International, Foreign Affairs, and National Security

Heifer Project International, Inc.

  • Little Rock, AR

Mission Statement

Heifer International's mission is to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth using gifts of livestock, seeds, trees and training in sustainable agriculture community development projects to help millions of people become self-reliant. Since 1944, Heifer has helped transform the lives of more than 18.5 million families (94.5 million people) by giving them gifts of cows, goats and other livestock. Along with the animals, families receive training in animal care and conservation for environmentally sound agricultural development. There is also training in community development, gender equity, sharing and caring, strategic planning and other subjects as needed, including literacy. The process takes several years and is not declared successful until the community shows sustained improvement in nutrition, income and self-reliance. Each family that receives an animal agrees to Pass on the Gift by sharing the first-born female offspring of their animal with another family in need, so each gift of livestock starts a chain of self-reliance that spreads throughout  entire communities.

Main Programs

  1. Rural Entrepreneurs for Agricultural Cooperation in Haiti
  2. Empowering Women Farmers Through the Value Chain in Nepal
  3. Seeds of Change

service areas


Self-reported by organization

ruling year


chief executive for fy 2010

Mr. Pierre Ferrari

Self-reported by organization


livestock development and agroecology; hunger and poverty; HIV-AIDS awareness and prevention; gender equity and family; microcredit and microenterprise

Self-reported by organization

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Physical Address

1 World Avenue

Little Rock, AR 72202

Also Known As

Heifer International


Cause Area (NTEE Code)

International Agricultural Development (Q31)

Agricultural Programs (K20)

Animal Related Activities N.E.C. (D99)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Impact statement

Heifer's holistic model is proven to be successful and life-changing. Following a five-year study of Heifer projects, programs and participants, evaluators from Western Michigan University noted in virtually every evaluation improvements in nutrition, agriculture, income, hope and opportunity, access to health care and medicine, livestock management. Also mentioned in nearly every report was Heifer's signature Passing on the Gift (POG) cornerstone


What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Self-reported by organization

Program 1

Rural Entrepreneurs for Agricultural Cooperation in Haiti

Specifically, REACH — Rural Entrepreneurs for Agricultural
Cooperation in Haiti — will develop 150 breeding centers and provide training
for 120 community health workers who, in turn, will train an average of 200
farmers each. Heifer International hopes the enterprise will serve as a model
for the state to consider for replication, key to igniting the kind of
transformation Haiti needs to become self-sustaining. Three hundred full-time
jobs will be created and more than 83,000 will benefit indirectly.


International, Foreign Affairs & National Security



Population Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Program 2

Empowering Women Farmers Through the Value Chain in Nepal

The average Nepalese farmer owns less than 1.2 acres of
land. Even on such small plots, livestock has the poten-
tial to improve diets and increase incomes. However, the
current quality of the animals and the farmers’ skills to
improve their livestock’s productivity are both poor.
For farmers, especially marginalized women, to thrive on
very small farms, they must work together, have higher-
quality animals, be trained in better farming methods and
be connected to formal agricultural markets.
Through this project, women will be transformed into
powerful small farmers and businesswomen selling meat
and milk in organized markets. To help Heifer bring our
work to exponentially more families than ever before in a
Heifer Nepal project, this project was designed with
several significant programmatic innovations.


International, Foreign Affairs & National Security



Population Served

Females, all ages or age unspecified

Program 3

Seeds of Change

Seeds of Change is about developing
vibrant, sustainable farmers and local food systems through these wealth
creation value chains resulting in measurable impact in: social capital,
livelihoods, nutrition, and improved environment.  The aim is to identify market demand and then to invest resources
and enlist partners to
get development going across a whole value chain—inputs, production, processing,
distribution, consumers, policy changes and other enabling context, in
particular sectors, such as accessible, affordable and healthy food. With this,
farmers can connect markets
so that people and communities are sustainable beyond Heifer’s engagement.


