Franklin Graham Biography

William “Franklin” Graham III

President & CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse


July 14, 1952
Asheville, North Carolina


William Franklin “Billy” Graham Jr. and Ruth Bell Graham (both deceased)


Jane Austin Cunningham Graham, 1974


William Franklin “Will” Graham IV, 1975
Roy Austin Graham, 1977
Edward Bell Graham, 1979
Jane Austin “Cissie” Graham Lynch, 1986




Montreat College, A.S., 1974
Appalachian State University, B.A., 1978


Grace Community Church, Tempe, Arizona, 1982


President and CEO, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
President and CEO, Samaritan’s Purse

Board of Directors

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
Samaritan’s Purse


  • Through My Father’s Eye (co-authored with Donna Lee Toney, Thomas Nelson, 2018)
  • Rocks, Dirty Birds and Briars: Sowing Truth in a Time of Lies (co-authored with Donna Lee Toney, Worthy, 2016)
  • Operation Christmas Child: A Story of Simple Gifts (co-authored with Donna Lee Toney, B&H Publishing, 2013)
  • The Sower: Finding Yourself in the Parables of Jesus (co-authored with Donna Lee Toney, Worthy, 2012)
  • Billy Graham in Quotes (co-authored with Donna Lee Toney, Thomas Nelson, 2011)
  • Wing and a Prayer (Tommy Nelson, 2005)
  • All for Jesus (co-authored with Ross Rhoads, Thomas Nelson, 2003)
  • Kids Praying for Kids (Thomas Nelson, 2003)
  • The Name (Thomas Nelson, 2002)
  • Living Beyond the Limits: A Life in Sync with God (Thomas Nelson, 1998)
  • Rebel with a Cause: Finally Comfortable Being Graham (autobiography, Thomas Nelson, 1995)
  • Miracle in a Shoe Box (Thomas Nelson, 1995)
  • Bob Pierce: This One Thing I Do (Word, 1983)


  • Hall of Faith, Conference of Southern Baptist Convention Evangelists, 2014
  • Watchman Award, presented by Family Research Council, 2014 Honorary Chairman, National Day of Prayer, 2010
  • “Daniel of the Year” by World magazine, 2002
  • “Tar Heel of the Year” by The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), 1999
  • William Booth Award, presented by The Salvation Army, 1996
  • Honorary Doctorates: Lees-McRae College, LeTourneau University, Liberty University, National University, Toccoa Falls College, Whitworth College

Growing Up Graham

William Franklin Graham III, born July 14, 1952, is the fourth of five children of the late evangelist Billy Graham and his wife, the late Ruth Bell Graham. Raised in a log home in the Appalachian Mountains outside Asheville, North Carolina, Franklin now lives in Boone, North Carolina, with his wife, Jane. They have four married children—Will, Roy, Edward and Cissie—and 13 grandchildren.

In his autobiography, Rebel with a Cause, Franklin explained that “just being the son of Billy Graham won’t get me into heaven.” He knew that he was being called to do more with his life and to make a real commitment to God. So at age 22, after a period of rebellion and traveling the world, Franklin committed his life to Jesus Christ while alone in a hotel room in Jerusalem.

International Relief Worker

When Franklin was in his early twenties, Bob Pierce, founder of Samaritan’s Purse, invited Franklin to join him on a six-week mission to Asia. It was during that time that Franklin felt a calling to work with hurting people in areas of the world affected by war, famine, disease, poverty and natural disaster. He said, “I’ve been called to the slums of the streets and the ditches of the world.”

Franklin was elected to the board of Samaritan’s Purse in 1978; one year later, following the death of Pierce, he was elected president. Today, he serves as president and CEO of the international relief and evangelism organization headquartered in Boone, North Carolina. Samaritan’s Purse works in the Name of Jesus Christ to provide relief and assistance in more than 100 countries. It has affiliate offices in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, plus partners and field offices around the world.


Franklin conducted his first evangelistic event in 1989 and now conducts Crusades, called Festivals, around the world for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He has proclaimed the Gospel message at more than 275 evangelistic events in 50 states and U.S. territories, and more than 50 countries since 1989. In 2016, Franklin Graham launched the Decision America Tour which called people to pray and to engage in local civic opportunities in each of the 50 U.S. capitals, subsequently resulting in numerous regionally-focused tours. This spring, he will again share Good News on the six-city Tidewater God Loves You Tour.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association appointed Franklin Graham CEO in 2000 and president of the organization in 2001.

Christian Leader

As a speaker and author, Franklin regularly addresses current moral and social issues, calling Christians to stand for biblical values and challenging them to make a difference in the world for the sake of the Gospel. He also offers biblical context and application to current national and world events. Through the organizations he leads, he has been instrumental in helping people impacted by crises including 9/11 and other terrorist attacks; civil war in Sudan; and natural disasters ranging from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to earthquakes in Japan, Haiti and China. He has met privately with five U.S. presidents as well as world leaders from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Franklin is editor-in-chief of Decision magazine, the “Evangelical Voice of Today,” which features solid biblical teaching as well as cutting-edge stories about issues and events in today’s world, from a biblical worldview.

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