The Christophers, Inc.

The information on this page was last updated 2/3/2022. If you see errors or omissions, please email: [email protected]


The Christophers put hope into action by using print and electronic media to remind each person that they are an irreplaceable child of God who can make a difference, and that constructive action works miracles. Each of us has, by the grace of God, the power to change the world for the better. Every act of care and concern for others has a ripple effect, touching many lives. The love to which we are called by the Gospel extends not only to our neighbors but to all who live on God's Good Earth. To be a Christopher means to be a Christbearer - where there is hate, to bring love, and where there is darkness, to carry light.

Contact information

Mailing address:
The Christophers, Inc.
5 Hanover Square
New York, NY 10004


Phone: (212) 759-4050

Email: [email protected]

Organization details

EIN: 131809274

CEO/President: Mary Ellen Robinson

Chairman: John F. Flaherty

Board size: 5

Founder: Fr. James Keller

Ruling year: 1946

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 12/31

Member of ECFA: No

Member of ECFA since:


The Christopher approach to problems is to put hope into action. We use print and electronic media to reach out to men, women and young people of all faiths and of no particular faith with these ideas:

You have a God-given mission.
You are an irreplaceable child of God - with a job for you alone. A healthy sense of self-worth can help you know and fulfill your mission in life.

You can make a difference.
One good deed may seem insignificant, but may be all that's needed to overcome some evil. All who work with God change things for the better.

Constructive action works miracles.
Emphasize what can be done, rather than what cannot. Complaining wastes time and energy. Things improve when more people build up and fewer tear down. With God's help, everything is possible.

Mission statement

The mission of The Christophers is to empower people from all walks of life to realize they have a God-given purpose that belongs to no one else but them.

Statement of faith

Since they were founded over 50 years ago, The Christophers have communicated the message summed up in their motto and credo:
"It's better to light one candle than to curse the darkness."

The Christophers express their beliefs by the following statements:

- That you are a unique person, created by God with innate dignity and ability.
- That your community, nation and world need what you have to give.
- That constructive action is the best response to society's problems and shortcomings.
- That each of us is entrusted by God with a job to do - one that has been given to no one else.
- That whoever and wherever we are, each of us has the opportunity to shape our world.

Donor confidence score

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Transparency grade


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Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Educational Media

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating441 of 103322 of 53
Fund acquisition rating544 of 103527 of 53
Resource allocation rating87 of 103510 of 53
Asset utilization rating817 of 103337 of 53

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$0$0$0$616,924$491,474
Short-term investments$5,626,413$5,551,337$6,321,637$6,367,525$6,726,432
Other current assets$29,688$90,607$76,924$64,150$63,473
Total current assets$5,764,183$5,758,028$6,513,488$7,167,270$7,496,365
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$10,021$13,779$17,537$21,295$25,152
Other long-term assets$279,133$415,634$808,506$361,485$437,588
Total long-term assets$289,154$429,413$826,043$382,780$462,740
Total assets$6,053,337$6,187,441$7,339,531$7,550,050$7,959,105
Payables and accrued expenses$224,583$165,449$139,669$138,296$164,534
Other current liabilities$85,862$129,983$170,481$207,453$233,907
Total current liabilities$310,445$295,432$310,150$345,749$398,441
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total long-term liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total liabilities$310,445$295,432$310,150$345,749$398,441
Net assets20192018201720162015
Without donor restrictions$5,687,326$5,832,851$6,973,815$7,151,794$7,507,560
With donor restrictions$55,566$59,158$55,566$52,507$53,104
Net assets$5,742,892$5,892,009$7,029,381$7,204,301$7,560,664
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$744,920$572,060$894,439$1,019,585$1,368,907
Program service revenue$54,751$53,284$84,204$72,800$86,488
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$720,847($199,877)$419,763$181,333($53,044)
Other revenue$0$0$0($597)($1,019)
Total other revenue$775,598($146,593)$503,967$253,536$32,425
Total revenue$1,520,518$425,467$1,398,406$1,273,121$1,401,332
Program services$1,454,312$1,354,193$1,358,328$1,357,329$1,715,495
Management and general$151,684$153,295$159,113$209,595$160,481
Total expenses$1,666,043$1,566,431$1,576,385$1,629,484$1,945,885
Change in net assets20192018201720162015
Surplus (deficit)($145,525)($1,140,964)($177,979)($356,363)($544,553)
Other changes in net assets($3,592)$3,592$3,059$0$0
Total change in net assets($149,117)($1,137,372)($174,920)($356,363)($544,553)


Mary Ellen RobinsonPresident$141,541
Yaneza Santos AssistantSecretary/Finance Manager$120,571
Rev Edward M Dougherty MmDirector$17,500

Compensation data as of: 12/31/2020

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.

