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Ellsworth Culver, 78; Co-Founded Mercy Corps Organization

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Ellsworth Culver, 78, the co-founder and senior vice president of the Mercy Corps humanitarian organization, died Monday in Portland, Ore., of complications following cancer surgery, the group said.

Culver and partner Dan O’Neill established Mercy Corps in 1982. For the next decade, Culver oversaw its expansion of international relief and development programs into Africa, Asia and Central America. It is now a $173-million-a-year operation that reaches 7 million people in 35 countries.

Early in his career, Culver moved to Taiwan and then the Philippines, starting Overseas Crusades, a church-related service organization. He became executive vice president of World Vision International in 1958.

Culver later managed a public relations firm and organizations such as Food for the Hungry. He also designed and ran Involvement Corps, which formed corporate-employee task forces to work on inner-city projects.

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