How $100 is Spent at Turning Point (2020)
Turning Point USA (Turning Point) is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501 (c) 3 that advocates conservative principles on high school, college, and university campuses and in convention centers that focus on attracting high schoolers, college students, and young adults ages 15-25 who they often refer to as activists.
Established in 2012 by Charles Kirk, the President who received nearly $430,000 in compensation, flew first class, and had a discretionary spending account (as do all officers), according to the Form 990 (2019 for the year ending June 30, 2020) submitted to the IRS.
Turning Point is overseen by 4 voting members of the governing body, 3 of whom are independent. All directors are male.
Total revenue in 2020 was reported to be $40 million (compared to $29 million the prior year), of which $28 million came from contributions, gifts, and grants. $1 million came from a related organization while $10 million came from fundraising events.
Expenses were reported to be $38 million but $17 million of the expenses (42% of revenue) included a “grant” and assistance to an affiliated organization: Turning Point USA Endowment (which operates out of the same office as Turning Point), which if excluded means expenses totaled $21 million (53% of revenue). The $21 million in expenses can be categorized as follows:
- $8 million (20% of revenue): Compensation
- $7 million (18% of revenue): Travel and Conventions
- $2 million (5% of revenue): Printing, Publications, Videos, Digital
- $2 million (5% of revenue): Office-Related Expenses
- $1 million (3% of revenue): Fees for Services (i.e. primarily fundraising)
- $1 million (2% of revenue); Advertising and Promotion
Based on the above information, every $100 in revenue was spent as follows:
-$ 20: Compensation
-$ 18: Travel and Conventions
-$ 5: Printing, Publications, Videos, Digital
-$ 5: Office-Related Expenses
-$ 3: Fees for Services
-$ 2: Advertising and Promotion
-$ 53: Total Expenses
$ 47: Remaining Revenue
-$ 42: Grant to Turning Point USA Endowment
$ 5: Remaining Revenue: To General Fund
The above information reveals that Turning Point USA is primarily engaged in convention center events with speakers brought in to speak to the “activist” 15-25 year olds, with most of the expenses listed above tied to these events either directly or indirectly.
425 (up from 272 the prior year) employees received $8 million in compensation which equates to an average compensation of $19,000 – very low. 4 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation:
- $429,727: Charles Kirk, President
- $152,532: Joshua Thifault, Adv Strategic Director
- $152,168: Tyler Bower, Asst Secretary, COO
- $128,499: Justin Olson, Asst Treasurer, CFO
The 4 most highly compensated employees are male.
Turning Point paid for first class and/or charter travel. See the Form 990, Schedule J, Part III, Supplemental Information for details on this expense.
14 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation with the five (5) most highly compensated listed as follows:
- $538,198: Rally Forge, LLC, of Queen Creek, AZ for digital education
- $351,897: Lionrock Ventures, of Los Angeles, CA for fundraising/event planning
- $349,470: Mosaic Event Productions, of Phoenix, AX for video production
- $295,119: FX Entertainment of Arlington, TX for video production
- $262,184: Shaffer Security Group, of Irving, TX for security
The bottom line is that Turning Point is a tax-exempt non-profit organization that primarily engages in conducting conventions targeting 15-25 year olds to hear speakers that support a conservative agenda while paying the President of the organization nearly $430,000 annually, and also paying for first class travel/charter travel. If you donated $100, then $42 of your donation went to Turning Point USA Endowment while $53 out of the $100 went to pay organization expenses; $5 of the $100 was added to the general fund (think savings account).