Founded in 1979, Operation USA helps communities alleviate the effects of disasters, disease, violence and endemic poverty.
In the 40 years since Operation USA was founded, we have delivered over $400 million in aid to more than 100 countries. From the construction of schools to the delivery of medical supplies and equipment to long-term disaster recovery, Operation USA has a rich history of successful programs around the world. Today, many programs developed throughout Operation USA’s history continue to serve communities in need.
In the midwestern United States, late Winter/early Spring flooding wreaks havoc for farmers, Native Americans and area residents. OpUSA commits to recovery, focusing on existing partnerships on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations in South Dakota.
In March, Cyclone Idai devastates Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. OpUSA commits to relief and recovery efforts in Africa.
In February, OpUSA distributes cash grants to community-based partners recovering from Hurricane Florence.
In January, OpUSA distributes additional cash grants to community-based partners in Texas recovering from Hurricane Harvey.
In November, wildfires once again devastate large swaths of California. OpUSA delivers emergency relief and shelter supplies to local partners and remains committed to helping recovery efforts.
In October, Hurricane Michael hits Florida. OpUSA recommits to relief and recovery in the state, where we’ve remained active since Hurricane Irma hit in 2017.
In September, Hurricane Florence ravages the southeastern United States and causes widespread damage in the Carolinas. OpUSA ships emergency relief supplies and distributes cash grants to community-based organizations working in the hardest-hit communities.
In July and August, OpUSA distributes cash grants to community-based partners in Texas recovering from Hurricane Harvey.
In May, OpUSA distributes cash grants to community-based organizations focused on vulnerable and homeless youth impacted by Northern California wildfires.
In February, OpUSA distributes cash grants to Houston-based organizations working in communities hardest-hit by Hurricane Harvey.
OpUSA remains committed to ongoing relief and recovery efforts in hurricane and earthquake-impacted communities across the United States and Mexico after an unprecedented series of deadly disasters.
In December, strong Santa Ana winds trigger massive wildfires across Southern California–exacerbating an already record-breaking wildfire season across the state. OpUSA staff travel to Northern California to assess damage and recovery needs, while partner Moldex Metrics helps OpUSA deliver N95 filtering masks to partner CAUSE in Ventura county for distribution to farm workers.
In December, OpUSA staff conducts an on-the-ground housing needs assessment for families impacted by Hurricane Maria.
In December, OpUSA sends medical equipment via partner organizations headed to Puerto Rico.
In November, Richard Walden visits partners in Mexico to assess earthquake damage and review relief needs.
In November, OpUSA delivers a cash grant to the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers in support of their “Recover, Rebuild, Restore” campaign helping children, families, low-income seniors, veterans and other vulnerable groups impacted by Hurricane Irma.
In October, OpUSA delivers water purification supplies to 1,000 families in Puerto Rico.
In September, two massive earthquakes strike Mexico. Operation USA commits to relief and recovery efforts in impacted communities.
In September, Hurricane Irma–the second strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic–strikes Florida, causing massive, widespread damage. Operation USA ships two truckloads of relief supplies for distribution to impacted families in the hardest hit areas and commits to long-term relief.
In September, Hurricane Maria causes catastrophic damage in Puerto Rico and triggers a deadly humanitarian crisis on the island as people are left without power, access to clean drinking water or food resources for months. Operation USA commits to relief and recovery efforts on the island.
In August, Hurricane Harvey makes landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm. The hurricane, it’s storm surge and subsequent flooding are devastating for impacted communities. Operation USA commits to relief efforts and quickly deploys three truckloads of relief and recovery materials–including shelter kits, personal hygiene items, sanitation clean up kits, exam gloves, first aid kits, blankets and pillows, air purifiers, portable generators and power kits–to partners for distribution in the Houston area.
In March, construction of the Shree Panchkanya Secondary School in Fyakse, Nepal is completed. The school opens its doors to 350 students in kindergarten through tenth grade who were impacted by the earthquakes that struck Nepal in 2015.
