50+ years of support
for children in need

History Highlights

Fr. Wasson in Mexico, 1956.1953

Fr. William B. Wasson of Phoenix, Arizona,  is ordained in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

1954

Fr. Wasson is given custody of a boy jailed for stealing from his church poor box because “he was hungry.” By year end, 32 boys are in his care and Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH, Spanish for “Our Little Brothers and Sisters”) is founded.

1959

Girls join the NPH family.

1965

NPH USA (then Friends of Our Little Brothers) incorporates as one of Arizona’s first non-profits.

1969

Our Little Brothers and Sisters, Inc. is established in Virginia to raise funds for NPH. It will subsequently establish fundraising offices in Europe as well as Canada.

Casa San Salvador, NPH Mexico1970

Casa San Salvador in Miacatlán, México, is acquired. Work begins to refurbish the old sugar plantation — now home to nearly 1,000 NPH children.

1977

Fr. Wasson receives the Mexican National Prize for his outstanding contribution to the children of Mexico.  He was, at the time, the only U.S. citizen to have received the award.

1979

The National Catholic Development Conference gives Fr. Wasson the Good Samaritan Award.

1986

• Fr. Wasson receives the Franciscan International Award.

• Fr. Wasson opens an NPH home in Honduras.

• An affiliated but separate NPH USA nonprofit support group forms in Minnesota.

NPH Haiti1987

A new NPH home opens in Haiti.

1988

A NPH USA office is established in Washington.

1989

Fr. Wasson and Fr. Rick Frechette found St. Damien Pediatric Hospital in Haiti.

1990

Fr. Wasson is the first priest to receive the Order of the Aztec Eagle, Mexico’s highest award, recognizing services performed for Mexico or humanity by persons of foreign nationality.

1994

Fr. Wasson establishes an NPH home in Nicaragua.

1996

Guatemala is the site of the fifth NPH home.

1997

The Caring Institute of Washington, D.C. gives Fr. Wasson the National Caring Award.

1998

Fr. Wasson National receives KFC’s Colonel’s Way Award honoring amazing seniors and El Sol de Nuestra Comunidad Award presented by the Hispanic community of Phoenix, AZ.

1999

• An NPH home opens in war-torn El Salvador.

• A NPH USA office is established in Illinois.

2000

Fr. Wasson receives Kellogg’s Hannah Neil World of Children Award for his life work with orphaned children.  The $100,000 prize is given to individuals who make a world of difference in the world of children.

Fr. Wasson receives the 2003 Jefferson Award2003

• An NPH home opens in the Dominican Republic.

• Fr. Wasson celebrates his Golden Jubilee as a priest and his 80th birthday.

• Fr. Wasson receives the Jefferson Award for Public Service, which is recognized as the “Nobel Prize” for public service in America. Nominated by a former pequeño, Fr. Wasson was recognized for his volunteer service to the Hispanic community. From June 16 – 18, a total of 57 individuals were honored at events in Washington D.C.

2004

• Peru becomes the first country in South America to have an NPH home.

• At a ceremony in Germany on October 3, 2004, Fr. Wasson receives the International Erich Fromm Society Annual Award “in recognition of his work as founder of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, as spiritual father of the orphanages in Latin America and for his permanently lived example of his ‘Love of Life’ in the spirit of Erich Fromm.”

Fr. Wasson and Pope John Paul II• Father Wasson travels to Italy with children from NPH Dominican Republic and meets Pope John Paul II.

• NPH celebrates its 50th anniversary.

2005

• The ninth NPH home, located in Bolivia, opens.

• Fr. Wasson wins the Ivy Humanitarian Prize, awarded by the Ivy Inter-American Foundation to “recognize individuals who have made extraordinary humanitarian contributions toward improving the lives of children and their communities in the Americas.” He received a $10,000 prize to support NPH on September 22, 2005, in Washington, D.C.

• The Opus Prize Foundation gives Fr. Wasson a $100,000 prize at a ceremony at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on November 7, 2005, for making a significant difference in the lives of people who need help the most.

• On July 1, the fundraising offices in Arizona, Illinois, Minnesota, and Washington became regional offices of the national organization – NPH USA. In addition, new regional offices were formed in Miami, Florida, and Washington, D.C., which were made possible by the fundraising support of Our Little Brothers and Sisters.

2006

Fr. Wasson dies on August 16 in Cottonwood, Arizona. A funeral is held in Phoenix and memorial services are held at all of the NPH homes.

2009

Founded by John Shinsky, Ciudad de los Niños (“City of the Children”) opens in Matamoros, Mexico, as a project of NPH International.

2013

Friends of the Orphans changes name to NPH USA in order to create a global brand with consistency to our donors, to more closely align the brand with our mission and the children we serve, and to expand the focus to both the children and programs that we support.

2014

NPH International celebrates 60 years of raising children.


More than 18,000 pequeños have been lovingly raised in NPH homes.