Today marks the 50th anniversary since the official establishment of USAID on November 3, 1961 by Pres. Kennedy. However, the roots of USAID and the U.S.'s foreign assistance goes back to the Marshall Plan following World War II.
The organization has gone through many changes and evolutions and still is in a continual improvement process (Kaizen anyone?) to become better equipped to be more effective in foreign assistance. Despite the challenges, I greatly believe in the mission of the organization to 1. Support US foreign policy in expanding democracy and free markets, and 2. Improve the lives of citizens in the developing world. And these assistance programs, which have considerable influence around the world, amount to less than .05% of the US federal budget.
It's a great privilege to be able to have the opportunity to travel, learn new cultures and languages, meet interesting people, support the US, and be able to directly work on improving the lives of people around the world. USAID is one of the best representations of the American people and their values to the world abroad. It is really an amazing place to be able to work.