In January, Operation USA sends the Awesome Girls in New Orleans to see the Oscar-winning film ‘Hidden Figures,’ allowing program participants to see the success story of some amazing women and be inspired to aim high in their own lives. The outing was also a learning experience for the girls as they discussed courage, seeking support and some “isms” such as racism and classism.
Operation USA continues to support Hurricane Matthew relief efforts in Haiti and the United States, delivering much-needed relief supplies and providing grants to community-based organizations.
Operation USA continues to facilitate Project Re:Verb, helping youth groups in New Orleans, South Dakota and Haiti participate in a series of digital conferences.
Operation USA continues to support long-term recovery and resiliency building in the Philippines, where we’ve supported children and their families (alongside corporate partner Honeywell) since Typhoon Haiyan devastated the area in 2013.
In October, Hurricane Matthew strikes the Caribbean and parts of the southeastern United States. Operation USA commits to supporting relief efforts in impacted communities.
In April, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hits Ecuador. Operation USA commits to recovery in the country, providing grants to aid in the reconstruction of eleven homes for families in the Manabi province.
In March, OpUSA breaks ground on a school construction project in Fyakse, in the Dhading District, Nepal.
On April 25, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hits Nepal, followed by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake on May 12. Operation USA makes cash grants to partners and sends four containers of relief supplies to partners, and commits to long-term recovery in the village of Fyakse.
In March, Ngolos Honeywell Elementary School opens its doors to students in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, in the Philippines. The school, built in continued partnership with Honeywell, is staffed by eight teachers and serves more than 250 students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Designed to withstand winds up to 155 miles (250 kilometers) per hour, it is designated as an evacuation center for the residents of Ngolos Barangay in the event of future emergencies or natural disasters.
On December 1, Typhoon Ruby hits already vulnerable communities in the Philippines. OpUSA continues to support ongoing recovery in the country.
As the worst Ebola outbreak in history sweeps across West Africa, OpUSA sends an airlift of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies to partners in Monrovia, Liberia.
Operation USA CEO Richard Walden is honored with the Hometown Heroes Award from Honeywell Hometown Solutions. The award is given to individuals who improve the lives of others and make their hometowns better places to live and work through long-term dedication, compassion, and the desire to do the right work, right now.
Operation USA continues to support typhoon recovery in the Philippines, focusing long-term recovery projects in the hard-hit community of Guiuan. In continued partnership with Honeywell, construction on the Ngolos Honeywell Elementary School begins.
Operation USA initiates a program to address health and educational challenges faced by the Oglala Sioux Tribe on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and initiates a partnership with the SuAnne Big Crow Boys and Girls Club.
Operation USA celebrates its 35th anniversary.
On November 8 Typhoon Haiyan, the largest storm ever to make landfall, devastates The Philippines.Operation USA ships disaster relief supplies to meet immediate needs, including water purification supplies.
On September 27, floods devastate the Acapulco, Mexico area. Operation USA makes a $25,000 cash grant to help rebuild a school through Ninos En Alegria, a program supporting schools in western Mexico.
On May 20, major tornadoes wreak havoc on Moore, OK and the surrounding areas. Operation USA provides relief supplies and makes cash grants to community organizations to aid in recovery.
Operation USA opens the Honeywell Ibasho House in partnership with Honeywell Hometown Solutions to serve the Elders of Ofunato affected by the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami.
Operation USA ships neonatology equipment to Kono, Sierra Leone–outfitting the country’s first maternal and child health care unit.
Operation USA ships medical equipment to the general hospital in Gisenyi, Rwanda, on the border of war-ravaged Congo.
On October 22, Superstorm Sandy begins its path of devastation across the northeastern United States. Operation USA sends emergency and cleaning supplies to New York and New Jersey, and makes cash grants to local clinics to aid in long-term recovery.
Operation USA breaks ground on the Honeywell Ibasho House, in partnership with Honeywell Hometown Solutions, to aid the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.
Operation USA begins a feeding program at Ecole Nationale JM Henriquez in Jacmel, Haiti.
On August 21, Hurricane Isaac causes widespread flooding in Louisiana. Operation USA responds with emergency supplies provided to a local social services partner.
