Prison Fellowship Ministries/ PFM/ Chuck Colson

The information in this column was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 6/21/2018. To update the information in this column, please email:



Contact information

Mailing address:
44180 Riverside Parkway
Leesburg, VA 20176-0176


Phone: (877) 478-0100


Organization details

EIN: 620988294

CEO/President: Mr. James J. Ackerman

Chairman: Mr. Carl F. Dill, Jr.

Board size: 12

Founder: Mr. Charles W. Colson

Year founded: 1976

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 06/30

Member of ECFA: Yes

Member of ECFA since: 1980


Prison Fellowship Ministries ("PFM") is a not-for-profit, volunteer-based organization with one mission: exhort, equip, and assist the Church in its ministry to prisoners, ex-prisoners, victims, and their families, and to promote biblical standards of justice in the criminal justice system.

To accomplish this mission, Prison Fellowship recruits, trains, and mobilizes volunteers from a wide variety of backgrounds and denominations to participate in a broad array of in-prison and community ministries.

PFM was founded in 1976 by Charles W. Colson, former Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon. After serving time in prison for a Watergate-related offense, Colson became convinced of the need for a ministry devoted to sharing the Good News of Christ with men and women in prison. Prison Fellowship was founded shortly after Colson's release with proceeds from his best-selling autobiography Born Again.

This organization is a nonprofit. Contributions to it are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. It is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

Mission statement

Prison Fellowship Ministries' Mission Statement is:

Restore those affected by crime and incarceration.

Statement of faith

Prison Fellowship Ministries' Statement of Faith is:

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.

Transparency grade


To understand our transparency grade, click here.

Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Christian Growth

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating775 of 81760 of 60
Fund acquisition rating806 of 81759 of 60
Resource allocation rating658 of 81749 of 60
Asset utilization rating574 of 81738 of 60

Click here to read Prison Fellowship Ministries/ PFM/ Chuck Colson's response to our ratings

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$1,767,000$2,178,000$1,892,000$1,453,000$1,874,000
Short-term investments$15,980,000$18,648,000$18,425,000$19,081,000$15,569,000
Other current assets$189,000$193,000$193,000$185,000$199,000
Total current assets$25,820,000$26,544,000$26,748,000$25,464,000$22,468,000
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$15,343,000$15,900,000$16,356,000$16,729,000$17,184,000
Other long-term assets$4,818,000$4,510,000$2,340,000$1,502,000$1,107,000
Total long-term assets$20,161,000$20,410,000$18,696,000$18,231,000$18,291,000
Total assets$45,981,000$46,954,000$45,444,000$43,695,000$40,759,000
Payables and accrued expenses$4,473,000$4,649,000$2,997,000$3,347,000$2,537,000
Other current liabilities$79,000$19,000$4,315,000$4,343,000$4,402,000
Total current liabilities$4,552,000$4,668,000$7,312,000$7,690,000$6,939,000
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$3,529,000$4,028,000$0$0$0
Total long-term liabilities$3,529,000$4,028,000$0$0$0
Total liabilities$8,081,000$8,696,000$7,312,000$7,690,000$6,939,000
Net assets20192018201720162015
Temporarily restricted$17,818,000$15,318,000$8,484,000$6,742,000$4,967,000
Permanently restricted$0$0$3,478,000$3,456,000$3,474,000
Net assets$37,900,000$38,258,000$38,132,000$36,005,000$33,820,000
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$40,255,000$38,547,000$37,350,000$40,066,000$38,091,000
Program service revenue$0$0$0$0$0
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$0$0$790,000$10,000$661,000
Other revenue$1,239,000$1,322,000$1,271,000$1,346,000$1,520,000
Total other revenue$1,239,000$1,322,000$2,061,000$1,356,000$2,181,000
Total revenue$41,494,000$39,869,000$39,411,000$41,422,000$40,272,000
Program services$30,524,000$27,251,000$24,719,000$25,875,000$24,986,000
Management and general$3,876,000$3,860,000$4,092,000$4,247,000$4,573,000
Total expenses$42,809,000$40,209,000$37,754,000$38,946,000$38,550,000
Change in net assets20192018201720162015
Surplus (deficit)($1,315,000)($340,000)$1,657,000$2,476,000$1,722,000
Other changes in net assets$957,000$466,000$470,000($291,000)($644,000)
Total change in net assets($358,000)$126,000$2,127,000$2,185,000$1,078,000


James AckermanPresident and CEO$425,102
Timothy P RobisonCHIEF OPERATING OFFICER$253,841
Craig M DerocheSr VP, Advocacy & Public Policy$216,973
Samuel L DyeSr VP, Warden Exchange$213,738
Daniel KingeryEVP, Field Programs$204,563
Heather Rice-MinusVP, Government Affairs and Church Mobilization$183,517
William D AggenNational Director of Training & Learning$180,292
Natika WashingtonVP, Corporate Sponsors$169,711
Kelly FriedlanderVP, Marketing & Communication$159,870
Tammy BoyleVP, Strategic Gifts$158,403
Daniela GleasonSr Director, Human Resources$154,270
Byron HarrisonSr Director, Information Technology$153,768
Doug GillquistSenior Development Director$146,951
John RowlandDevelopment Director$146,414
Will RiddleVP, Church Programs$140,738
Kristen EmersonAssistant Secretary$94,928

