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November 30, 2020

Executive Compensation at Samaritan’s Purse (2019)

by Anne Paddock

Samaritan’s Purse – based out of Boone, North Carolina – 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.

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 compensation, 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) with the largest expenses (after grants) being compensation ($156 million) for the 3,305 employees, which equates to an average compensation of $47,200.  111 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation. The 13 most highly compensated employees were:

  • $722,403:  William Franklin Graham, III, Chairman, President and CEO
  • $349,108:  Phyllis Payne, Board Member, Assistant Secretary, VP-CA
  • $343,868:  Ronald Wilcox, COO
  • $337,310:  James Harrelson, VP, Ops, Christmas Child
  • $328,068:  Kenneth Isaacs, VP, Program and Gov’t Relations
  • $317,952:  Paula Woodring, VP, Quality Assurance
  • $313,815:  William Maupin, VP, Info Technology
  • $309,059:  Merrill Littlejohn, VP Finance, CFO
  • $306,884:  James Dailey, VP, Communications
  • $301,914:  Christopher Weeks, CLO, Direct Affiliate Officer
  • $287,582:  Todd Chasteen, VP, Public Policy
  • $271,408:  Luther Harrison, VP, North America Ministries
  • $218,482:  Donna Pierce, Secretary

10 of the 13 (77%) most highly compensated employees are male while 3 of the 13 (23%) are female.

Samaritan’s Purse paid for first class and charter travel. See Schedule J, Part III of the Form 990  for more information

Samaritan’s Purse paid for companion travel. See Schedule J, Part III of the Form 990 for more information.

Samaritan’s Purse made gross up payments and tax indemnification. See Schedule J, Part III of the Form 990 for more information.

Samaritan’s Purse paid for personal services. See Schedule J, Part III of the Form 990 for more information.

Edward Graham, the son of a director, received $163,465 in compensation/benefits.

Corey Lynch, the spouse of a director, received $101,002 in compensation/benefits.

Marty Cottrell, the son-in-law of a director, received $89,626 in compensation/benefits.

Jessica Zerkle, the daughter of a key employee, received $66,648 in compensation/benefits.

Ann Littlejohn, the daughter of an officer, received $61,400 in compensation/benefits.

John Payne, the spouse of a director, received $50,569 in compensation/benefits.

Jane Graham, the spouse of a director, received $46,503 in compensation/benefits.

Jeremy Zerkle, the son-in-law of a key employee, received $34,275 in compensation/benefits.

William Furman, the son of an officer, received $21,630 in compensation/benefits.

27 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation. The 5 most highly compensated independent contractors were reported to be:

  • $822,964:  POIT, LLC of Dallas, TX, for IT Consulting
  • $757,753:  BRPH Architects of Melbourne, FL for architectural design
  • $651,960:  Health City Cayman Islands, of High Rock, CJ for medical surgery
  • $542,972:  LS3P Associates, of Charlotte, NC for architectural design
  • $396,914:  M Arthur Gentler, Jr. and Associations, of Los Angeles, CA for architectural design

Approximately $1.7 million was spent on architectural design services which lends itself to asking why did Samaritan’s Purse spend this much money on architectural design services when there seem to be so many other pressing problems in the world related to hunger, health, and education?

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

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