Operation USA ships books to Rwanda’s first public library in partnership with Boeing and RwandAir.
As millions of people are impacted by a humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa as the region faces drought, famine and conflict, Operation USA sends water purification supplies to refugee camps in Kenya and in southern Ethiopia.
On May 22, a devastating multiple-vortex tornado strikes Joplin, MO and crushes nearly a third of the city. Operation USA sends relief supplies, then goes on to restore capacity in damaged schools and clinics facing an influx of community members impacted by the storm.
On March 11, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake shakes Japan, resulting in a tsunami that sweeps the northeastern coast. The quake and subsequent tsunami also triggers a catastrophic nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant, the effects of which are felt around the world. Operation USA makes a long-term commitment to the community of Ofunato, Iwate.
Ecole Nationale Jacob Martin Henriquez opens in Jacmel, Haiti. Built in partnership with Honeywell, this primary school serves hundreds of students who couldn’t otherwise afford to go to school, and supports feeding programs, which ensure children receive a healthy meal each day.
On October 12, Super Typhoon Megi hits the Philippines, inundating much of Manila with water. Operation USA provides material support to hospital partners.
Massive flooding impacts as many as 20 million people across southern Asia. Operation USA strengthens dykes and berms in the Bangla Ichha Union Council, an acutely vulnerable community in southern Punjab, Pakistan.
Operation USA convenes a conference exploring possible alternatives to refugee camps for displaced persons in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation.
On February 27, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Chile, affecting over two million people. Operation provides a children’s library for a community in transitional homes, and supplies local fishermen with tools, boats and engines to resume their economic activities.
On January 12, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake devastates Haiti, affecting as many as three million people. Operation USA ships emergency aid by air and sea totaling $5.5 milion.
Operation USA supports programs aiding women and children in communities impacted by the Sri Lankan civil war.
Operation USA sends medical supplies to North Korea.
In partnership with Honeywell Hometown Solutions, Operation USA opens a school outside Chengdu, China, begins a second primary school construction project in Sichuan, and funds the construction of five village clinics near Chongqing.
Following a magnitude 7.9 earthquake in China’s Sichuan province on May 12, Operation USA begins construction of a primary school with support from Honeywell Hometown Solutions.
On April 27, Cylone Nargis devastates Myanmar. Operation USA sends medical supplies and makes a grant to a clinic aiding victims.
Operation USA supports projects in Cambodia including a livelihood assistance program for women and persons with disabilities, a counseling center for women and children, and a social and mental health services program.
Operation USA responds to Southern California wildfires with supplies and grants to local agencies serving fire victims.
On August 15, a major earthquake hits Peru. Operation USA funds a new water system for a village through a local partner NGO.
Operation USA works with Honeywell Hometown Solutions in Bangalore, India to install clean water systems and to incorporate hygiene education into schools.
Operation USA funds 23 clinics, as well as schools and after-school programs, in the Hurricane Katrina zone of Louisiana and Mississippi.
Operation USA continues funding tsunami recovery projects in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India.
On May 27, an earthquake hits Jogyakarta, Indonesia. Operation USA responds with supplies and funding for reconstruction projects.
Operation USA organizes an airlift for a partner agency and provides $1.8 million in supplies to alleviate widespread casualties and damage caused by war in Lebanon.
Following Hurricane Katrina on August 23 and Hurricane Rita on September 18, Operation USA sends 13 truck shipments containing $8 million in disaster response aid to the hurricane-affected Gulf Coast states, making cash grants to community-based clinics and funding mental health programs.
Operation USA sends a 747 cargo jet with emergency relief supplies to Islamabad, Pakistan for earthquake-affected communities. In partnership with Honeywell, Operation USA funds housing projects and a clinic supporting the needs of amputees. Operation USA also supplies an ambulance to community partners in Kashmir to help transport women in labor to more modern hospital facilities in Islamabad.
Operation USA begins village reconstruction in Kalladi, Sri Lanka. In partnership with Honeywell Hometown Solutions, Operation USA rebuilds houses, water wells, a school and a clinic, repairs the village’s entire fishing and restores necessary fishing equipment.
