Global Partners was founded in 1978 as a membership organization called World Runners International Foundation. Its main objective was to focus attention on and generate support for ending hunger and starvation in the world. Over fifteen years, World Runners raised $6.5 million for organizations working to end hunger and poverty. Its success was built on a network of personal relationships, established by members from every state in the U.S. and more than 50 countries. In 1989, World Runners became Global Partners and began to work directly with East African community leaders in Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda to identify and implement projects.