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November 28, 2020


Where Does $100 to Samaritan’s Purse Go (2019)?

by Anne Paddock

Samaritan’s Purse is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501 (c) (3) established in 1970 by Bob Pierce who died in 1978. W. Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) became Chairman, President, and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse in 1979 and has held the position since although he is also an evangelist for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Based out of Boone, North Carolina, Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational Christian organization that provides “spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.”  How do they do this?  Primarily through grants (i.e. shoebox gifts:  a box filled with toys, supplies, and hygiene items) which average about 40% of revenue. The rest of the revenue is spent on staff, travel and conferences, supplies, office supplies, advertising, and more. Read on for more specifics.

In 2019, Samaritan’s Purse reported total revenue of $734 million (compared to $700 million in 2018) most of which came from cash contributions ($477 million) and non-cash contributions ($243 million). Non-cash contributions were primarily shoe box items.

Expenses totaled $669 million (not including $20 million in depreciation) and were classified as follows:

  • $271 million (37% of revenue):  Grants (primarily shoebox gifts)
  • $156 million (21% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $ 48 million (7% of revenue):  Travel and Conferences
  • $ 42 million (6% of revenue):  Project Materials
  • $ 41 million (6% of revenue):  Office-Related Expenses
  • $ 31 million (4% of revenue):  Construction Program Materials
  • $ 26 million (3% of revenue):  Transport Relief Materials
  • $ 17 million (2% of revenue):  Fees for Outside Services
  • $ 15 million (2% of revenue):  Advertising and Promotion
  • $ 12 million (2% of revenue):  Bible Materials
  • $ 10 million (1% of revenue):  Other Expenses

As illustrated above the two largest expenses are grants (primarily shoebox gifts) and compensation for the 3,305 employees who received an average compensation of $47,200. The most highly compensated employee was William Franklin Graham, the Chairman, President and CEO who received $722,403.

Using the above information, every $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100:  Revenue

-$ 37:  Grants (primarily shoebox gifts)

-$  6:  Project Materials

-$  4:  Construction Program Materials

-$  3:  Transport Relief Materials

-$  2:  Bible Materials

-$ 52: Subtotal:  Grants and Materials

 $ 48:  Revenue Remaining

-$ 21:  Compensation

-$  7:  Travel and Conferences

-$  6:  Office-Related Expenses

-$  2:  Fees for Outside Services

-$  2:  Advertising and Promotion

-$  1:  Other Expenses

-$ 39: Subtotal: Organization Expenses

 $  9:  Unspent Revenue:  To General Assets 

As illustrated above, Samaritan’s Purse spent $91 out of every $100 received with $48 spent on grants (primarily shoebox gifts) and materials. $39 out of every $100 was spent on organization expenses leaving $9 unspent and allocated to the general fund.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2019), click here.

  1. Jon Zig
    Mar 19 2021

    That’s really sad. So much self delusion it’s embarrassing. I don’t contribute to them, but I just lost a lot of respect for the organization and its leaders after seeing the numbers. These jobs can be taxing and require a full life commitment for some. But it’s supposed to be for the least among us, not top CEO wages. $777k plus all that comes with it? The president of the USA makes $450k per year. Just a little perspective for those in the 503 C Millionaires Club. “They will know you by your deeds”. Reality bits!

  2. Nov 30 2020

    Quite high overhead for a non-profit that claims to have “done our utmost to follow Christ’s command by going to the aid of the world’s poor, sick, and suffering. We are an effective means of reaching hurting people in countries around the world with food, medicine, and other assistance in the Name of Jesus Christ.”

    To me, “utmost” includes foregoing a huge salary and first-class travel.

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