Compensation data as of: 6/30/2020

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. Prison Fellowship is financially healthy and finished the last three years with a budgeted surplus, including this past fiscal year. PF did have a challenging year in 2013-2014 in which we ran a deficit. PF has been strengthened significantly in the last three years under a new President and CEO and leadership team.
  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. Prison Fellowship is a very healthy organization and has a 10-year vision to double in size, which is fully embraced by our Board and leadership, to dramatically expand our reach into all 50 states. We currently have 78 in-prison Academies that are transforming lives...we expect to exceed 200 in the next 10 years.
  4. Prison Fellowship receives minimal in-kind donations and instead relies on a large volunteer workforce of more than 12,000 volunteers. This model does result in a higher ratio than organizations who receive in-kind donations like clothing, food, or other non-monetary donations. However, it is not a reflection of our financial health, which is very strong.
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 6/21/2018. To update the information below, please email:


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

Located in select prisons across the country, the Prison Fellowship Academy takes incarcerated men and women through a holistic life transformation spanning weeks or months, where they are mentored by Prison Fellowship staff and volunteers to become restored individuals both inside and outside of prison. A cornerstone program of Prison Fellowship, the Academy guides participants to identify the life-controlling issues that led to their incarceration and take responsibility for its impact on their community. The Academy specifically targets criminal thinking and behavior, life skills, addictions, victim impact, and prosocial culture change, with the goal of developing prisoners who have leadership potential to serve as positive peer mentors and supporters of constructive prison culture throughout prison systems. Those who complete the program and are preparing for release will have the opportunity to connect to post-release resources and support in metropolitan areas.

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, Inside Journal comes in full-color men's and women's editions in both English and Spanish. Each issue 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 a revolutionary and highly interactive seven-month-long program that incorporates weekly live video conferences and three in-person residences, we convene wardens from across the country for intensive training in best practices from some of the brightest thought leaders in criminal justice, law, business, and education. Participants graduate from the program with individualized action plans to bring restorative change to their facilities and fulfill their legacy of building a safer, more rehabilitative prison culture.

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 CampingTM, churches can also invite prisoners' children to a sleepaway summer camp. Every year, thousands of Angel Tree children across the country get to go to experienced, well-established camps on an Angel Tree scholarship, 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 Sports Clinics bring children of prisoners together to gain skills in various sports and learn about God's love. Through lessons, drills, and fun competition, kids of all ages and abilities get the unique opportunity to learn from the best, from college sports stars to former professional athletes-many of whom have experienced similar personal struggles growing up.

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. We promote 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 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.

Prison Fellowship by the Numbers
  • More than 26,000 incarcerated men and women currently participate in Prison Fellowship programming.
  • There are 78 Prison Fellowship Academy sites throughout the United States. A new partnership with Celebrate Recovery will bring 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.
  • 76 leaders in corrections have participated in Warden Exchange.
  • Inside Journal reaches more than 200,000 prisoners-and counting-in more than 700 prisons throughout North America.
Fiscal Year 2017
  • 19,800 prisoners attended Hope Events at correctional facilities across the country.
  • 3,078 men and women were enrolled in a Prison Fellowship Academy.
  • 7,157 children of prisoners were sponsored to attend Christian camps on Angel Tree scholarships.
  • Nearly 500 children gathered at Angel Tree Sports Clinics, developing skills in football and cheerleading. With plans to add more sports in the coming year, clinics will expand to reach at least 2,000 children at 10 locations across the country.
  • Close to 100 prominent Christian leaders signed the Justice Declaration, a call to the Church to deploy its unique and unparalleled capacity to respond to crime and over-incarceration. Since then, over 2,700 people have signed.
  • 5,575 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 2017
  • Nearly 300,000 children received a Christmas gift on behalf of their incarcerated parent through Angel Tree, thanks to approximately 200,000 volunteers from 7,200 churches and organizations.
  • More than 5,000 Angel Tree child assignments could be attributed to partnerships like Celebrate Recovery.

Program accomplishments

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
  • Participate in Angel Tree with thousands of other churches at Christmas and throughout the year ( 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 (
  • Make a financial gift and help continue our ministry to all those affected by crime and incarceration (
  • Find more ways to get involved at
  • Follow us on Facebook (/pfministries), Twitter (@justicereform), or Instagram (@prisonfellowship).


PF invites you to join with them in the quiet revolution to demonstrate God's love for the forgotten, for the social castaways, thereby proclaiming the uniqueness of the Christian heritage -- that His love and forgiveness are available to all people.

PF would like you to make a contribution or to volunteer your time.