Celebrating 30 years of helping you give wisely
America's most independent,
assertive charity watchdog
Top Rated

Samaritan's Purse

CharityWatch report issued
December 2021

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

Samaritan's Purse
PO Box 3000
Boone , NC 28607

Other Names

Operation Christmas Child

Tax Status


Stated Mission

A nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual & physical aid to hurting people around the world with the purpose of sharing God's love through His Son, Jesus Christ.

View similar charities
Accion International  
ActionAid USA  
Africare (DISSOLVED)  
Aid for Starving Children  
All Hands and Hearts  
American Friends Service Committee  
American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA)  
Archewell Foundation  
Brother's Brother Foundation  
Catholic Medical Mission Board  
Catholic Relief Services  
Central Asia Institute  
charity: water  
Church World Service (CWS)  
Comic Relief  
Convoy of Hope  
CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort)  
David Livingstone Missionary Foundation  
Direct Relief & Direct Relief Foundation  
Doctors Without Borders USA  
Engineers Without Borders - USA  
Episcopal Relief & Development  
FINCA International  
Fistula Foundation  
Global Communities  
GlobalGiving Foundation  
Grameen Foundation USA  
HealthRight International  
Heifer International  
Humanity & Inclusion  
International Medical Corps  
International Rescue Committee  
Islamic Relief-USA  
Lutheran World Relief & IMA World Health  
MAP International  
Medical Teams International  
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.  
Mercy Corps  
Muslim Aid USA  
New Incentives  
One Acre Fund  
Operation USA  
Opportunity International  
Partners In Health  
Planet Aid  
Project HOPE  
Refugees International  
ReSurge International  
Rotary Foundation of Rotary International  
Salesian Missions  
Sudan Relief Fund  
Team Rubicon  
Tearfund USA  
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)  
United States Association for UNHCR  
United States Fund for UNICEF  
United to End Genocide (DISSOLVED)  
World Central Kitchen  
World Concern  
World Emergency Relief  
World Neighbors  
World Villages for Children  
Zakat Foundation of America  
Data based on Fiscal Year Ended 12/31/2020

Program Percentage: 77%

The percentage of Samaritan's Purse'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 Samaritan's Purse spends on fundraising to raise each $100 of contributions.


Calculated Total Contributions


Joint Costs

Samaritan's Purse's 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
78% $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

0% to 24%

Percentage of cash revenue
coming from government sources


Financial Documents

Entity Document Type Tax ID
Samaritan's Purse IRS Form 990 58-1437002
Samaritan's Purse Audited Consolidated Financial Statements multiple
Entity: Samaritan's Purse
Document Type: IRS Form 990
Tax ID: 58-1437002
Entity: Samaritan's Purse
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?
Samaritan's Purse
meets governance benchmarks.
Samaritan's Purse
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 No Sharing  

  Name Title Compensation
1 William Franklin Graham III President/CEO $740,704
2 Ronald Wilcox COO $352,677
3 Kenneth Isaacs VP, Programs & Government Relations $347,351
Name: William Franklin Graham III
Title: President/CEO
Compensation: $740,704
Name: Ronald Wilcox
Title: COO
Compensation: $352,677
Name: Kenneth Isaacs
Title: VP, Programs & Government Relations
Compensation: $347,351

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.

CharityWatch's rating of Samaritan's Purse includes the financial activities of the "interrelated organizations" consolidated in the Samaritan's Purse audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020.

According to the Samaritan's Purse (the Ministry) 2020 consolidated audit (Note 1 re: Principles of Consolidation):

"The [audited] consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Ministry and its interrelated organizations, Samaritan's Purse (Kenya), Samaritan's Purse (Sri Lanka), Ippan Shadan Houjin Samaritan's Purse (Japan), and Samaritan's Purse (Korea). ... All interorganization transactions and account balances are eliminated [in the audit] upon consolidation."

