The Christophers, Inc.

Summary

The Christophers, Inc. ("The Christophers") is a Christian support organization which uses print and electronic media to spread a message of hope and understanding to people of all faiths and of no particular faith. The organization's aim is to encourage all individuals to recognize their abilities and use them to raise the standards in all phases of human endeavor. The Christophers operate a number of programs, including a weekly television series called Christopher Closeup, a daily radio message which is carried on almost 200 stations across America, Christopher News Notes, The Christophers' Light One Candle newspaper column. The Christophers also provide inspirational books and videos as well as quantities of in-print issues of Christopher News Notes to young and old alike at a nominal fee. In addition to the broadcast, book, tape and video distribution, The Christopher Awards are given each year to the creators of films, television programs, and books which "affirm the highest values of the human spirit." The ministry was founded in 1945 by Father James Keller and has strong ties to the Catholic church. This organization is a nonprofit, contributions to it are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.


Contact information

Mailing address:
5 Hanover Square
New York, NY 10004-0004

Website: www.christophers.org

Phone: (212) 759-4050

Email:


Organization details

EIN: 131809274

CEO/President: Mr. Dennis W. Heaney

Chairman: John. F. Flaherty

Board size: 9

Founder: Fr. James Keller

Year founded: 1945

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 12/31

Member of ECFA: No

Member of ECFA since:


Purpose

The Christophers, Inc. ("The Christophers") is a Christian support organization which uses print and electronic media to spread a message of hope and understanding to people of all faiths and of no particular faith. The organization's aim is to encourage all individuals to recognize their abilities and use them to raise the standards in all phases of human endeavor. The ministry was founded in 1945 by Father James Keller and has ties to the Catholic church. The current director is Rev. Thomas J. McSweeney.

The Christophers operate a number of programs, including a weekly television series called Christopher Closeup which promotes a universal message of encouragement and inspiration. In addition, The Christophers' daily radio message is carried on almost 200 stations across America and in many foreign countries in Spanish as well as English. A quarter hour edition of Christopher Closeup also airs weekly on over 60 radio stations nationwide. Christopher News Notes, which are published ten times a year, are mailed all over the world to millions of people and are available free of charge to anyone who asks for them. They cover topics from family life to spiritual values to social issues. A Spanish version, Ecos Cristoforos, is published six times a year for readers in 32 countries. The Christophers' Light One Candle column, available in English and Spanish, is carried weekly in over 300 newspapers in America. The Christophers receive thousands of pieces of mail each week from people of all creeds. Some ask for guidance and help, others are testimonials to the effectiveness of Christopher News Notes, Christopher Closeup, and Light One Candle, and each piece is answered individually. The Christophers also provide inspirational books and videos as well as quantities of in-print issues of Christopher News Notes to young and old alike at a nominal fee. In addition to the broadcast, book, tape and video distribution, The Christopher Awards are given each year to the creators of films, television programs, and books which "affirm the highest values of the human spirit."

This organization is a nonprofit, contributions to it are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.


Mission statement

The Christophers, Inc. uses the following to express its mission:

"It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness."


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.

Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Educational Media

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating204 of 43026 of 50
Fund acquisition rating206 of 43024 of 50
Resource allocation rating116 of 43015 of 50
Asset utilization rating315 of 43035 of 50

Financial ratios

Funding ratiosMedian % for
all ministries in
MW database
20172016201520142013
Return on fundraising efforts Return on fundraising efforts =
Fundraising expense /
Total contributions
7%7%6%5%5%6%
Fundraising cost ratio Fundraising cost ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total revenue
6%4%5%5%6%8%
Contributions reliance Contributions reliance =
Total contributions /
Total revenue
95%64%80%98%133%127%
Fundraising expense ratio Fundraising expense ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total expenses
6%4%4%4%3%6%
Other revenue reliance Other revenue reliance =
Total other revenue /
Total revenue
5%36%20%2%-33%-27%
 
Operating ratiosMedian % for
all ministries in
MW database
20172016201520142013
Program expense ratio Program expense ratio =
Program services /
Total expenses
83%86%83%88%90%84%
Spending ratio Spending ratio =
Total expenses /
Total revenue
99%113%128%139%188%136%
Program output ratio Program output ratio =
Program services /
Total revenue
81%97%107%122%169%114%
Savings ratio Savings ratio =
Surplus (deficit) /
Total revenue
1%-13%-28%-39%-88%-36%
Reserve accumulation rate Reserve accumulation rate =
Surplus (deficit) /
Net assets
3%-3%-5%-7%-11%-5%
General and admin ratio General and admin ratio =
Management and general expense /
Total expenses
10%10%13%8%6%10%
 
