Mercy Ships

The information in this column was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 11/1/2021. To update the information in this column, please email:


Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class healthcare services, medical training, and sustainable development to those with little access to surgical care in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has provided services valued at more than $1.7 billion and directly benefitting more than 2.8 million people.

The hospital ships, the Africa Mercy and Global Mercy are crewed by volunteers from over 60 nations, with an average of over 1,200 volunteers each year. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, healthcare trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to provide life-changing medical care where it's needed most.

With 16 national offices and an Africa Bureau, Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations.

Contact information

Mailing address:
Mercy Ships
PO Box 2020
15862 Highway 110 N.
Garden Valley, TX 75771-2020


Phone: (903) 939-7000


Organization details

EIN: 953793975

CEO/President: Tom Stogner / Rosa Whitaker

Chairman: Mr. Don Stephens

Board size: 40

Founder: Don and Deyon Stephens

Ruling year: 1978

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 12/31

Member of ECFA: Yes

Member of ECFA since: 1999


Mercy Ships represents a compassionate response to a world that has lost hope. A global charity, Mercy Ships utilizes ocean-going hospital ships to bring medical care and community development to the world's poorest peoples. Mercy Ships serves people of all faiths, working in partnership with developing nations to bring about sustainable change. By mobilizing people and resources worldwide, it is possible to make a lasting difference with limited resources. Following the example of Jesus, Mercy Ships workers endeavor to be the face of love in action.

Mercy Ships growing fleet includes the Anastasis, Caribbean Mercy and Africa Mercy. When completely refitted, the Africa Mercy will be the largest non-governmental hospital ship in the world. Dedicated surgeons have performed thousands of life-changing operations. Onboard the ships, they have removed tumors and cataracts, corrected cleft-lip/palates and crossed eyes and done extensive maxillo/facial repairs. In the countries where Mercy Ships visits, these operations are unavailable for most of the population. Mercy Ships provides them free of charge.

In addition to surgeries onboard the ships, Mercy Ships surgeons have worked in partnership with national doctors in local hospitals, performing a wide range of orthopedic procedures.

Mercy Ships also provides community health education, dental and medical clinics, agricultural, construction, well drilling and sanitation projects in communities surrounding the ports visited.

Two permanent centers, one in Sierra Leone and one in Nicaragua, work with people who have been disenfranchised through war and natural disasters. Mercy Ships also facilitates short-term missions for small groups.

Mercy Ships began in 1978 and has since completed projects in more than 95 port areas of the world. While most of its work is now done in Africa and the Caribbean, the organization's long-term goal is to expand its fleet and to increase its servicel around the globe. Mercy Ships International Operations Center is located in the USA with 16 (?) national offices worldwide.

Mission statement

Mercy Ships, a global charity, has operated a growing fleet of hospital ships in developing nations since 1978. Following the example of Jesus, Mercy Ships brings hope and healing to the poor, mobilizing people and resources worldwide.

Statement of faith

Mercy Ships affirms:

  • The Bible is God's inspired and authoritative word and reveals that Jesus is God's Son.
  • People are created in God's image and designed to have eternal life through Jesus.
  • All people need God, and salvation is possible through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
  • God desires all people to come to the knowledge of the truth.
  • Repentance, faith, love and obedience are fitting responses to God's initiative of grace toward us.
  • The Holy Spirit's power is demonstrated in part through believers, as all persons will know that we are Christ's followers if we love one another.
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    Financial efficiency ratings

    Sector: Relief and Development

    CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
    Overall efficiency rating1019 of 102285 of 85
    Fund acquisition rating980 of 102482 of 85
    Resource allocation rating940 of 102484 of 85
    Asset utilization rating963 of 102280 of 85

