Measuring the success of World Vision's efforts might require little more than turning on a TV. The Christian relief organization has capitalized on direct funding appeals since 1950, most notably commercials featuring hungry children in impoverished countries that encourage child sponsorship.
The result? Almost $650 million in annual direct giving in fiscal 2005, supplying the bulk of World Vision's $900 million revenue that year.
World Vision has spread its wealth over nearly 100 countries in which its 22,000 employees work to improve the lives of Third World children and families. The organization is known for providing access to clean water, food and education for sponsored children, and more recently has tackled natural disaster and HIV/AIDS relief.
Child and family sponsors, whom World Vision calls "stewards of God's resources," are the nonprofit's primary funders, but a fair share of the budget is also supported by the U.S. government.
In fiscal 2005, World Vision received more than $240 million in federal funding, continuing a 30-year financial relationship. Although direct sponsorship can be used to provide "spiritual nurture" and all employees must assent to a statement of Christian faith, World Vision said its government funds are not used for religious purposes.
In HIV/AIDS relief specifically, World Vision's prevention, care and advocacy work has been largely financed through U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) grants.
Its work has carried over into the President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Bush administration's five-year, $15 billion initiative to fight HIV/AIDS in the world. Through PEPFAR, World Vision administered more than $11.7 million for programs in Haiti, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia in 2005.