Operation USA, in partnership with Islamic Relief International and Los Angeles’ Wilshire Boulevard Temple, sends relief supplies to conflict-impacted El Geneina in West Darfur.
In partnership with the City of West Hollywood, Operation USA sends shipments of medical supplies to Malawi’s largest HIV/AIDS program.
On December 26, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastate countries bordering the Indian Ocean. Operation USA launches relief efforts resulting in $13 million in air and sea shipments and nearly $3.5 million in funding of clinics, housing, water wells, livelihood grants and post-traumatic stress programs in four countries: Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and India.
Operation USA organizes an airlift and provides funds for clinic construction, a women’s health program and assistance to a disabled persons center after a December 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran, which destroyed the city of 80,000 and killed up to 50,000 people.
Operation USA installs a micro-hydro-electricity system in Santa Rosa, Nicaragua, bringing light to 650 villagers, and also implements new drought-resistant farming techniques.
Following Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation USA sends an airlift containing relief and medical supplies to Baghdad for impacted hospitals and civilian communities.
Operation USA, as part of a national non-partisan group, sends an election observation team to Cambodia.
Operation USA, in partnership with a renowned scientist, successfully tests an earth radar device to identify possible humanitarian uses for the technology, including locating water sources.
Operation USA hosts a series of community clinic open houses to provide clinics in Southern California with much-needed free medical equipment and supplies.
On June 23, a major earthquake hits Peru. Operation USA sends medical supplies and provides funds to build schools and train teachers to identify and address psychological trauma in children.
On January 26, an earthquake hits Gujarat, India. Operation USA sends two 747 cargo airlifts and makes grants for water purification, clinics and school projects in displaced person camps.
Micro-credit programs in Vietnam supported by Operation USA expand to cover 5,000 women in food production and sales.
Operation USA’s California Community Clinic Support Program expands to 200 nonprofit community clinics statewide.
Operation USA obtains second warehouse space—5,000 sq. ft.—courtesy of the Port of San Francisco.
Operation USA expands medical assistance programs in Cuba with knowledge exchange visits by Cuban and American physicians to both Havana and Los Angeles.
Operation USA completes a number of new programs in Nicaragua including building over 100 homes, six preschools, and five clinics, establishing a post-traumatic stress counseling program, and developing micro-enterprise projects in animal husbandry, handicrafts, bio-gas and small-scale agriculture.
On August 17, an earthquake in Turkey kills 10,000 people and destroys 120,000 houses. Operation USA sends a 747 cargo jet with 100 tons of medical relief and makes cash grants to five health projects.
Operation USA expands Nicaragua hurricane recovery programs and opens a full-time country office in Managua.
Operation USA delivers antibiotics to, and performs needs assessments at, three Cuban pediatric hospitals–initiating Operation USA’s Cuba medical assistance program.
Operation USA launches major programs in Central America to aid survivors of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras and Nicaragua, and begins work in the village of Santa Rosa, Nicaragua.
As a member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Operation USA shares the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, and participates in the “Ottawa Process: an International Treaty to Ban Landmines.” Jackson Browne and other major music stars appear at an Operation USA concert in Ottowa, Canada to celebrate the signing of the treaty by 135 countries.
Operation USA represents 160 United States NGOs through InterAction at the United Nations and other global conferences to ban the use of anti-personnel landmines. Then, Operation USA launches a landmine detection technology transfer program, called “Operation Landmine,” with NASA and two U.S. national laboratories to help rid the world of over 100 million anti-personnel landmines.
Operation USA expands the Clinic Emergency Preparedness Training (CEPT) program with 35 Los Angeles-area community medical clinics, including individualized training and non-structural hazard mitigation.
Operation USA expands Vietnam agricultural, public health and medical training programs into two additional districts of Dong Nai Province. Microfinance initiatives provide capital for the first of what will be 5,000 small loans to women in Dong Nai.
On January 17, the Northridge Earthquake hits Los Angeles. Operation USA responds with relief items and, at the Mayor of Los Angeles’s request, screens material donations offered to the city.
