January Milestone: The Beginning

NOTE: This post highlights an important CORE Group milestone as we celebrate 20 years. Learn more about monthly milestones here.  

CORE Group’s story actually began years before 1997, with the 1985 launch of the USAID Child Survival and Health Grants Program (CSHGP), which provided grants to PVOs (private voluntary organizations) to operate child survival projects.

In the early years of the CSHGP, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health organized annual workshops for CSHGP grantees to exchange technical information in program strengthening and management. These workshops were led by Dr. Dory Storms (more about her coming up in next month’s milestone!).

Competition for funding had traditionally kept the staff from different PVOs from collaborating in a structured and meaningful way; however, through these annual meetings they realized how much they could learn from each other, develop resources together and reduce duplication of efforts.

Soon the grantees identified a need to form their own association to continue sharing their findings and building the PVO community’s technical capacity in child survival.

A group of PVOs formed a PVO Child Survival Steering Committee and approached USAID with the idea of submitting an unsolicited proposal to support a PVO network organization.


USAID was supportive of the concept, and in 1997, the Steering Committee submitted a formal proposal to USAID to support the formation of a new PVO membership organization entitled “CORE: Collaborations and Resources for Child Survival.”

CORE Group received an initial grant for $150,000 from USAID in June 1997. World Vision agreed to host the CORE secretariat until it incorporated.

In April 1998, at the annual child survival workshop, CORE members elected the first CORE Group Board of Directors composed of 10 representatives from member organizations:

  • Joe Valadez (PLAN International)
  • Olga Wollinka (World Relief)
  • David Shanklin (Curamericas)
  • David Prettyman (Project Concern International)
  • David Oot (Save the Children)
  • Laura Hoemeke (Africare)
  • Bettina Schwethelm (Project Hope)
  • Larry Cassaza (World Vision)
  • Vijay Rao (Medical Care Development Inc.)
  • June Pierre-Louis (Helen Keller International)

CORE’s incorporation process was completed in December 2000, and the organization’s bylaws were finalized in April 2001. CORE Group became an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in December 2001.

The signers of the Articles of Incorporation are listed below:

  • Jay Edison (Adventist Development and Relief Agency)
  • David Newberry (CARE International)
  • Alfonso Rosales (Catholic Relief Services)
  • Reese Welsh (Esperanca)
  • Ellen Vor der Bruegge (Freedom from Hunger)
  • Joe Valadez (Plan International)
  • Bettina Schwethelm (Project Hope)
  • Stacey Lissit (Salvation Army World Service Organization)
  • David Oot (Save the Children USA)
  • Mary Beth Powers (Save the Children USA)
  • Eric Starbuck (Save the Children USA)
  • Victoria Graham (World Vision)

See the actual Articles of Incorporation below:

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In 2002, the Board of Directors hired CORE Group’s first Executive Director, Karen LeBan, and established a vision statement, a mission statement, values and organizational goals.

…And the rest is history!

Watch CORE Group veteran David Shanklin tell the story of how he got involved in CORE Group below:

Still curious? You can find a more detailed CORE Group history here.

Stay tuned for an update on where CORE Group is headed next later this month, and check back throughout 2017 for many more milestones!