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    Balance sheet
    Receivables, inventories, prepaids$17,172,400$12,588,055$41,772,873$48,325,933$29,608,348
    Short-term investments$5,213,605$5,123,359$5,014,378$12,308,955$12,180,443
    Other current assets$0$0$0$0$189,596
    Total current assets$115,348,604$87,096,338$94,119,220$92,651,487$98,133,244
    Long-term investments$76,614,087$59,350,987$52,436,452$30,637,369$0
    Fixed assets$108,739,118$107,381,672$103,288,589$89,809,161$84,747,667
    Other long-term assets$18,562,098$35,640,361$0$204,431$0
    Total long-term assets$203,915,303$202,373,020$155,725,041$120,650,961$84,747,667
    Total assets$319,263,907$289,469,358$249,844,261$213,302,448$182,880,911
    Payables and accrued expenses$10,544,844$8,064,380$8,792,847$6,391,666$4,530,423
    Other current liabilities$1,150,408$1,212,645$1,190,774$1,174,014$1,043,583
    Total current liabilities$11,695,252$9,277,025$9,983,621$7,565,680$5,574,006
    Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
    Other long-term liabilities$2,125,543$2,200,896$1,932,377$1,622,728$1,510,548
    Total long-term liabilities$2,125,543$2,200,896$1,932,377$2,164,740$3,342,921
    Total liabilities$13,820,795$11,477,921$11,915,998$9,730,420$8,916,927
    Net assets20202019201820172016
    Without donor restrictions$192,519,678$152,893,244$133,450,470$111,554,852$99,610,243
    With donor restrictions$112,923,434$125,098,193$104,477,793$92,017,176$74,353,741
    Net assets$305,443,112$277,991,437$237,928,263$203,572,028$173,963,984
    Revenues and expenses
    Total contributions$113,743,930$132,494,279$117,470,243$107,332,404$91,101,805
    Program service revenue$4,046,170$6,396,207$5,727,286$1,727,438$2,113,681
    Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
    Investment income$1,902,264($228,110)($1,337,992)$886,444($1,156,509)
    Other revenue$354,119$1,596,723$1,725,001$1,789,286$1,807,784
    Total other revenue$6,302,553$7,764,820$6,114,295$4,403,168$2,764,956
    Total revenue$120,046,483$140,259,099$123,584,538$111,735,572$93,866,761
    Program services$64,396,551$70,392,262$66,264,371$62,227,252$51,804,877
    Management and general$9,671,469$8,673,004$6,045,513$6,760,813$5,298,657
    Total expenses$95,226,138$99,441,878$88,256,709$82,819,106$68,745,189
    Change in net assets20202019201820172016
    Surplus (deficit)$24,820,345$40,817,221$35,327,829$28,916,466$25,121,572
    Other changes in net assets$2,631,330($754,047)($971,594)$691,578$1,528,472
    Total change in net assets$27,451,675$40,063,174$34,356,235$29,608,044$26,650,044


    Compensation data for this ministry has not been collected.

    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 11/1/2021. To update the information below, please email:


    Mercy Ships began with the vision that ships might carry medical personnel and relief cargo to help the poor. Don and Deyon Stephens, along with a group of other young people, purchased the former passenger liner Victoria for $1 million in 1978. After four years of refit, the vessel sailed as the newly christened Anastasis, the first Mercy Ship. From the beginning, Don Stephens has served as Founder/CEO of Mercy Ships. Mercy Ships has provided free surgeries, dental care, medical supplies, development training, clothing, construction materials, food and seeds and a message of hope to more than seventy port districts worldwide.

    Program accomplishments

    Mercy Ship's surgeons have performed more than 12,000 surgeries on and off board. These include: cleft lips and palates repairs, cataract removal and lens implants, straightening crossed eyes, removal of large tumors and reconstruction of facial features distorted by accidents and disease.

    In addition, over 220,000 people have been treated in village medical clinics and more than 110,000 dental treatments have been performed.

    Primary health care has been taught to village leaders who have in turn trained thousands of others. Crew members have built schools, hospitals, churches and homes. They have taught agricultural techniques and demonstrated construction and maintenance of latrines as well as installing and teaching maintenance of water wells to provide clean water to entire villages. Additionally, tens of millions of dollars of medical equipment, hospital supplies and medicines have been distributed to the poor and needy.


    Mercy Ships presents its needs as follows:

  • Prayer. Everything we do is dependent upon Gods direction and provision.
  • Volunteers. Mercy Ships could not exist without dedicated volunteers who not only give their time and expertise, but also pay monthly crew fees.
  • Financial Contributions.
  • Gifts -in-kind (medical supplies, fuel, etc.)