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Sometimes big is beautiful. When the tsunami devastated South Asian shorelines the day after Christmas, 2004, World Vision's far-flung partnership already had 3,700 staff in five of the most affected countries: Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and Myanmar. Warehouses in each of those countries contained emergency supplies. India's long-standing resistance to foreign aid made little impact, since World Vision is not considered a foreign organization-it has decades of experience in the country.

Additional relief supplies were airlifted in from stocked warehouses in Europe, the Middle East, and North America. A team of 24 trained disaster specialists flew in. Two days after the tsunami, World Vision U.S. purchased full-page ads in major newspapers such as The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. The ads read, "World Vision is there." It's true. Almost anywhere you care to name—and in places you probably can't—World Vision is there.

World Vision has become one of the largest Christian organizations in the world, employing 22,000 people in 100 countries. The group raised $1.5 billion last year, and its budget dwarfs such substantial relief and development groups as CARE, Doctors without Borders, World Relief, and Samaritan's Purse. (World Vision's budget is roughly three times that of CARE, thirty times that of World Relief.)

As World Vision has grown—it has tripled its budget in the last eight years—it has become an increasingly important player in world humanitarian aid. International president Dean Hirsch has addressed the U.N. General Assembly, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization. A U.S. ambassador once exclaimed, "You've got more people in Mozambique than the U.S. government has in ...

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The Colossus of Care
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March 2005

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