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April 3, 2022

Executive Compensation at Mercy Ships

by Anne Paddock

Mercy Ships is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501 (c) (3) headquartered in Lindale, Texas, that operates two hospital ships in developing countries to provide free medical care.  Described as a “predominately Christian interdenominational missionary organization, Mercy Ships “treats all patients….without regard to their religions, race, or gender” by navigating the ship to offshore locations.

There are ten voting members (directors) of the governing body, 9 of whom are independent; 9 are male while 1 is female.

In 2020, Mercy Ships reported total revenue of $110 million (compared to $106 million in 2019) with most revenue from contributions, gifts, and grants ($109 million including $17 million from a related organization (Mercy Ships Foundation, also a 501 (c) (3)).

Expenses totaled $79 million in 2020 ($31 million less than total revenue) with the two largest expenses reported to be compensation ($20 million or 18% of revenue) and fees for outside services ($14 million or 13% of revenue).

Because  Mercy Ships has spent considerably less than they have raised, the organization has accumulated $163 million in net assets by year-end 2020.

348 employees received $20 million in compensation, which equates to an average compensation of $58,000. 16 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 9 most highly compensated reported to be:

  • $300,025:  Don Stephens, Founder
  • $287,190:  Tom Stogner, Director, CEO
  • $219,172:  Fred Grote, CFO
  • $173,113:  Jitze Kramer, VP, Global Branding
  • $159,369:  Kerry Peterson, VP, Advancement
  • $142,485:  Kyle Nabors, COO
  • $138,587:  Stephanie Sparks, VP, Resource Development
  • $138,540:  Amy Nyquist, Dev Manager, Western US
  • $128,723:  Jay L Manns, Director, Information Security

The 9 most highly compensated employees received $1.7 million in compensation.  5 of the 9 most highly compensated employees are male while 4 of the 9 are female.

Mercy Ships pays for first class or charter travel. Specifically, the Founder, Don Stephens has “medical conditions” that require upgraded travel.

Stephanie Sparks, a family member related to Don Stephens, received $138,612 in compensation for employment (although Part V

Charles Stephens, a family member related to Don Stephens, received 63,207 in compensation for employment.

49 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 5 most highly compensated reported to be:

  • $1.8 million:  USPS, of Washington, DC for postage
  • $1.5 million:  Daniel J Edelman, Inc, JP Morgan Chase, of Chicago, IL for global media provider
  • $1.4 million:  We are Changemakers, of Pasadena, CA for mail solicitations
  • $1.4 million:  Livful, Inc, of Alpharetta, GA for supplies
  • $1.2 million:  Tenerife Offshore and Shipping Agency, Tenarife, Spain for shipping agent

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

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