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Samaritan's Purse

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LAST UPDATED: November 10th, 2022
Samaritan's Purse was founded in 1970 and is headquartered in Boone, North Carolina. The current president and CEO, as well as chair of the board is Franklin Graham. Samaritan's Purse's program includes disaster recovery and relief, medical support and supplies, as well as its most well-known program Operation Christmas Child.

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The Good

  • 89.5 percent use on program delivery
  • Award winning

Fundraising Expenses

In 2015, Samaritan's Purse spent $38,971,587 of its annual revenue on fundraising.

Program Percentage

Most charity watchdog organizations expect charities to use an average of 70 percent or more of its annual revenue for program delivery. In 2015, Samaritan's Purse used 89.5 percent of its revenue for program delivery.


Samaritan's Purse was recognized by the Liberian government on the country's independence day. They were awarded the Global Image award and Officer Grade of the Order of the Star of Africa award for its role in assisting the Liberian government in its recent Ebola outbreak. Samaritan's Purse was the only international organization which was recognized with these prestigious awards in 2015. 2006 and 2015 Samaritan's Purse received Webby awards for its audio/visual communications. In 2006, the Webby was awarded to the organization for the best nonprofit/charitable organization category. Samaritan's Purse's winning presentation in 2015 was for a piece about the Sudanese people, entitled, "South Sudan - The Heartbeat of the Innocents."

The Bad

  • Past financial data is not available
  • Expensive administrative expenses
  • Negative press

Total Income

Samaritan's Purse does not publish financial data from past years on its website. Figures for 2014 and 2015 are available on the organization's consolidated financial statements and the IRS Form 990. Basic financial data for 2011-2013 is published by Charity Navigator. 2015: $593,792,192 2014: $504,967,964 2013: $457,723,576 2012: $374,091,979 2011: $384,903,502

Administrative Expenses

In 2015, Samaritan's Purse used $23,643,532 for administrative expenses. Of that, $572,145 was spent on Franklin Graham's salary. This is equivalent to 2.4 percent of the organization's expenses. Franklin Graham has been reported to have received salary from his father's organization of near the same amount, which is related to Samaritan's Purse. After the first allegation of his salary from both organizations, a space of a few years passed with Mr. Graham not receiving a reported salary from his father's organization, which was resumed in 2012.

Accessible Financial Information

Samaritan's Purse publishes financial information on its website; however, the organization does not publish its annual report or financial information from past years. This demonstrates a general lack of financial transparency.

Negative Press

Most of the external criticism for Samaritan's Purse falls under one of two categories: the organization's most well-known program, Operation Christmas Child, or about its current President and CEO, Franklin Graham. Operation Christmas Child Since 1990, Samaritan's Purse has asked for donations of shoeboxes filled with items for children in developing countries to share at Christmas. This program has been wildly successful, as millions have worked to participate in the call. Operation Christmas Child, while popular, has been a source of several criticisms. Some allege that the proselytizing work which goes along with the boxes is unethical or against their personal beliefs. Others are not aware of the addition of materials which are religious in nature, specifically promoting the ministry of Franklin Graham and his well-known father, Billy Graham. Others have alleged that the program itself is flawed and undermines the local economies of the developing countries by taking possible business away from local and smaller shops. Some reports state that the toys and trinkets included in the boxes are things which the children don't need or are otherwise culturally insignificant. Finally, perhaps the most serious criticism of the program comes with allegations that it is covertly racist, with boxes showing a variety of children printed upon them, with stereotypical images of children of color. Some even suggest that the program itself is flawed in that it does not promote independence,but a dependency on outside help. Franklin Graham There are many who do not agree with Franklin Graham's (or his father's) interpretation of Christianity; however, there are more serious issues which have plagued Samaritan's Purse. Franklin Graham has posted anti-Muslim statements on his personal Facebook page, calling for an end to all Muslim immigration. He has also been quoted speaking anti-Muslim rhetoric, describing the religion as "wicked," and "violent". Many people object to the large salaries that leaders of charitable organizations receive. Franklin Graham has been reported to be drawing two large salaries, one from Samaritan's Purse and the other from his father's ministry, with the combined total being over $1 million. His salary from Samaritan's Purse is considerably higher than leaders in other charitable organizations.

Donor Communication

Donors receive regular email and postal mail updates, usually additional fundraising requests. There are several people who have complained about the repeated solicitations from Samaritan's Purse. In fact, the only complaint which has been filed with the Wise Giving Alliance involved repeated attempts by an individual to remove their information from the organization's mailing lists which were unsuccessful. Samaritan's Purse maintains social media accounts with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Independent charity watchdog, Charity Navigator, has rated Samaritan's Purse with four out of a possible four stars. They also earned an overall score of 98.23 out of 100 for its financial disclosure and accountability.

