Mountain mission.

Position:WESTERN REGION - Organization overview

One of North Carolina's largest and fastest-growing philanthropies is Samaritan's Purse, a Boone-based Christian charity led by Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham. Over the last decade, income has more than doubled to $520.4 million in 2014, according to Jim Loscheider, vice president of donor ministries. Aided by more than 150,000 volunteers, Samaritan's Purse is best known for distributing shoeboxes filled with gifts and personal-care products across the world through its Operation Christmas Child program. "Last year, we collected a total of 10.4 million boxes, and this year hope to collect 11 million shoebox gifts," Loscheider says. "For many of these kids, it will be the first gift they have ever received." Evangelist Bob Pierce started the nonprofit in 1970 to spread Christianity in remote, impoverished areas around the world. He founded Federal Way,

Wash.-based World Vision, another evangelistic group, in 1950. Pierce died in 1978, and Franklin Graham--who graduated from Appalachian State University that year--took over Samaritan's Purse a year later. Graham, who lives in Boone, previously co-founded World Medical Mission, which became an arm of Samaritan's Purse. The medical group provides physicians, supplies and other aid at hospitals and clinics across the world, fighting poverty and disease.

Samaritan's Purse was thrust into the limelight last year when one of its physicians, Dr. Kent Brantly, contracted Ebola in Liberia. After emergency medical treatment in Atlanta, he recovered and has written a book about his work in Africa. "The increased media exposure introduced Samaritan's Purse to many people for the first time, which resulted in more people becoming aware of what we do, praying for the tremendous needs and giving financially to help fight Ebola," Loscheider says. Major relief efforts in recent years have included assisting...

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