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Catholic Relief Services

CharityWatch report issued
October 2019

Top-Rated Charity
CharityWatch Grade
Our independent grade based
on a number of factors.
Program Percentage
Amount spent on programs
relative to overhead.
Cost to Raise $100
Amount spent to raise
$100 of contributions.

Contact Information

Catholic Relief Services
228 West Lexington Street
Baltimore , MD 21201

Other Names


Tax Status




Stated Mission

The official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the U.S.; provides assistance to the poor overseas without regard to race, religion or nationality by responding to emergencies and fighting poverty.

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Data based on Fiscal Year Ended 09/30/2018

Program Percentage: 91%

The percentage of Catholic Relief Services's cash budget it spends on programs relative to overhead (fundraising, management, and general expenses).


Calculated Total Expenses



Cost to Raise $100: $10

How many dollars Catholic Relief Services spends on fundraising to raise each $100 of contributions.


Calculated Total Contributions


Joint Costs

Catholic Relief Services' rating was adjusted for Joint Costs. If you are a donor who considers direct mail, telemarketing, and other Joint Cost solicitations to be true charitable programs, the below efficiency ratios, which were not adjusted for joint costs, may better reflect your goals.

Program % Cost to Raise $100
92% $9
Accounting rules allow charities to report some telemarketing, direct mail, and other solicitation costs as Program expenses. CharityWatch believes that most donors do not consider a charity's solicitation activities to be the Programs they are intending to support with their donations. We therefore adjust such expenses out of a charity's reported Program expense and add it to Fundraising expense prior to calculating its rating.

Government Funding

50% to 100%

Percentage of cash revenue
coming from government sources


Financial Documents

Entity Document Type Tax ID
Catholic Relief Services USCCB IRS Form 990 (Pro Forma) 13-5563422
Catholic Relief Services--U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Audited Consolidated Financial Statements Multiple
Entity: Catholic Relief Services USCCB
Document Type: IRS Form 990 (Pro Forma)
Tax ID: 13-5563422
Entity: Catholic Relief Services--U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Document Type: Audited Consolidated Financial Statements
Tax ID: Multiple

Governance & Transparency

CharityWatch evaluates certain criteria related to a charity's Governance and Transparency. Donors may want to consider a charity's willingness to be open and transparent with CharityWatch to be a good litmus test for determining its commitment to public accountability.
This charity is Top-Rated
What does it mean to be Top-Rated?
Catholic Relief Services
meets governance benchmarks.
Catholic Relief Services
meets transparency benchmarks.
Provides Financial Information
Audit Accessibility
Governance: Policies
Reports regularly & consistently monitoring & enforcing compliance with a written Conflict of Interest Policy
Reports required, annual disclosure by officers, directors, and key staff of interests that could give rise to conflicts
Reports having a written Whistleblower Policy
Reports having a written Document Retention and Destruction Policy
Governance: Financials
Reports providing copy of tax form to all board members prior to filing it with IRS
Reports that financial statements were audited by an independent accountant
Governance: Board of Directors
Reports at least 5 voting board members
51% or more of voting board members reported as independent
Reports documenting minutes of board and board committee meetings
Privacy Policy
Privacy Policy Opt-Out Policy  

  Name Title Compensation
1 Sean Callahan President $500,367
2 Schuyler Thorup Executive VP, Overseas Operations $328,467
3 Mark Palmer Past CFO $281,406
Name: Sean Callahan
Title: President
Compensation: $500,367
Name: Schuyler Thorup
Title: Executive VP, Overseas Operations
Compensation: $328,467
Name: Mark Palmer
Title: Past CFO
Compensation: $281,406

CharityWatch Analysts perform an in-depth analysis of charities' audited financial statements and IRS tax filings, and often review other documents such as state filings, annual reports, and fundraising contracts during their evaluations. Below are select notes that CharityWatch believes may be of interest to donors.

According to the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) consolidated audit of September 30, 2018 (Note 10, Donated Agriculture, Other Commodities and Ocean Freight), CRS received "Total donated agriculture, other commodities and ocean freight" in fiscal 2018 on which it placed a value of approximately $229.22 million.

[Note: CharityWatch generally excludes the value of in-kind (non-cash) donations of goods and services from its calculations of Program % and Cost to Raise $100. More information on how grades are calculated and the treatment of in-kind donations can be found on the Our Process page.]

According to the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) consolidated audit of September 30, 2018 (Note 16, Commitments and Contingencies):

"CRS entered into a six-year service agreement with a software vendor, effective March 1, 2017, for a minimum financial commitment of $7.2 million over that period. Termination rights under the agreement are only for a breach upon 30 days' notice. As of September 30, 2108, the remaining minimum commitment is $6,2 million."


"During the year ended September 30, 2018, CRS identified a probable loss of assets relating to a distribution activity in a single overseas operating location. CRS is fully complying with the funder's requests for information. As the matter is still pending resolution, CRS has estimated a contingent liability for the probable loss using information obtained from the investigation as to the nature of how the loss occurred relative to the volume of the overall activity. CRS's estimate of this contingent liability is $10 million and has been accrued in the [audited] financial statements as of September 30, 2018. The actual loss (reimbursement to funder), if any, may vary from the estimate and that variance could be material."

According to the Catholic Relief Services consolidated audit of September 30, 2018 (Note 3, Concentration of Credit Risk):

"Cash and cash equivalents and segregated investments include demand deposits that are maintained at various financial institutions in the United States and foreign countries. The total deposits at institutions in the United States exceed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance limits. Deposits held at institutions outside of the United States are not subject to insurance. At September 30, 2018 and 2017, $61,241,000 and $112,288,000, respectively, of deposits were in excess of FDIC insurance including $29,698,000 and $43,536,000, respectively, held in numerous financial institutions outside of the United States..."