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Who We Are

World’s Children is a hands-on, grassroots charity. We have helped orphans and vulnerable children through our child sponsorship program since 1965. We are not a large, corporate-style organization removed from the children we support.

The Beginning

World's Children Founders-who we areWorld’s Children was founded by the late Rev. Edwin and Mable Purviance in 1965. They wanted to create a living memorial for an infant they lost at childbirth. Realizing the grief they felt was akin to the loss and helplessness felt by children who lose their parents, the Purviances started World’s Children to support orphaned children in developing countries. Using their own savings they traveled to Central America and Asia seeking orphanages that were providing loving care but struggling to meet expenses. They selected appropriate orphanages and began making appeals for support in the US.

Who We Are Today

The support of World’s Children comes from everyday people who care deeply about forsaken children. World’s Children staff, board members and supporters are passionate about helping children.

World’s Children Key Staff

David Purviance Executive Director-who we areExecutive Director
World’s Children is administered by David Purviance. Prior to assuming responsibility for World’s Children, David lived in India for five years where he assisted with tsunami relief efforts, provided water wells and toilets to villages, schools and orphanages. He also worked with destitute street children. Before he moved to India, he was public relations director at the University of Montana. David is the son of the founders.

Cassady Thomas Program Director-who we areOperations Director
Cassady Thomas is the Operations Director of World’s Children. She became a member of the WC staff in 2010. In 2012 she traveled to India to provide training in childhood wellness to the administrators of most of the orphanages supported by World’s Children in India. She is the co-author of The Healthy Child Handbook: A Guide to Childhood Wellness in Developing Countries. Cassady has a master’s degree in International Health.

Sarah MelchiorProgram Director
Sarah Melchior is the Program Director of World’s Children. Sarah has been with World’s Children since 2014. Sarah has a B.A. in psychology with a focus on children and adolescents. Sarah keeps our data organized and manageable; most of her time is spent coordinating with donors and home administrators. She has a heart for children and loves seeing their drawings, reading their letters, and looking at their smiling faces.

Jean Purviance Financial Manager-who we are
Financial Manager
Jean Purviance oversees the finances of World’s Children. She is a former business owner, sales director, and financial manager for small businesses since 1974.

Board of Directors

The World’s Children Board of Directors has seven committed members who have witnessed poverty around the world firsthand. They are dedicated to using World’s Children as a vehicle to uplift the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children.

President: Patrick Spiger (retired business owner)
Secretary: Jean Purviance (professional businesswoman)
Treasurer: Bruce Moore (business consultant)
Sridevi Talluri (policy analyst)
Roslyn Moore (author and retired school teacher)
Amisha Shah (clinical geneticist)
Dr. Marie Long (neurosurgeon)
Meghan Fitzgerald (Ph.D. candidate in Health Policy)
Rev. Elizabeth Oettinger (retired minister)

Mission Statement

Recognizing that children are often helpless victims of poverty and disaster and yet they will be the ones to shape the future, this organization will provide support, shelter, maintenance and education to children either directly or through institutions established to provide for the basic needs of orphaned, disabled, impoverished or otherwise disadvantaged children.

Our Work

World’s Children serves children in need. We partner with carefully screened orphanages and children’s hostels to help provide a loving and nurturing environment to children from traumatic backgrounds. We want our children to have a safe and loving childhood. We also want them to complete their education and become competent happy members of society.

Small is Beautiful

World’s Children is a small organization that has a personal relationship with its donors, sponsors, and the children we support. You will not receive junk mail from us. When you call our office, you won’t be lost in a maze of phone options. You will speak directly to a dedicated staff member. We will tell you exactly what your donation is used for.

Our donors live in every state in the US and several other countries. Though most have never met each other, there is a family feeling about our charity. This is because we put a high value on good communication. Our goal is to keep you informed about your sponsored child and the progress of the projects you support.


World’s Children adheres to strict standards of accountability and transparency both at home and abroad.


2015 Activity Pie Chart

2015 Annual Report



Strategic Partnerships

OSU Center for Global Health

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