Prison Fellowship Ministries

The information on this page was last updated 11/28/2022. If you see errors or omissions, please email: [email protected]


Summary

Prison Fellowship's mission is to "Restore those affected by crime and incarceration." Prison fellowship staff and volunteers are in hundreds of correctional facilities each week sharing the gospel, spreading hope, and teaching life-changing classes. Through our evangelism events, we introduce incarcerated men and women to a new future in Christ and nurture their spiritual growth with Bible studies and intensive discipleship courses. We also offer a holistic set of life-skills classes, mentorship opportunities, and reentry programs to prepare prisoners to be leaders in their communities - whether inside or outside of prison. As a result, we are seeing prisoners use their sentences as a time to grow, change, and find a new, positive life path with Prison Fellowship staff and volunteers as their guide.


Contact information

Mailing address:
Prison Fellowship Ministries
44180 Riverside Parkway
Lansdowne, VA 20176

Website: prisonfellowship.org

Phone: 1-800-206-9764

Email: [email protected]


Organization details

EIN: 620988294

CEO/President: James J. Ackerman

Chairman: Carl F. Dill, Jr.

Board size: 15

Founder: Charles W. Colson

Ruling year: 1977

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 06/30

Member of ECFA: Yes

Member of ECFA since: 1980


Purpose

Vision: To see all affected by crime reconciled to God, their families, and their communities.

Prison Fellowship believes that a restorative approach to prisoners, former prisoners, and all those affected by crime and incarceration can make communities safer and healthier. Our ministry is founded on the conviction that all people are created in God's image and that no life is beyond God's reach. As Christians, we believe that Jesus - Himself brought to trial, executed, buried, and brought to life again - offers hope, healing, and a new purpose for each life. He can make even the most broken people and situations whole again. Through an amazing awakening to new hope and life purpose, those who once broke the law are transformed and mobilized to serve their neighbors, replacing the cycle of crime with a cycle of renewal.


Mission statement

Our mission is to restore those affected by crime and incarceration.


Statement of faith

The Foundation of What We Believe
As a Christian organization, Prison Fellowship believes in the full authority of the Bible as God's inspired Word and the complete tenets of the Apostle's and Nicene Creeds.

We believe in one God, Creator and Lord of the Universe, the co-eternal Trinity; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus Christ, God's Son, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, died a substitutionary atoning death on the cross, rose bodily from the dead and ascended to heaven where, as truly God and truly man, He is the only mediator between God and man. We believe that the Bible is God's authoritative and inspired Word, without error in all its teachings.

How We Are Compelled to Live and to Act
We believe that Christians, both individually and corporately, must submit to the Bible, as God's authoritative, divine and inspired Word, in all matters of belief and conduct.

How Our Mission and Our Approach is Shaped
Prison Fellowship exists to bring glory to God and share His truth and love with those we serve, our employees, volunteers, and communities, according to Scriptural truths. Our Mission is to help restore those affected by crime and incarceration. This Mission is founded on the biblical conviction that all people are created in God's image and that no life is beyond God's reach.

Therefore, we believe that a restorative approach to prisoners, former prisoners, and all those affected by crime and incarceration reflects the God-given dignity and potential of every person and can help individual lives and communities flourish.

What the Hope of Jesus Means for Others
We believe that Jesus-Himself brought to trial, executed, buried, and brought to life again-offers hope, healing, and a new purpose for each life. He can make even the most broken people and situations affected by crime and incarceration whole again.

What this Means for Communities Through an amazing awakening to new hope and life purpose available through Jesus, those who once broke the law are transformed and mobilized to serve their neighbors, replacing the cycle of crime with a cycle of renewal that restores entire communities. Because the Bible calls us to remember and visit those in prison, we believe that every Christian is compelled to contribute to this restorative cycle.

Donor confidence score

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Transparency grade

A

To understand our transparency grade, click here.


Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Christian Growth

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating859 of 102463 of 74
Fund acquisition rating1022 of 102773 of 74
Resource allocation rating943 of 102766 of 74
Asset utilization rating215 of 102420 of 74

Click here to read Prison Fellowship Ministries' response to our ratings


Financial ratios

Funding ratiosSector median20222021202020192018
Return on fundraising efforts Return on fundraising efforts =
Fundraising expense /
Total contributions
6%24%22%23%22%23%
Fundraising cost ratio Fundraising cost ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total revenue
4%24%22%22%22%21%
Contributions reliance Contributions reliance =
Total contributions /
Total revenue
83%99%98%97%97%94%
Fundraising expense ratio Fundraising expense ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total expenses
5%25%25%22%22%25%
Other revenue reliance Other revenue reliance =
Total other revenue /
Total revenue
17%1%2%3%3%6%
 
Operating ratiosSector median20222021202020192018
Program expense ratio Program expense ratio =
Program services /
Total expenses
81%66%67%68%69%66%
Spending ratio Spending ratio =
Total expenses /
Total revenue
94%97%88%99%98%84%
Program output ratio Program output ratio =
Program services /
Total revenue
73%64%59%68%68%56%
Savings ratio Savings ratio =
Surplus (deficit) /
Total revenue
6%3%12%1%2%16%
Reserve accumulation rate Reserve accumulation rate =
Surplus (deficit) /
Net assets
7%7%29%3%5%54%
General and admin ratio General and admin ratio =
Management and general expense /
Total expenses
13%9%9%9%9%9%
 
Investing ratiosSector median20222021202020192018
Total asset turnover Total asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total assets
0.881.781.651.761.861.78
Degree of long-term investment Degree of long-term investment =
Total assets /
Total current assets
1.361.121.071.101.101.15
Current asset turnover Current asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total current assets
1.461.991.771.932.062.06
 
Liquidity ratiosSector median20222021202020192018
Current ratio Current ratio =
Total current assets /
Total current liabilities
15.314.306.165.964.484.11
Current liabilities ratio Current liabilities ratio =
Total current liabilities /
Total current assets
0.060.230.160.170.220.24
Liquid reserve level Liquid reserve level =
(Total current assets -
Total current liabilities) /
(Total expenses / 12)
7.664.645.675.184.534.42
 
Solvency ratiosSector median20222021202020192018
Liabilities ratio Liabilities ratio =
Total liabilities /
Total assets
9%28%24%41%35%39%
Debt ratio Debt ratio =
Debt /
Total assets
0%0%0%0%0%0%
Reserve coverage ratio Reserve coverage ratio =
Net assets /
Total expenses
94%40%46%34%35%34%

Financials

Balance sheet
 
Assets20222021202020192018
Cash$8,586,458$9,747,346$5,728,890$5,212,310$4,380,378
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$3,195,694$4,497,241$5,120,641$5,445,266$4,845,466
Short-term investments$18,127,169$16,624,175$11,950,264$9,590,731$9,880,614
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$29,909,321$30,868,762$22,799,795$20,248,307$19,106,458
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$2,067,297$1,033,394$975,563$946,396$1,055,171
Other long-term assets$1,373,930$1,208,159$1,208,111$1,178,714$1,876,288
Total long-term assets$3,441,227$2,241,553$2,183,674$2,125,110$2,931,459
Total assets$33,350,548$33,110,315$24,983,469$22,373,417$22,037,917
 
Liabilities20222021202020192018
Payables and accrued expenses$6,948,943$5,014,794$3,776,002$4,444,417$4,626,737
Other current liabilities$0$0$46,596$78,225$18,043
Total current liabilities$6,948,943$5,014,794$3,822,598$4,522,642$4,644,780
Debt$32,493$62,268$43,830$62,115$79,276
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$2,445,230$2,901,284$6,394,679$3,263,043$3,765,078
Total long-term liabilities$2,477,723$2,963,552$6,438,509$3,325,158$3,844,354
Total liabilities$9,426,666$7,978,346$10,261,107$7,847,800$8,489,134
 
Net assets20222021202020192018
Without donor restrictions$5,450,528$8,173,548$2,565,788$1,311,971$2,640,805
With donor restrictions$18,473,354$16,958,421$12,156,574$13,213,646$10,907,978
Net assets$23,923,882$25,131,969$14,722,362$14,525,617$13,548,783
 
Revenues and expenses
 
Revenue20222021202020192018
Total contributions$60,544,911$61,012,498$43,109,109$40,975,390$43,940,900
Program service revenue$28,653$29,437$72,788$76,674$78,133
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$534,578$368,724$154,739$299,592$1,383,091
Other revenue($38,347)$658,372$952,469$1,066,633$1,151,768
Total other revenue$524,884$1,056,533$1,179,996$1,442,899$2,612,992
Total revenue$61,069,795$62,069,031$44,289,105$42,418,289$46,553,892
 
