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November 26, 2021

Executive Compensation at Samaritan’s Purse (2020)

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 in 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. transporting shoebox gifts:  a box filled with toys, supplies, and hygiene items) which for the past several years averaged 40% of revenue although in 2020, the percentage was lower at 28% because Samaritan’s Purse focused on building up net assets and to do this they spent significantly less than they collected:  Samaritan’s Purse only spent $72 out of every $100 raised.  In actual dollars, Samaritan’s Purse raised about $895 million, spent about $670 million, putting about $225 million in savings in 2020.

In 2020, Samaritan’s Purse reported total revenue of $894 million (compared to $734 million in 2019 and $700 million in 2018) most of which came from cash contributions ($583 million), non-cash contributions ($215 million) and government grants ($67 million). Non-cash contributions were primarily shoe box items.

Expenses totaled $648 million (not including $22 million in depreciation) –  with the two largest expenses reported to be grants ($248 million) and compensation ($171 million).

4,039 employees received $171 million in  compensation, which equates to an average compensation of $42,300.  167 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 13 most highly compensated reported to be:

  • $740,704:  William Franklin Graham III, Board Member, Chairman, Pres, CEO
  • $352,677:  Ronald Wilcox, COO
  • $347,351:  Kenneth Isaacs, VP, Programs/Gov’t Relations
  • $344,673:  James Harrelson, VP, Op/Christmas Child
  • $342,418:  Christopher Weeks, Chairman, Affiliate Office
  • $326,670:  Paula Woodring, Board Member, VP, Quality Assurance
  • $324,309:  William Maupin, VP, Info Technology
  • $314,982:  James Dailey, VP, Communications
  • $314,849:  Merrill Littlejohn, VP, Finance/CFO
  • $311,020:  Brian Gresham, Director, OCCA Affiliate Office
  • $289,373:  Phyllis Payne, Board Member, Asst Secy, EA Pres
  • $280,357:  Luther Harrison, VP, North American Ministry
  • $245,715:  Donna Pierce, Secretary,VP, Corporate Affairs

The 13 most highly compensated employees received more than $4 million in compensation.  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 or charter travel, travel for companions, and personal services (such as maid, chauffeur, or chef). In addition, Samaritan’s Purse made gross up payments or provided tax indemnification. For more information on these expenses, see the Form 990, Schedule J, Part III, Supplemental Information.

Edward Graham, the son of a director (William Franklin Graham) received $191,957 as compensation for employment.

Marty Cottrell, the son-in-law of a director received $86,774 as compensation for employment.

For a complete list of transactions with interested persons, see the Form 990, Schedule L, Part IV, Business Transactions involving Interested Persons.

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

  • $588,876:  POIT, LLC, of Dallas, TX for IT consulting
  • $582,693:  NC Baptist Church, of Winston-Salem, NC for medical services
  • $464,730:  Flight Safety Int’l, of Charlotte, NC for flight safety
  • $339,569:  WS Insight, of Juba, OD, for security
  • $279,840:  Syska Hennessy, of Newark, NJ for engineering

To read the IRS Form 990 (2020), click here.

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