First Liberty Institute

The information in this column was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 4/13/2022. To update the information in this column, please email: info@ministrywatch.com


Summary

First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious liberty for all Americans. We believe that every American of any faith-or no faith at all-has a fundamental right to follow their conscience and live according to their beliefs.

Our nation's Founding Fathers established this right as our First Freedom nearly two and a half centuries ago, and we intend to keep it that way.


Contact information

Mailing address:
First Liberty Institute
2001 West Plano Parkway, Suite 1600
Plano, TX 75075

Website: firstliberty.org

Phone: (972) 941-4444

Email: info@firstliberty.org


Organization details

EIN: 751403169

CEO/President: Kelly Shackelford

Chairman: Mark Cover

Board size: 12

Founder: Kelly Shackelford

Ruling year: 1973

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 06/30

Member of ECFA: Yes

Member of ECFA since: 2008


Purpose

Religious freedom is the first freedom outlined in the First Amendment of the Constitution, and for good reason: it is the foundational right that all others are built upon. And if this cornerstone freedom ever falls, all other freedoms would be at risk of tumbling as well. That's why protecting and defending it is so important-because to fight for religious freedom is to fight for the future of all freedoms.

As our second President John Adams once said: "A constitution of government once changed from freedom can never be restored." Many in today's society are moving against this "constitution of freedom," and it is our duty to not only safeguard this liberty today-but to equip the next generation to defend it tomorrow.


Mission statement

Our mission is to defend and restore religious liberty in our schools, for our churches and houses of worship, inside the military, and throughout the public arena.


Statement of faith

Donor confidence score

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Transparency grade

A

To understand our transparency grade, click here.


Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Advocacy

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating556 of 102218 of 41
Fund acquisition rating530 of 102418 of 41
Resource allocation rating422 of 102420 of 41
Asset utilization rating670 of 102223 of 41

Financial ratios

Funding ratiosSector median20202019201820172016
Return on fundraising efforts Return on fundraising efforts =
Fundraising expense /
Total contributions
9%8%9%8%6%7%
Fundraising cost ratio Fundraising cost ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total revenue
8%8%8%8%6%7%
Contributions reliance Contributions reliance =
Total contributions /
Total revenue
98%98%99%98%99%97%
Fundraising expense ratio Fundraising expense ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total expenses
9%11%9%10%7%6%
Other revenue reliance Other revenue reliance =
Total other revenue /
Total revenue
2%2%1%2%1%3%
 
Operating ratiosSector median20202019201820172016
Program expense ratio Program expense ratio =
Program services /
Total expenses
80%80%83%81%84%84%
Spending ratio Spending ratio =
Total expenses /
Total revenue
91%78%96%87%84%104%
Program output ratio Program output ratio =
Program services /
Total revenue
70%63%80%71%70%88%
Savings ratio Savings ratio =
Surplus (deficit) /
Total revenue
9%22%4%13%16%-4%
Reserve accumulation rate Reserve accumulation rate =
Surplus (deficit) /
Net assets
15%30%6%21%29%-9%
General and admin ratio General and admin ratio =
Management and general expense /
Total expenses
11%9%8%9%9%9%
 
Investing ratiosSector median20202019201820172016
Total asset turnover Total asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total assets
1.251.051.471.371.522.12
Degree of long-term investment Degree of long-term investment =
Total assets /
Total current assets
1.221.051.031.051.081.15
Current asset turnover Current asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total current assets
2.071.101.521.451.642.44
 
Liquidity ratiosSector median20202019201820172016
Current ratio Current ratio =
Total current assets /
Total current liabilities
10.0326.4123.7330.6328793.4022.54
Current liabilities ratio Current liabilities ratio =
Total current liabilities /
Total current assets
0.100.040.040.030.000.04
Liquid reserve level Liquid reserve level =
(Total current assets -
Total current liabilities) /
(Total expenses / 12)
5.6410.527.578.027.334.71
 
Solvency ratiosSector median20202019201820172016
Liabilities ratio Liabilities ratio =
Total liabilities /
Total assets
22%4%4%3%0%4%
Debt ratio Debt ratio =
Debt /
Total assets
0%0%0%0%0%0%
Reserve coverage ratio Reserve coverage ratio =
Net assets /
Total expenses
69%92%65%71%66%45%