Expenses20222021202020192018
Program services$39,278,298$36,577,502$29,971,533$28,865,419$25,929,856
Management and general$5,366,151$4,664,395$4,110,130$3,605,613$3,454,036
Fundraising$14,760,899$13,490,881$9,839,135$9,151,075$9,891,562
Total expenses$59,405,348$54,732,778$43,920,798$41,622,107$39,275,454
 
Change in net assets20222021202020192018
Surplus (deficit)$1,664,447$7,336,253$368,307$796,182$7,278,438
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$1,664,447$7,336,253$368,307$796,182$7,278,438

Compensation

NameTitleCompensation
James AckermanPresident and CEO$461,327
Timothy P RobisonChief Operating Officer$286,964
Samuel L DyeSr VP, Warden Exchange$224,092
Daniel KingeryEVP, Field Programs$223,908
Heather Rice-MinusSr VP, Advocacy and Church Mobilization$210,283
Craig M DerocheSr VP, Advocacy & Public Policy (through July 2020)$207,252
William D AggenNatl Dir Evaluation and Research$190,928
Natika WashingtonVP, Corporate Partnerships$183,160
Kelly FriedlanderSr VP, Marketing & Communications$180,684
Tammy BoyleVP, Strategic Gifts$180,148
Stephen B Tucker JrVP, Finance$172,407
Ed HarrisonSr Director, Information Technology$171,379
Daniela GleasonVP, Human Resources$164,036
John RowlandDevelopment Director$152,514
Kristin EmersonAssistant Secretary$114,160

Compensation data as of: 6/30/2021


Response from ministry

"Prison Fellowship Ministries values organizations, such as Ministry Watch, that evaluate faith-based nonprofit organizations using publicly available financial information. We provide this response to highlight that while Ministry Watch performs a valuable service to donors by increasing financial awareness of nonprofit ministry organizations, the rating does not provide a holistic view of Prison Fellowship's operational model and its significant results.

Ministry Watch acknowledges this limited assessment by noting in its 5 Star Rating System memo that "[n]owhere within the rating system is an attempt made to assess the effectiveness of individual [nonprofits'] mission or structure. Nowhere within the rating system is an attempt made to assess the effectiveness of programs." It then goes on to note that: "[a]ll models have limitations...[i]t [the Rating System] does not measure program outcomes or program effectiveness... [and does] not assess an organization's integrity or the worthiness of its mission." Please note in reviewing our rating that:

1. PF is financially healthy and has been strengthened significantly over the last five (5) years by our current President and CEO and senior leadership team. PF's program expense ratio has increased over the past five (5) years and is at 69.5%, while revenue increased by approximately $3.5MM during the same period. As a result, Charity Navigator has increased PF's rating to 3 out of 4 stars, reflecting our financial health.

2. Prison Fellowship is fully accredited with the Better Business Bureau-we meet all 20 required indicators that measure a healthy organization; and are in excellent standing with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and serve as an original charter member. We adhere to their guidelines for sound financial management.

3. PF maintains a "Platinum" status with GuideStar (an information service specializing in reporting on U.S. nonprofit companies). This status reflects our transparency and the significant impact on how donations are used to transform lives. CharityWatch gives PF a "B-" rating.

4. Prison Fellowship's ministry model has few in-kind donations and instead relies heavily on a large volunteer workforce of more than 12,000 volunteers to carry out the mission. Unfortunately, we are unable to count volunteer hours as program expenses with outside rating agencies based upon their formulas. This results in a program ratio that is lower than organizations who receive a large volume of in-kind donations like clothing, food, or other non-monetary donations. However, it is not a reflection of PF's high investment in programming each year or our financial health, which is very strong.

5. PF is in its 5th year toward a 10-year vision for significant growth and expansion, including the reach of in-prison Academies into all 50 states. PF currently has more than 120 Academies transforming lives and prisons in 29 states - well on its way toward achieving this vision.

We encourage you to take a holistic view of Prison Fellowship and our mission. Keeping in mind key mission factors that impact on our financial ratio results. Thank you."


The information below was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 11/28/2022. To update the information below, please email: [email protected]


History

Prison Fellowship® is the nation's largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families and a leading advocate for criminal justice reform. The organization was founded in 1976 by Charles Colson, a former aide to President Nixon, who served seven months in federal prison for a Watergate-related crime.

