William Franklin Graham III (born July
14, 1952) is an American Christian evangelist and missionary.
He is president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and of Samaritan's
Purse, an international Christian relief organization. He has been a committed Christian since 1974 and was ordained in 1982.
William Franklin Graham III was born in Asheville, North Carolina on July 14, 1952 to evangelist Billy Graham and Ruth Bell. He is the fourth of their five children. As a teenager, Graham attended The Stony Brook School, a Christian
private school on Long Island, New York, and finished high school in North
In 1971, he attended LeTourneau
College in Longview, Texas, and was expelled from the school for keeping a female classmate out past curfew.
In 1974, he graduated from Montreat-Anderson College, now Montreat College, with an A.S. and
in 1978 from Appalachian State University with a B.A.
In 1974, the 22-year-old had a conversion experience, fully committing himself to Jesus Christ in a hotel room while on a trip to Jerusalem. He was ordained in 1982 by the Grace Community Church in Tempe, Arizona.
He married Jane Austin Cunningham of Smithfield,
North Carolina, in 1974. They have four children: William Franklin Graham IV (Will), born in 1975, Roy Austin Graham (1977), Edward Bell Graham
(1979) and Jane Austin Graham Lynch (Cissie) (1986). Lynch is now married to former National Football League safety Corey Lynch, . Graham and his wife have eleven grandchildren.
As a young man, Graham was actively mentored by two senior members of the Billy Graham Team; Roy Gustafson
and John Wesley White. These men worked alongside Billy Graham and had a desire to positively affect the life and ministry of the eldest son of their longtime friend and colleague. Graham began conducting events for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
in 1989 and became the CEO in 2000 and its president in 2002. Each
year, he conducts at least five Graham Festivals around the world as an evangelist associated with the BGEA. Since 1989, he has preached to
more than three million people in 126 evangelistic events.
On January 23, 1990, Graham was a guest on 100 Huntley Street.
went to Hong Kong from November 29, 2007, to December 2, 2007, to host the Hong Kong Franklin Graham Festival, the first major evangelistic rally in Hong Kong since its 1997 transfer of sovereignty, which drew more than 250,000 attendees.
Graham spoke at the 1999 Columbine High School memorial, and he also gave the opening prayer at
the 2001 inauguration of George W. Bush.
with Samaritan's Purse and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:
Shortly after identifying himself as having "become a Christian" in 1974, Graham joined Bob Pierce, founder of Samaritan's Purse, on a six-week mission to Asia. It was during this trip that Graham decided to focus on world
relief. In 1979, after the death of Pierce, he became the president of Samaritan's Purse. Graham now also serves as the organization's CEO, and heads efforts on behalf of the organization in more than 100 countries, including programs such as Operation Christmas Child and the "Children's Heart Project".
Samaritan's Purse reported gross receipts of $414,031,085 during the 2010 federal tax year. According to 2014 data, Graham is the highest paid Samaritan's Purse employee at $622,252 annually and leads
other charities in compensation. The preacher gave up a salary at the evangelistic association during the late economic downturn, but the leaders urged him to accept compensation again and he now receives increased retirement contributions as well as a regular salary. The evangelistic association reported 2013 revenues as $106.5 million and 2014 as $112,893,788.