FABSIT Foundation continues a long tradition of service in Turkey. It is the contemporary, secular heir of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions whose Congregational missionaries started the American Board schools and hospital in the nineteenth century.
The Board, later known in Turkey as the Amerikan Bord Heyeti (ABH), arrived in Ottoman lands in 1820. Despite restrictions on missionary activity enacted when the modern Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923, the American Board decided to continue its mission there—not to proselytize, but to educate and provide care through its schools, hospitals, orphanages and printing company. The American Board of Commissioners and its successor, the United Church Board for World Ministries (UCBWM), owned and managed the institutions until 1968, when Turkish law regarding charitable foundations was amended. Sağlık ve Eğitim Vakfı (SEV), Health and Education Foundation, was then formed by ABH personnel and graduates of the Board Schools in order to meet the new regulations, which required the transfer of the properties from foreign owners to a Turkish organization. SEV now also manages the institutions.
In the 1980’s, as a result of economic constraints and a changed focus of mission, the church discontinued its work in Turkey and established FABSIT as the secular organization to assume these U.S. based support functions and to be the U.S. strategic partner for SEV. FABSIT was incorporated in the state of Delaware in November 1986 and is recognized as a 501(c)(3) organization by the Internal Revenue Service. In 1996 FABSIT broadened its original educational mission to include support of the health care services and public health education provided at the Gaziantep American Hospital and the SEV Nursing School, which has since closed. Today, FABSIT continues to work closely with SEV to identify and meet the changing needs of these institutions for U.S.-based services.