about upstream

We seek out world changers and difference makers around the globe, and equip them to fulfill their unique purpose.


Upstream International is a global Christian non-profit organization that works to bring people together to challenge poverty in creative ways. We believe that in every community, there are individuals who have untapped potential to make their community a better place but lack the necessities (training, structures, financial resources, etc.) to further their work. We partner with them, building relationships that bridge economic, cultural and religious divides, and empower them to lead. It is our dream to further break the cycle of dependence and build bridges for indigenous leaders to rise up and help equip the people around them. In each of us is a deep-seeded need to feel that we are making a difference and that our life counts for something outside of ourselves.

We all have a curiosity about our purpose and how it relates to the world around us and beyond. For those who have the desire to be a part of positive change in the world, we ask you to act and provide you an outlet to do so.


Upstream was created out of Joe Rigelsky, Founder, experiencing first-hand the magnitude of someone empowering him to be all that he was created to be. There was a leadership potential that was unmet until people gave him the opportunity to explore his God-given capabilities and give him chances to grow in character, skills and ability. All around the globe there are people who possess the unique abilities to combat unique challenges. Upstream was birthed out of the desire to pay the kindness shown to Joe forward and empower people by using creative ways to beat the difficulties they face in their lives and communities.





why upstream

At our 2018 DISTRICTS conference, attendees packaged up 100,000 meals and raised the money to have them shipped to Haiti for Upstream. This fall several of the DISTRICTS Conference Leadership Team was able to travel to Port Au Prince, Haiti and see, first hand, the difference that UPstream is making by listening, advising, and working together with the leaders of each area they serve.

The conference leadership team has felt a tug towards supporting UPstream International. We strongly believe in their mission to "seek our world changers and difference makers around the globe, and equip them to fulfill their unique purpose" and have been able to experience their mission in person. Therefore, DISTRICTS has made the decision to partner with UPstream for the next three years for child sponsorships.

We invite you to visit UPstream's website to learn more about their ministry and the areas they serve.