The Bottom Line

The choice to support or not to support Samaritan's Purse is one which is dependent largely on one's religious and political views. Those who are in favor of more evangelical conservative Christian beliefs would possibly be more comfortable supporting the organization, while others may not feel the same. The organization lacks some transparency, which is unusual for charitable organizations, but not as uncommon for nonprofits which include active ministry in their programs.
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19 Reviews

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Chris Hughes Montreal, QC

I'm very upset with SP we had some kids from a non profit school raise $7,000 to go on a mission trip with SP but they never got to go on it because of Covid . We tried to get the money back in order to redo it another time and they refused to give the money back to the school kids who raised it. They said they would take the money the $7,000 as a donation but we tried and tried to get it back in order to put it towards this kid's mission trip but they refuse to refund the money. We asked if they could put it towards the following year but they refused. They said they would just take the money as a donation we tried and pleaded with them because the kids raised this money for missions with SP but it never happened. There was a lot of people very upset with this organization because of this and they'll never get another dime from us again unfortunately. You know it's really hard to pick a charity that is upfront in forthcoming it shouldn't be that way. But whenever there's money involved there's always corruption.

3 weeks ago

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Aaron Duke Auburn, AL

I worked with Samaritan’s Purse in 2019 in Beauregard, AL. Complete scam. All of the volunteers and volunteer leaders didn’t help with any clean up! They either stood around and talked amongst themselves, walked around taking pictures, and/or walked around reading scripture to these people affected by the tornado. It was the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. I would really encourage people not to donate money to them as I really question where the majority of that money goes because I have witnessed first-hand that their volunteers aren’t concerned with helping. I think most of them just wanted to see the chaos and destruction. Never once did it cross their mind to actually help some of the affected.

11 months ago

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Polly Newcastle upon Tyne, NET

I called the company to ask when I would be informed of where my box had went to, the lady who I spoke to was lovely she then put me through to a man who could answer a question I had about when exactly the boxes get sent to the children PRIOR to the current pandemic. He then informed me that it can be as long as 12 weeks for children to get their boxes after we have given them. He also said this didnt matter because the majority of the children in Africa who get them are not Christian. This floored me. A completely disgusting and stupid remark to make. I interrupted on that note to say, and I must say I said calmly that there are many children in the world who are not christian but still celebrate Christmas with gifts. I said I would not be choosing to help Samaritans Purse in the future. To which the man started shouting at me on the phone so I hung up. If it is taking up until march or april for these children to get their gifts then I would suggest asking the people in the uk to have their shoe boxes ready 12 weeks or more prior to the current collection date. I had shared the Christmas shoe box appeal at my university, with family and friends promoting it as It was something that seemed so special. I put so much thought into my shoe box and spent quite a lot. It was so warming to hope a little child would get my gifts and have a lovely Christmas. Samaratins purse are scum.

1 year ago

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Rita La Grange, TX

After Hurricane Harvey, Samaritan's Purse (SP) granted a $3.2 million donation to a local La Grange, TX newly-formed non-profit, Fayette County Disaster Relief Team (FCDRT). SP did not vet this organization beforehand and many in our community now know that FCDRT is a questionable operation involving mistreatment of many Harvey victims. Our citizen's alliance has discovered that part of the donation cannot be accounted for now and SP has come into our county with the goal of "covering up" for their poor decision. The SP donation has turned into a nightmare for our community! Now, two years later, we have little need in our community for post-Harvey relief but, without seeking citizen input, SP is currently teaming with FCDRT to build a 23 acre development with 30 - 50 FREE homes for anyone from anywhere! Our community will, more than likely, become a hub for illegal immigration and our local government, school district, police & fire departments, social services etc will become stressed beyond capacity! My husband and I have been contributors to SP for years but NO MORE!!! BEWARE OF SAMARITAN'S PURSE!

3 years ago

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Ken La Grange, TX

I live in La Grange, Texas. Samaritan’s Purse is in the process of planning for a 22 acre subdivision for supposed Hurricane Harvey flood victims that owned their home and was damaged or flooded in the storm. They are collaborating with a charity called Fayette County Disaster Recovery Team. Samaritan’s Purse gave the FCDRT 3.2 million when this organization had only been in existence for a few months. Can’t get access to financials of FCDRT after repeated request even though they are required to provide this information under Texas State law. There really aren’t any persons affected by Harvey that owned their homes still needing a house. Now SP says they are going outside the county to find people to place in this subdivision. And by the way, the homes are going to be free. This is not a hand up, this is a handout. Not at all like Habitat for Humanity’s program. The area residences are against this project yet SP continues on. My wife and I gave to SP for many years but not anymore. Save your money and help a person in need directly. Many of our friends have quit donating to SP after we explained what has happened here in our town. Be careful as things aren’t always what they seem.

3 years ago

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Michael Roventini Cassville, NJ

Christmas time of 2016 I participated in operation Christmas Child . I was so excited i over stuffed a shoe box with school supplies ,coloring books and a LOGO TOY. i was so disappointed when i tried to tract my shoe box and found out it was never delivered. The check i sent for shipping was cashed and i have no idea where it went. I thought i was making a child overseas happy. Only GOD knows where the shoe box went

4 years ago

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Sharon Wilkesboro, NC

SP has communities not even 30 minutes from them and have the most impoverished county in all of NC. There is one food centers that give food once a month and the screening process is horrible. There is alot to be said about an organization that makes that much profit but yet economically depressed areas are all around them.

2 years ago

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Rick roll Saint Paul, MN

When I asked them to give specifics about how they are helping it took 2 weeks to get a response that basically said “we are praying for them” I will not give to this company again.

4 years ago