Investing ratiosMedian measure
for all ministries
in MW database
20172016201520142013
Total asset turnover Total asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total assets
1.320.210.220.240.220.18
Degree of long-term investment Degree of long-term investment =
Total assets /
Total current assets
1.531.131.051.061.071.98
Current asset turnover Current asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total current assets
2.530.240.230.260.240.35
 
Liquidity ratiosMedian measure
for all ministries
in MW database
20172016201520142013
Current ratio Current ratio =
Total current assets /
Total current liabilities
9.0921.0020.7318.8120.7112.43
Current liabilities ratio Current liabilities ratio =
Total current liabilities /
Total current assets
0.100.050.050.050.050.08
Liquid reserve level Liquid reserve level =
(Total current assets -
Total current liabilities) /
(Total expenses / 12)
4.0747.2250.2443.7747.9131.75
 
Solvency ratiosMedian % for
all ministries in
MW database
20172016201520142013
Liabilities ratio Liabilities ratio =
Total liabilities /
Total assets
10%4%5%5%5%4%
Debt ratio Debt ratio =
Debt /
Total assets
0%0%0%0%0%0%
Reserve coverage ratio Reserve coverage ratio =
Net assets /
Total expenses
63%446%442%389%428%547%

Financials

Balance sheet
 
Assets20172016201520142013
Cash$114,927$118,671$214,986$272,289$214,114
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$0$616,924$491,474$407,703$214,334
Short-term investments$6,321,637$6,367,525$6,726,432$7,190,514$4,242,148
Other current assets$76,924$64,150$63,473$73,373$59,851
Total current assets$6,513,488$7,167,270$7,496,365$7,943,879$4,730,447
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$17,537$21,295$25,152$31,299$45,886
Other long-term assets$808,506$361,485$437,588$513,690$4,593,976
Total long-term assets$826,043$382,780$462,740$544,989$4,639,862
Total assets$7,339,531$7,550,050$7,959,105$8,488,868$9,370,309
 
Liabilities20172016201520142013
Payables and accrued expenses$139,669$138,296$164,534$128,802$129,530
Other current liabilities$170,481$207,453$233,907$254,849$250,909
Total current liabilities$310,150$345,749$398,441$383,651$380,439
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$310,150$345,749$398,441$383,651$380,439
 
Net assets20172016201520142013
Unrestricted$6,973,815$7,151,794$7,507,560$8,051,094$4,930,963
Temporarily restricted$0$0$0$0$4,004,184
Permanently restricted$55,566$52,507$53,104$54,123$54,723
Net assets$7,029,381$7,204,301$7,560,664$8,105,217$8,989,870
 
Revenues and expenses
 
Revenue20172016201520142013
Total contributions$894,439$1,019,585$1,368,907$1,339,198$1,539,583
Program service revenue$84,204$72,800$86,488$78,507$76,696
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$419,763$181,333($53,044)$3,870$4,871
Other revenue$0($597)($1,019)($412,652)($413,291)
Total other revenue$503,967$253,536$32,425($330,275)($331,724)
Total revenue$1,398,406$1,273,121$1,401,332$1,008,923$1,207,859
 
Expenses20172016201520142013
Program services$1,358,328$1,357,329$1,715,495$1,707,942$1,377,987
Management and general$159,113$209,595$160,481$121,155$168,264
Fundraising$58,944$62,560$69,909$64,479$97,640
Total expenses$1,576,385$1,629,484$1,945,885$1,893,576$1,643,891
 
Change in net assets20172016201520142013
Surplus (deficit)($177,979)($356,363)($544,553)($884,653)($436,032)
Other changes in net assets$3,059$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets($174,920)($356,363)($544,553)($884,653)($436,032)

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.


History

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' weekly television series, Christopher Closeup, has promoted a universal message of encouragement and inspiration since 1952. The series airs nationally on The Odyssey Channel, as well as on 97 independent stations, and is seen in 166 foreign countries through the Armed Forces Network.

- The Christophers' daily radio message is carried on almost 200 stations across America and in many foreign countries in Spanish as well as English. A quarter hour edition of Christopher Closeup also airs weekly on over 60 radio stations nationwide.

- Christopher News Notes, which are published ten times a year, are mailed all over the world to millions of people and are available free of charge to anyone who asks for them. A Spanish version, Ecos Cristoforos, is published six times a year for readers in 32 countries.

- The Christophers' Light One Candle column, available in English and Spanish, is carried weekly in over 300 newspapers in America.

- The Christophers receive thousands of pieces of mail each week from people of all creeds-each piece is answered individually.


Needs

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.