According to the Samaritan's Purse (the Ministry) consolidated audit of December 31, 2020, the Ministry received contributed in-kind services from volunteers in 2020 on which it placed a value of approximately $7,200,000 (Note 1 re: Contributed Services). The Ministry also received contributed in-kind goods in 2020 on which it placed a value of approximately $202,300,000 (Note 1 re: Contributed Goods).

Also according to the Samaritan's Purse 2020 consolidated audit (Note 1 re: Contributed Goods):

"The Ministry receives donations of medical equipment, supplies and other materials for use in its programs. ... These donations include the receipt of individual gift boxes through the Operation Christmas Child project. This project collected approximately 7,400,000 and 8,900,000 gift boxes from individuals for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. The estimated value per gift box was $25.17 for 2020 and $24.21 for 2019...

"Gifts-in-kind distributed through the Ministry amounted to approximately $209,200,000 and $240,800,000 for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively."

According to the Ministry's 2020 tax filing, the Ministry placed a value of approximately $193.5 million on donated "Shoebox Gifts," which represents about 96% of the total value of donated goods received by the Ministry in 2020 (IRS Form 990, Schedule M).

[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 Samaritan's Purse (the Ministry) consolidated audit of December 31, 2020 (Note 10, Related-Party Transactions):

"The Chief Executive Officer, President, and Chairman of the Ministry serves as Chief Executive Officer, President, and Chairman of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (the 'Association'). The Association is controlled by an independent Board of Directors, though the two ministries share certain board members. The Ministry and the Association are engaged in related party transactions including a shared services agreement to gain efficiencies over administrative services supporting their individual ministries, receive and forward contributions intended for the other organization, transfer assets that align with the other organization's projects and activities, and staff and financially support joint ministry activities and disaster responses..."


"The Ministry maintains license agreements with the following unconsolidated organizations: Samaritan's Purse-Australia, The Samaritan's Purse-Canada, Samaritan's Purse International-United Kingdom, and Samaritan's Purse e.V. The agreements outline how the affiliated organizations coordinate program activities and the terms and conditions of their use of the Ministry's registered name and trademarks..."

According to the Samaritan's Purse (SP) 2020 tax filing, SP reports for Business Transactions Involving Interested Persons transactions described as "Comp/benefits" in the amounts shown below, related to 12 individuals who share a family relationship with an SP officer, director, or key employee (IRS Form 990, Schedule L, Parts IV & V):

(1) Edward Graham, Son of Director: $191,957
(2) Marty Cottrell, Son-in-law of Director: $86,774
(3) Jeremy Zerkle, 
Son-in-law of Key Employee: $83,239
(4) Ann Littlejohn, Daughter of Officer: $59,113
(5) John Payne, Spouse of Director: $51,793
(6) Corey Lynch, Spouse of Director: $49,300
(7) Jane Graham, Spouse of Director: $47,411
(8) Jessica Zerkle, Daughter of Key Employee: $45,510
(9) Tyler Pauls, Son of Director: $42,617
(10) Brittain Prevo, Grandson of Director: $42,082
(11) Andrew Harrelson, Son of Key Employee: $35,585
(12) Kristen Graham, Daughter-in-law of Director: $14,283

According to the Samaritan's Purse (SP) 2020 tax filing, SP reports re: the existence of a family or business relationship among officers, directors, trustees, or key employees that Franklin Graham, Board/Chair/CEO, has a family/business relationship with Roy Graham, Board Member, and also a family relationship with Jane Austin Lynch, Board Member (IRS Form 990, Schedule O re: Part VI, line 2).

Samaritan's Purse reports having 16 voting members on its governing body at the end of 2020, with nine voting members reported as independent (IRS Form 990, Part VI, lines 1a & 1b).

According to the Samaritan's Purse (the Ministry) consolidated audit of December 31, 2020 (Note 3, Property and Equipment):

"The Ministry has entered into agreements for property and asset acquisitions and capital improvements of approximately $14,661,000 as of December 31, 2020."

Related External Articles