Today, Prison Fellowship brings restoration to those affected by crime and incarceration nationwide by facilitating prisoners' transformation, supporting prisoners' families and returning citizens, and advocating for a criminal justice system that reflects the God-given dignity and potential of each life. Through an awakening to new hope and life purpose, those who once broke the law are transformed and mobilized to serve their community, replacing the cycle of crime with a cycle of renewal.

Our Work in Prison

Prison Fellowship Academy

The brokenness that lands men and women in prison, left unaddressed, perpetuates a cycle of destructive thinking and behaviors that impacts individuals and communities-both inside and outside prison walls.

But it doesn't have to be this way.

Founded on the Christian belief of human dignity and redemption, the Prison Fellowship Academy® seeks to disrupt this cycle. Using targeted curriculum, compassionate coaches, and restorative community, Academy participants embark on a yearlong journey to develop and practice the biblically based values of Good CitizenshipSM: community, affirmation, productivity, responsibility, restoration, and integrity. As they adopt and apply these Christian concepts of community and personal responsibility, they replace criminal thinking and behaviors with renewed life principles and purpose. The result is flourishing and peaceful communities, where participants overcome the life-controlling issues that led to their incarceration. Academy graduates complete the program as change agents, prepared to take their places as productive and positive contributors to their communities inside and outside of prison.

Hope Events

In prison yards across the country, men and women are being introduced to the hope of Jesus Christ through one- and two-day Prison Fellowship Hope Events that feature a variety of inspirational speakers and musicians. While providing a brief respite from the challenges of prison life, these events give prisoners the chance to respond to Christ and take the next step of joining a faith community behind bars.

Connection Classes

Prison Fellowship Connection Classes offer men and women behind bars the chance to receive regular support and encouragement as they study God's truth and learn to apply it to their lives. Thousands of trained Prison Fellowship volunteers across the country lead regular Bible studies, drop-in classes, substance abuse recovery groups, and seminars on topics from marriage to anger management. In a truly caring environment, prisoners build community and develop transformative life skills.

Inside Journal

Inside Journal® is a quarterly newspaper printed and distributed by Prison Fellowship to corrections facilities across the country. Written specifically for incarcerated men and women, each Inside Journal issue (published in a men's edition, a women's edition, and a Spanish-language edition) explains the Gospel in a fresh way, offers encouragement and motivation, and shares practical advice for the daily struggles of prison life. Distributed to prisoners via chaplains, program coordinators, and in-prison volunteers, Inside Journal provides a unique way to share the hope of Jesus with those who may never attend a chapel service or Bible study.

Warden Exchange

Warden Exchange® is an innovative program of Prison Fellowship that equips wardens to be transformative leaders in their facilities and in the wider corrections community. Through seven- or nine-month programs, Warden Exchange convene corrections professionals from across the country for intensive exchange with interdisciplinary thought leaders who share innovative ideas and best practices for transformational leadership, the moral rehabilitation of incarcerated men and women, and community engagement. Participants emerge equipped to bring restorative change to their facilities and to build safer, more constructive, and more rehabilitative correctional environments.

Floodlight

Prison Fellowship's new online portal FloodlightTM partners with top Christian content providers to make available positive inspirational and educational content to prisons across the country. The free, high-quality video offerings may be downloaded and shared on prison televisions and devices (where available). Floodlight, available in more than 100 prisons across 43 states, reaches more than half a million prisoners with much-needed uplifting entertainment for incarcerated men and women, many of whom were increasingly isolated because of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Our Work on the Outside

Angel Tree

Angel Tree® creates a pathway to reconciliation between incarcerated parents and their children and families. The bad choices that lead to a prison sentence, as well as the distance created by incarceration, can strain a prisoner's family ties to the breaking point. At Christmas, the emotional pain of a loved one's incarceration grows even more intense, and the financial hardship of a lost breadwinner can mean that there are no presents under the tree. Angel Tree gives incarcerated parents a way to provide a Christmas gift and a personal message, delivered by caring, local volunteers, as a tangible representation of their love. The church, which embodies the hope and grace of the Gospel message to prisoners' families, may continue to minister to the prisoner's family throughout the year. Every Angel Tree parent's family is also given access to a free, easy-to-read copy of the Bible.

Through Angel Tree Camping®, Prison Fellowship provides scholarships for thousands of Angel Tree children to attend Christian summer camps, where they have the opportunity to have fun, fellowship with their peers, build relationships with caring camp counselors, and experience the love of God in the great outdoors. At camp, many children will make a first-time decision to trust in Jesus Christ or deepen their commitment to Him.

