How It All Began
In the early 1900’s… led by God, the Shakarian family escaped the Holocaust in Armenia and made their home in Downey, California where they started a 20-Acre dairy with three cows. Faith in God, good judgment and hard work eventually multiplied that first little herd one-thousand fold, until in 1943 the Shakarian herd had reached three thousand, the largest private dairy in the United States at that time. Their story is found in the book, “The Happiest People on Earth,” read by millions of people and translated into 25 languages.
In 1953, after receiving a God-given vision (click here to read about the vision), Demos Shakarian started FGBMFI as one small chapter of businessmen meeting every week in Clifton’s Cafeteria in Los Angeles, California.
The 1950’s – The Decade of Foundations
In the 1950’s, chapters began to spring up all over the United States. It was discovered that holding chapter meetings in an informal setting was most successful, typically around a meal, where members would have the opportunity to share their stories with each other of how God had impacted their lives for the better. As FGBMFI was quickly spreading across the United States, the organization was getting the attention of influential people such as then Vice-President Richard Nixon.
The 1960’s – The Decade of Expansion
The organization truly became “International” in the 1960’s, as FGBMFI began to conduct “Airlifts” to other countries. The first such “Airlift” took place in 1965, when more than 400 members and their families filled three jets and flew to London. From there they fanned out all over Europe sharing the good news of a better life with God and forming new chapters along the way. This was followed in succeeding years by more “Airlifts” to Europe, Africa, the Near East and the Far East. An exciting “Airlift” to Vietnam was conducted during the height of the war – the TET offensive. Thirty-Two FGBMFI members witnessed many miracles as they met with soldiers all over Vietnam. Even to this day our “Airlifts” have the same impact.
The 1970’s – The Decade of Influence
The Fellowship launched an all-out effort to make the general public aware of FGBMFI in the 1970’s. One of the tools used was the “Good News” Television Show. In addition to the regular telecasts were several prime-time specials including “Good News America,” “The Happiest People on Earth,” and “Turning Point.” Another influential production was the release of the book “Happiest People on Earth,” telling the story of Demos and Rose Shakarian. During this time FGBMFI was beginning to have an effective influence on world leaders who were becoming friends of the Fellowship.
The 1980’s – The Decade of Unity
During the 1980’s FGBMFI numbered 2,646 chapters around the world. Every month it was estimated that 700,000 people met regularly in chapters. Later, in the 1980’s the beautiful FGBMFI International Headquarters was built in Costa Mesa, California. It was 160,000 square feet with 125 employees. The global organization, although spread across many nations, was uniting as one.
The 1990’s – The Decade of Transition
In 1993 the beloved founder of FGBMFI, Demos Shakarian, went home to be with the Lord. It was Demos’ keen desire to see his son, Richard Shakarian, follow him as the FGBMFI International President. When the moment came for Richard to take his father’s place, he conceded that he only knew to do one thing – pray. As he prayed, he felt impressed by God that his role would be “The Great Encourager.” Today, many will agree that Richard’s encouragement has spurred them on to do even greater things – to think higher and reach longer.
2000 and Beyond – Globalization
In this new millennium, FGBMFI has become one of the largest businessmen networks in the world. In over 85 nations and with thousands of chapters globally, the reach of FGBMFI is significant. From the Americas to China, from the Middle East to Africa… and beyond, FGBMFI is leading tens of thousands, even millions to a new and better life. Cities and nations are being changed for the good, one life at a time – a true grass roots effort. Now is the time to be a part of an organization making a real difference in the lives of people all around the world!