.
-- John F. Kennedy

Our Past
CHF International was originally established as the Foundation for Cooperative Housing (FCH) in 1952, a 501c(3) non-profit corporation seeking to help low- and moderate- income families in rural America and low-income urban neighborhoods to achieve improved economic standing and quality of life through the construction of affordable housing. Following our inception, we sponsored over 60,000 units of cooperative housing in 35 states across the US.

In 1962, our strong record of accomplishment within the US caught the attention of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a government funding agency that invited us to apply our experience on an international level. Our first overseas programs were focused on housing microfinance in Central America. Our name at this time was the Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF).

Since the 1960s, CHF has focused increasingly on international issues. With experience, it quickly became clear that addressing one linear area of development alone was not producing outcomes that were sustainable for the long-term. A program that demands community investment in housing but turns a blind eye to the need for income generation to maintain those structures is doomed to fail. As a result, our programming has expanded: in addition to housing microfinance we now address concerns in the areas of disaster relief, environmental management, infrastructure rehabilitation, economic development, civil society development, and post-conflict response. In 1998, we began to market ourselves as CHF International (our legal name remains Cooperative Housing Foundation) to reflect our overseas focus.

Our Present
We design all of our programs with the appropriate social, environmental and economic solutions in mind to ensure the communities we serve can manage and sustain their future development at a steady forward pace.

We work in an average of 30 countries each year, promoting democratic principles to effectively build, strengthen and promote change within local institutions and communities and shape policy decisions that recognize and support our world''''s most vulnerable populations.

Our Future
CHF International continues to be driven by a humanitarian mission and guided by high standards of accountability and performance. The ultimate impact of our work is too valuable not to take every program seriously; not to demand the best possible outcome for the time, effort and money invested. To this end, our programs are designed to be realistic: we encourage communities to identify their own priorities and work with them to set achievable objectives that advance their overall goals. Our programs are adapted to each distinct cultural and social context, employing the most appropriate and effective methods to ensure progress is made and forward motion sustained.

Whether rehabilitating schools, roads and water systems or establishing independent financial institutions that will lend credit to low-income individuals to start businesses or build homes, CHF International continues to build a stable, more equitable world, one community at a time.

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