Angel Tree gives children with incarcerated parents an unforgettable day of coaching, encouragement,

and hope in Christ. Through lessons, drills, and fun competition, kids who might not otherwise have a chance to attend a day camp are treated like champions. It's a unique opportunity for youth of all ages and abilities to gain skills in various sports and learn about God's love from seasoned college players and former professional athletes.

Advocacy and Justice Reform

Prison Fellowship advocates for justice that restores, an approach to criminal justice that recognizes the value and potential of every human life. Our advocacy team promotes reforms that help transform those responsible for crime, validate victims, and create safer communities by:

Advancing more proportional punishment that promotes both accountability and restoration.

Facilitating a constructive prison culture that is safe, rehabilitative, and allows people to make amends for their crime while earning back the public's trust.

Advocating for genuine opportunities for people with a criminal record to achieve closure, returning to communities as fully contributing citizens who make the most of their second chance and fulfill their God-given potential.

Prison Fellowship has worked with members of Congress to pass groundbreaking legislation that makes the criminal justice system more restorative, including: the FIRST Step Act (2018), Religious Freedom Restoration Act (1993), the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (2000), the Prison Rape Elimination Act (2000), the Second Chance Act (2008), the Fair Sentencing Act (2010), and the establishment of the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections (2016), as well as a variety of state-level criminal justice reforms.

Prison Fellowship advocates for the establishment of a national Second Chance® Month every April to call attention to the barriers faced by people with a criminal record and advocate for second chances. With other ministry partners, Prison Fellowship has helped launched the Justice Declaration, a call to the Church to use its unique capacity to respond the crisis of crime and over-incarceration. Finally, Prison Fellowship has authored a small-group criminal justice curriculum called Outrageous Justice® and has also convened the Faith & Justice Fellowship, a group of state and national leaders motivated by their respective faith traditions to advance restorative values in the criminal justice system.


Program accomplishments

Prison Fellowship by the Numbers

More than 17,000 incarcerated men and women participate in Prison Fellowship programming monthly.

There are 110 Prison Fellowship Academy sites throughout the United States. A partnership with Celebrate Recovery brings their Christ-centered recovery program into the Academy to help incarcerated men and women in their restoration journey.

Our 40 to Fifty Campaign is a bold, 10-year plan aimed at establishing 172 Prison Fellowship Academy sites by the year 2026.

202 leaders in corrections have participated in Warden Exchange.

Inside Journal reaches more than 240,000 prisoners-and counting-in more than 800 correctional facilities throughout North America.

Fiscal Year 2020

19,373 prisoners attended Hope Events at correctional facilities across the country.

2,984 men and women were enrolled in a Prison Fellowship Academy.

75,432 Bibles distributed.

420,000 incarcerated viewers in 41 states accessed faith-based content via FloodlightTM, our brand new online portal.

5,369 Justice Advocates took 27,000 actions, sending over 26,000 letters to federal and state lawmakers and the president.

47,611 copies of Outrageous Justice® were distributed to small groups across the country. The book, video series, and small-group curriculum are designed to awaken Christians to the need for justice that restores.

Angel Tree Fiscal Year 2020

Nearly 300,000 children received a Christmas gift on behalf of their incarcerated parent through traditional Angel Tree.

Angel Tree families received 27,587 Bibles.


Needs

As we remember those in prison, Prison Fellowship invites you to join us as we strive to make prisons safer and more rehabilitative, advance criminal justice reforms, and support prisoners, their families, and their communities.

How You Can Join Us

Connect your church with Prison Fellowship. To speak with your nearest Prison Fellowship representative about prison ministry and opportunities available near you, contact us today at prisonfellowship.org/churchrequest.

Participate in Angel Tree with thousands of other churches at Christmas and throughout the year (angeltree.org or 1-800-55-ANGEL).

Welcome returning citizens into your church or small group.

Volunteer in prison and show the love of Christ to people behind bars by leading a Bible study, facilitating a life-skills class, or becoming a mentor.

Advocate for justice that restores (prisonfellowship.org/about/justicereform).

Make a financial gift and help continue our ministry to all those affected by crime and incarceration (prisonfellowship.org/donate).

Find more ways to get involved at prisonfellowship.org.

Follow us on Facebook (/pfministries), Twitter (@justicereform), or Instagram (@prisonfellowship).