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Ministry Spotlight

MINISTRY SPOTLIGHT: Operation Underground Railroad

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Tim Ballard founded Operation Underground Railroad in 2013 to rescue children from sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. In 2022, they employed 131 people and used 61,825 volunteers to help carry out the work.

The ministry focuses on four areas:

  1. International Operations:  The teams are experienced and trained former law enforcement personnel, intelligence experts, U.S. diplomats, and military officers who are on the ground doing active investigations in countries across the world. The nonprofit has a concentration overseas of almost 30 employees or independent contractors in the East Asia and Pacific area, which can cover Australia, Brunei, Burma and Cambodia.
  2. Domestic Law Enforcement Relations:  The ministry fights to protect children in the United States as well, by developing relationships with law enforcement agencies and offering resources to expand and amplify its anti-human trafficking and exploitation efforts. The ministry provided almost 200 cash grants to various organizations, primarily to county sheriff’s’ offices and police departments around the United States, in the range of about $5,000 to $40,000, generally for the use of “software for Forensic Discovery.”  The cash grants accounted for about one-third of its contributions received, which was about $10 million.
  3. Aftercare:  This team coordinates with the overseas operations team to ensure survivors of human trafficking and exploitation have access to individual, holistic healing care after being rescued.
  4. Children Need Families (CNF):  A preventative program committed to encouraging adoption initiatives that benefit at-risk children across the globe. The ministry is not an adoption agency, but the effort is to assist families already in the adoption process by offering a financial grant.

The aim of Operation Underground Railroad is to fight against child sex trafficking and sexual exploitation around the globe.  They do this by assisting law enforcement in rescuing children, ensuring ongoing aftercare, and encouraging preventative efforts that benefit at-risk children worldwide.

MinistryWatch Donor Confidence Score:  47 (out of a possible 100) “Give With Caution”

MinistryWatch Financial Efficiency Rating:  1 Star (out of a possible 5)

MinistryWatch Transparency Grade:  D

ECFA Member?  No

Revenue in Most Recent Year Available (2022):  $29,362,724

Five-Year Revenue Trend: Increasing (by about 67%)

(Even though the five year trend is increasing, in 2022 expenses outpaced revenue by about $15 million.)

Percent of Revenue Operation Underground Railroad Spends on Fundraising:  14%

Percent Peer Group Spends on Fundraising:  9%

CEO/President:  Brad Damon

President’s Salary and Other Compensation:  $566,550

Complete MinistryWatch profile for Operation Underground Railroad can be found here.

Find recent MinistryWatch articles mentioning Operation Underground Railroad here.

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Rod Pitzer

Rodney Pitzer, Certified Fraud Examiner since 2005, has worked for audit and investigative organizations, including Oregon Department of Justice's Charitable Activities, and being Director of the Oregon Board of Tax Professionals in 1999. In 2011 founded AVOWED.org, ministering to widows, elderly and the disabled, and now scheduled to plant a church in Corpus Christi, Texas.