The information below was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 2/3/2022. To update the information below, please email: [email protected]


James Keller was born in Oakland, California, to James and Margaret Selby Keller on June 27, 1900, the fourth of five children.

At the age of 6, he heard a parish priest tell his catechism class: "One of you may be a priest some day and do some good for the world."

In his autobiography, To Light a Candle, Father Keller recalled: "I certainly didn't understand all the implications of his remarks, but I distinctly remember ducking beneath my desk, hoping that the young priest who stood before us didn't mean me!"

The idea of "doing some good" made a deep impression. In his teens, he began preparations for the priesthood at St. Patrick's Seminary, Menlo Park, California.

When the first group of American priests bound for China stopped at the seminary in 1918, the young seminarian became interested in their newly formed society, Maryknoll. He entered Maryknoll and was ordained August 15, 1925. But, instead of going to China, he spent the next 20 years on assignment in the United States recruiting students and raising funds for Maryknoll missions.

During the 1930s, the talks he gave to groups around the country took on a new dimension. "Gradually, as I told the story of Maryknoll to so many different audiences," he recalled, "I began almost subconsciously to emphasize not only what my listeners could do to assist missioners by prayers and finances, but also how they could play a missionary role themselves."
To describe that role he coined the term "Christopher," from the Greek words for Christbearer - an individual who sought to apply the principles of the Gospel in the marketplace of everyday life.

At the end of the Second World War, Father Keller began the formation of a movement called The Christophers. It would seek to motivate men and women in all walks of life to bring Judeo-Christian principles to bear on the world around them. The Christophers, as he saw it, would have no formal organization, no memberships, no dues. "The reason for this somewhat unusual formula," he explained, "was to focus attention on personal responsibility."

For a motto, he chose an ancient Chinese proverb: "It's better to light one candle than to curse the darkness."

In January, 1946, an article entitled "You Can Be a Christopher" appeared in The Catholic World magazine. Response was overwhelming. "Launching the Christopher Movement," according to Father Keller, "was like dropping a pebble into a pool. The circles just went on widening outward by themselves."

He immediately began publishing a regular newsletter, Christopher News Notes. For the next 20 years, he traveled the country welcomed everywhere by enthusiastic audiences. Through Christopher News Notes, radio and television programs, books and newspaper columns, James Keller preached without letup his message of hope.

By 1969, when he retired because of declining health, Father Keller had established, on a solid basis, an organization that could carry forward the work he had begun.

On his death, February 7, 1977, letters poured into the Christopher office. One of them summed up well the influence this man of hope had on those he touched:
"His was a unique message and brought hope and courage to thousands of people deeply distressed in these troubled times."

A Final Testament
In 1972, Father Keller, aware that he was failing in health, wrote: "Since tomorrow, August 15, is the 47th anniversary of my ordination, it seems fitting to ponder more seriously than ever the fact that a relatively short time is left to me to prepare for my final summons.

"Throughout my life I have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the 'homecoming' day when I will meet my Savior face to face.
"But the nearer I get to that glorious occasion, the more unworthy I feel. I find myself counting more than ever before on the mercy of the Lord to make up for my defects and shortcomings.
"Through prayer and good works during the time left, I can do penance for my imperfections and prove that I am truly sorry for any and all of my offenses against a loving God:

  • by increasing my prayers for the work of The Christophers, for numerous intentions involving the eternal salvation and human well-being of many friends and acquaintances, as well as the poor people of the earth;
  • by accepting cheerfully the handicap of my physical ailments;
  • by welcoming rather than evading any suffering that the Lord allows to come my way;
  • by trying to be of greater service to mankind through working for The Christophers;
  • by striving to bring joy, not gloom, into the lives of others;
  • by avoiding all forms of self-pity;
  • by fulfilling more devotedly all daily spiritual exercises;
  • by endeavoring to be so conscientious that I may be under all circumstances a humble witness of the holiness, devotion, generosity, detachment and purity that most people associate with a good priest;
  • by continually thanking God for the countless blessings I have received from Him throughout my life;
  • by recalling frequently St. Paul's reminder: 'By God's favor you were saved. This is not your own doing, it is God's gift.'
  • by faithfully living up to the spiritual goals set by the prophet Micah: 'This is what the Lord asks of you, only this -- to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God."

Program accomplishments


The Christophers have communicated several needs:

- The Christopher movement depends on the initiative of individuals. There are no chapters, meetings or dues.
- The Christophers rely on charitable contributions to continue its mission of encouraging individuals to serve God and humanity.