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Global Communities (formerly CHF International) is an international development and humanitarian aid organization that operates in approximately 25 countries per year. The non-profit organization was founded in 1952 as the Cooperative Housing Foundation and provided affordable housing for low-income families in rural and urban America. Global Communities began working abroad in the 60s, and today, the organization implements a variety of programs in the areas of economic development; micro, small and medium enterprise (SME) and housing finance; governance and urban development; construction and infrastructure; civil society and municipal development; global health and emergency response. In 2012, the organization changed its name to Global Communities to better reflect its mission and activities working with communities around the world. Global Communities' mission is to "create long-lasting, positive and community-led change that improves the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable people across the globe." Development means improving the economic, social and environmental conditions of communities in developing and unstable countries. In practical terms development means, for example: increasing the prosperity of a country from the individual, family and community levels up; empowering people to participate in their own governance, and building the resilience of people against challenges. Ultimately, the people best suited to decide what a community needs are the people of the community itself. This type of long-term, sustainable development leads to stability and security, reduces incentives to violence, reduces vulnerability to natural disasters and decreases the amount of time it takes to recover from natural and man-made emergencies. These changes benefit not only the people of the community, but the whole world.