Financials

Balance sheet
 
Assets20202019201820172016
Cash$10,464,573$7,051,093$6,613,093$5,075,526$3,228,675
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$126,701$503,057$270,740$107,286$358,841
Short-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$10,591,274$7,554,150$6,883,833$5,182,812$3,587,516
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$201,115$237,367$356,835$393,568$531,459
Other long-term assets$292,493$23,344$15,293$9,168$9,168
Total long-term assets$493,608$260,711$372,128$402,736$540,627
Total assets$11,084,882$7,814,861$7,255,961$5,585,548$4,128,143
 
Liabilities20202019201820172016
Payables and accrued expenses$401,010$318,393$224,737$180$159,196
Other current liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total current liabilities$401,010$318,393$224,737$180$159,196
Debt$0$0$0$0$0
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$401,010$318,393$224,737$180$159,196
 
Net assets20202019201820172016
Without donor restrictions$10,231,282$7,262,322$6,660,699$5,103,166$3,463,933
With donor restrictions$452,590$234,146$370,525$482,202$505,014
Net assets$10,683,872$7,496,468$7,031,224$5,585,368$3,968,947
 
Revenues and expenses
 
Revenue20202019201820172016
Total contributions$14,475,924$11,814,181$11,174,801$10,019,006$8,133,823
Program service revenue$25,716$20,000$202,752$67,000$248,062
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$120,977$98,208$32,485$13,512$11,092
Other revenue$187,727$0$0$0$0
Total other revenue$334,420$118,208$235,237$80,512$259,154
Total revenue$14,810,344$11,932,389$11,410,038$10,099,518$8,392,977
 
Expenses20202019201820172016
Program services$9,309,113$9,497,090$8,096,062$7,118,437$7,351,779
Management and general$1,086,988$957,508$918,964$768,794$819,583
Fundraising$1,226,839$1,012,547$949,156$595,867$567,875
Total expenses$11,622,940$11,467,145$9,964,182$8,483,098$8,739,237
 
Change in net assets20202019201820172016
Surplus (deficit)$3,187,404$465,244$1,445,856$1,616,420($346,260)
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$3,187,404$465,244$1,445,856$1,616,420($346,260)

Compensation

NameTitleCompensation
Kelly ShackelfordPresident/CEO$600,782
David HolmesCOO/CFO/EVP$405,592
Hiram S SasserExec. Gen. Counsel$314,240
Mike BerryGen. Counsel$226,896
Andrew GrahamSenior Fellow$174,191
Roger ByronSr. Counsel$167,342

Compensation data as of: 6/30/2020


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 4/13/2022. To update the information below, please email: info@ministrywatch.com


History

Originally founded in 1972, First Liberty institute has evolved with the times and the needs of the nation. In 1997, we began to focus on Texas litigation as a non-profit law firm on issues of religious liberty with Kelly Shackelford as President and CEO. (It was originally founded as a division of the Free Market Foundation and called Liberty Legal Institute). As Liberty Legal, we won several landmark victories in Texas, including:

Protecting the rights of senior citizens to pray over their meals at government-run facilities

Establishing the doctrine of Church autonomy at the Texas Supreme Court

Defending the constitutionality of a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Texas Capitol

In 2009, Liberty Legal officially became Liberty Institute, quickly gaining renown as the premiere legal organization defending religious liberty in the State of Texas and beyond. During this time, we successfully:

Won a landmark victory protecting a cross-shaped veterans monument

Secured the release of an American missionary from a Haitian jail

Protected the First Amendment rights of elementary students

Stopped the government from banning prayer at military funerals

In 2014, we founded our Military Division, focused on protecting the religious liberty of service members and veterans, with Senior Counsel Mike Berry as the Director of Military Affairs. The Military Division has achieved significant victories for military members, including:

Clearing charges against a wrongfully-terminated Air Force veteran

Exonerating a chaplain relieved of duty for expressing his faith in counseling sessions

Defending the cross-shaped Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial

In February 2016, Liberty Institute officially became First Liberty Institute. Today, First Liberty is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to protecting religious liberty for all Americans.

Our current cases include:

Protecting Orthodox Jews' rights to meet in a home for worship

Defending a football coach fired for praying after a game

Representing a Marine court-martialed for refusing to remove a Bible verse from her workspace

Defending the constitutionality of the cross-shaped Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial

In less than 20 years, First Liberty expanded from a statewide organization to a national organization with active legal matters throughout the country.

As religious liberty violations against Americans of all faiths continue to increase, First Liberty continues to grow-championing religious liberty for all.

To read more about First Liberty's history, see the First Liberty Timeline of Major Victories and Events.


Program accomplishments

In less than 20 years, First Liberty expanded from a statewide organization to a national organization with active legal matters throughout the country.


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