International, Foreign Affairs & National Security



Population Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Self-reported by organization

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Heifer International is a nonprofit, humanitarian organization dedicated to ending hunger and poverty and caring for the Earth. Heifer currently provides livestock, trees, seeds and training in environmentally sound agriculture to families in 30 countries, including the United States. We work with smallholder farming families and communities because we believe they are key to feeding us all.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Our holistic approach is designed to help communities become the drivers of their own change by cultivating the following:
    • Income and Nutrition - Increasing farmers' production allows them to feed themselves and offers a source of income.
    • Improving the Environment - Conservation and restoration efforts allow farmers to not only make efficient use of resources but also actively improve the environment and mitigate the effects of climate change.
    • Women's Empowerment - Research shows that there is no development strategy more effective than one involving women as central players while encouraging men to welcome women's participation.
    • Social Capital - The critical element present in project communities is the energizing spark that motivates and empowers community members to take action. In order to enable true transformative change, we help communities self-direct their development and take advantage of inputs available from development organizations, government agencies and other sources.
    • Passing on the Gift - The hallmark of our approach, each farming family passes on animals or time and knowledge. The act transforms recipients into donors and produces a profound sense of accomplishment. This practice, at a minimum, doubles the impact of the original gift. It's proof that small actions can lead to big results.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Since 1944, we have empowered more than 25 million families - almost 115 million people - to lead resilient lives, including more than 3 million people in fiscal year 2015 alone. One of the most important aspects of our program model is building the capacity of project groups to envision, plan and manage their own futures. We monitor project data, track our progress and then evaluate our overall impact. These evaluations ensure that our work to place livestock and pass on knowledge and training in sustainable farming practices will benefit communities for generations.

    Our global team of programmatic and evaluation experts is developing definitions, guidelines, processes and tools to establish living income as the organizational standard for the 30 countries where we work. By comparing families' current incomes to the living income benchmarks, we can find the gap between the two and develop strategies for closing that gap. Our dedicated country program staff work directly with communities to implement appropriate interventions, as well as to secure further needed interventions via other organizations.

    In recent years, Heifer International has more greatly focused our efforts on connecting farmers to markets, and on facilitating the creation of markets where none previously existed. When farmers become productive enough to have consistently more food and resources than they need, they are able to increase their incomes. Selling to neighbors is typically the first step, but there is limited potential for growth. We are relying more intensely on value chains and connecting farmers t¬¬o markets.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Through our Global Impact Monitoring system, we gather data on a number of indicators, classified under the following dimensions of impact: Increase in Income and Assets, Food Security and Nutrition, Environment, Women's Empowerment, and Social Capital. Using this tool, we can ascertain both baseline incomes and progress toward meeting missional objectives.

    Additionally, in 2014, Heifer established an organization-wide “Global Impact Goal," which is to help 4 million families move out of poverty by 2020. Bolstered by our interventions, families with whom we work will achieve a level of income that allows them to educate their children (including the girls); feed themselves healthfully across every month of the year; and have proper housing, water, hygiene, etc. All of these things will be primarily paid for with a reasonable amount of income, meaning a living income.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Several of our country programs have conducted initial efforts to determine living income benchmarks for their regions, providing important lessons and helping develop a replicable model for the remaining country programs to use. Though we are still in the process of defining living incomes for all program areas, staff have already begun identifying strategies for helping farmers achieve living incomes and incorporating those strategies into program design.


Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.


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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Heifer Project International, Inc.



Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.


Mr. Pierre Ferrari


Pierre Ferrari, who was born in Africa in 1950 in what was then the Belgian Congo (today the Democratic Republic of the Congo and from 1971 to 1997 Zaire), is Heifer International’s president AND CEO. Ferrari has more than 40 years of business experience, from large consumer goods organizations such as Coca-Cola USA to socially oriented organizations like CARE and the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund. Ferrari holds a master’s degree in Economics from The University of Cambridge and a MBA from Harvard Business School.


"After nearly 70 years, Heifer’s formula remains a simple one. By giving families in need a hand up, not just a handout, we can empower them to turn a life of hunger and poverty into one of self-reliance and independence.
With the gifts of livestock and training, we help families improve their nutrition and general income in a sustainable way through honest work.
There are heifers that give milk, chickens that produce eggs, sheep that provide wool and much much more.
We refer to these animals as “living loans” because in exchange for receiving their animal and training in its care, each family promises to give one of its animal’s offspring to another family in need.
It’s called Passing on the Gift and it means that each gift you make through Heifer will multiply many times over with every new generation.
And our work sparks not only a wildfire of self-reliance, it enables donors to share in the experience of ending hunger and poverty at a time of economic crisis when the cause has never seemed more urgent. Donors know the job of our passionate urgency to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.
Pierre FerrariCEO
Heifer International"



Mr. Donald Hammond

No affiliation

Term: Sept 2002 - Sept 2014


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Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



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Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?