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December 9, 2022

Executive Compensation at Samaritan’s Purse (2021)

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 few years average 27% of revenue 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 $67 out of every $100 raised but in actual dollars (meaning non-cash contributions and non-cash grants which are almost exactly the same amount), Samaritan’s Purse only spent $59 out of every $100 in cash raised which means the organizations added $300 million to savings in 2021 (note:  in 2020, Samaritan’s Purse added about $224 million to savings) which had $1.2 billion in net assets at year-end 2021.

In 2021, Samaritan’s Purse reported total revenue of $1 billion (compared to $894 million in 2020, $734 million in 2019 and $700 million in 2018) most of which came from cash contributions ($689 million), non-cash contributions ($255 million) and government grants ($52 million). Non-cash contributions were primarily shoe box items.

Expenses totaled $677 million (not including $29 million in depreciation) –  with the two largest expenses reported to be grants ($269 million) and compensation ($181 million).

4,234 employees received $181 million in  compensation, which equates to an average compensation of $43,000.  184 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 14 most highly compensated reported to be:

  • $807,479:  William Franklin Graham III, Board Member, Chairman, Pres, CEO
  • $383,400:  Christopher Weeks, Chairman, Affiliate Office
  • $361,045:  Brian Gresham, Director, OCCA Affiliate Office
  • $359,532:  Ronald Wilcox, COO
  • $353,114:  Kenneth Isaacs, VP, Programs/Gov’t Relations
  • $349,980:  James Harrelson, VP, Op/Christmas Child
  • $330,192:  William Maupin, VP, Info Technology
  • $329,125:  Meredith Collie, Director, Financial Affiliate Officer
  • $326,214:  James Dailey, VP, Communications
  • $323,201  Paula Woodring, Board Member, VP, Quality Assurance
  • $320,256:  Merrill Littlejohn, VP, Finance/CFO
  • $289,675:  Phyllis Payne, Board Member, Asst Secy, EA Pres
  • $250,822:  Donna Pierce, Secretary,VP, Corporate Affairs
  • $188,615:  Jane Austin Lynch, Board Member, Spokesperson

The 14 most highly compensated employees received $5 million in compensation.  9 of the 14 (64%) most highly compensated employees are male while 5 of the 14 (36%) are female. The 7 most highly compensated employees are male.

The most highly compensated employee is William Franklin Graham who received 4807,479 in compensation. Over the past 7 years, Mr. Graham has received more than $5 million in compensation:

  • $807,479:  2021
  • $740,704:  2020
  • $722,403:  2019
  • $696,193:  2018
  • $670,348:  2017
  • $713,846:  2016
  • $822,333:  2015

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 $234,761 as compensation for employment.
  • Marty Cottrell, the son-in-law of a director, received $88,831 as compensation for employment.
  • Jeremy Zerkle, the son-in-law of a director, received $87,582 as compensation for employment.
  • Tyler Pauls, the son of a director, received $77,798 as compensation for employment.
  • Ann Komel, the daughter of an officer, received $59,261 as compensation for employment.
  • John Payne, the spouse of a director, received $52,937 as compensation for employment.
  • Jane Graham, the spouse of a director, received $49,220 as compensation for employment.
  • Jessica Zerkle, the daughter of a key employee, received $43,545 as compensation for employment.
  • Austin Woodring, the son of a director, received $43,287 as compensation for employment.
  • Andrew Harrelson, the son of a key employee, received $26,405 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.

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

  • $1,120,461:  The Intersect Group, of Atlanta, GA for IT consulting
  • $  660,905:  LS3P Associates, of Atlanta, GA for architecture design
  • $  610,277:  NC Baptist Hospital, Winston Salem, NC for medical services
  • $  428,753:  AEGIS Security and Investigations, of Culver City, CA for security
  • $  290,687:  Johnston, Kinney, & Zulaica, of San Francisco, CA for legal work

To read the IRS Form 990 (2021), click here.

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