Operation USA sends four medical supply shipments by air and sea to Rwanda, and later funds the rebuilding of a health center in Kibungo Prefecture in the wake of the Rwandan Genocide.
Operation USA joins with country music stars Clint Black and Wynonna in “Operation Heartland” to assist Midwestern U.S. flood relief and recovery efforts in five states. Grants are made to 25 community groups for health care, education and food security.
Operation USA sends medical aid to crises in Somalia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Iraq and Southern Turkey–aiding victims of the second Gulf War.
Operation USA responds to a succession of major disasters in Bangladesh (cyclone), Costa Rica (hurricane), Peru (earthquake) and the Philippines (typhoon, flooding, volcanic eruption).
Operation USA begins a disaster preparedness training program for community clinics in California.
Operation USA ships relief supplies to victims of the first Gulf War, including Kuwaiti, Iraqi and displaced guest workers’ children. Jordan’s Queen Noor and her foundation become a partner for relief efforts.
On October 17, the Loma Prieta earthquake hits San Francisco, eliciting Operation USA’s first major domestic disaster response. OpUSA sends material aid for relief efforts with a focus on community clinics.
Operation California becomes “Operation USA” to reflect the growth in scope of programs.
Operation California continues to expand programs in Southeast Asia and Central America.
After the overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos, Operation California begins work in the Philippines, supporting health care and famine relief.
Operation California is one of the earliest United States NGOs invited to work in China, and sends $5 million worth of prosthetic joints to 19 teaching hospitals throughout the country.
On September 19, a major earthquake hits Mexico City. Operation California responds with seven airlifts containing medicines and shelter materials, and helps build a permanent clinic for relocated quake victims as part of an integrated community development project co-sponsored by opera star Placido Domingo. Domingo raises Mexico relief funds along with Frank Sinatra, John Denver and Julie Andrews in a major concert at Universal Studios.
Operation California assists USA for Africa with grants management of $17 million in “We Are the World” emergency funds for eight African countries, and coordinates a second Boeing 747 airlift to Ethiopia and Sudan.
In a major relief effort for Ethiopian and Sudanese famines, Operation California–flying the first Boeing 747 cargo jet ever to land at Addis Ababa’s airport–delivers 120 tons of critical medical aid.
Operation California begins work in Nicaragua to alleviate the effects of the “Contra War.”
Operation California is a founding board member of InterAction, a consortium of (now) 200 relief and development agencies.
On April 13, Operation California is honored with the President’s Volunteer Action Award at a White House ceremony, the first international group to be included in the program.
Operation California rebuilds the National Dental School in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, sending dental equipment and installation technicians.
Operation California begins long-term support of free community medical clinics in Los Angeles.
Operation California sends a relief flight to Beirut after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
Operation California flies relief supplies to Poland after the declaration of martial law.
In partnership with Oxfam America, Operation California sends a relief flight to Honduras to aid refugees from El Salvador’s civil war.
Operation California arranges sea shipments to Somalia in support of United Nations’ refugee programs, aiding 1.5 million people displaced by the Ethiopia-Somalia war.
Using ‘private diplomacy’ Operation California helps negotiate the Vietnam-US “Orderly Departure Program,” resulting in the safe migration of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese to the United States. Operation California also begins programs in Vietnam supporting clinics and hospitals throughout the country.
Julie Andrews joins Operation USA’s Board of Directors and hosts a two-hour CBS television special titled “Because We Care,” one of many fundraising events she has since done for Operation California/Operation USA. The TV special featured Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Jane Fonda and 25 other major stars, and benefitted Cambodia’s children.
Operation California flies the first international relief airlift to Cambodia since 1975, delivering famine relief after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. Actress Julie Andrews and Director Blake Edwards sponsor the airlift.
On July 12, Operation California sends the first relief flight to aid Vietnamese “Boat People” in Malaysia (just 29 days after Operation California is conceptualized)—containing medical, shelter and water supplies, and food supplements. A relief airlift to Thailand follows in September, supplying refugee camps along the borders of Cambodia and Laos. More than twelve major companies donate supplies to these efforts, launching Operation California’s corporate in-kind programs.