Thursday, January 04, 2007

Creationist finances: Creation Illustrated Ministries

This is the fifth in a series of posts about the finances of the creationist ministries which were previously reported in Reports of the National Center for Science Education in 2000 in an article by John Cole: the Access Research Network, Answers in Genesis, the Creation Evidences Museum, Creation Illustrated Ministries, Creation Moments, the Creation Research Society, Creation Worldview Ministries, the Institute for Creation Research, the Discovery Institute, and I'll add Walter Brown's Center for Scientific Creation to the list.

I've already commented on Answers in Genesis, Institute for Creation Research, Access Research Network, and the Creation Evidence Museum. This time out, I'll look at Creation Illustrated Ministries.

Creation Illustrated Ministries began in 1993, producing a magazine called Creation Illustrated. The magazine is published by a homeschooling couple, Tom and Jennifer Ish of Auburn, California, who describe how they got started here.

As usual, the 1998 information from John R. Cole's "Money Floods Anti-Evolutionists' Coffers" in Reports of the National Center for Science Education 20(1-2, 2000):64-65:

1998:
Revenue: $202,950
Expenses: $198,414

And the last three years available through GuideStar.org:

2001 (July 2001-June 2002):
Revenue: $232,381 ($52,154 donations, $179,961 program service revenue)
Expenses: $241,795
Net assets at end of year: -$66,079
Salaries (18.3% of revenue):
Thomas M. Ish, president: $24,000 (plus $7,947 in expenses)
Jennifer L. Ish, secretary: $10,500

2002 (July 2002-June 2003):
Revenue: $307,582 ($109,715 in donations, $197,700 in program service revenue which is $167,095 from subscriptions, $4,095 from book and video sales, $26,510 from advertising)
Expenses: $285,364
Net assets at end of year: -$43,861
Salaries (11.0% of revenue):
Thomas M. Ish, president: $15,000 (plus $6,706 in expenses)
Jennifer L. Ish, secretary: $12,000

2003 (July 2003-June 2004):
Revenue: $357,600 ($96,782 in donations, $259,339 in program service revenue which is $170,815 from subscriptions, $26,005 from book and video sales, $62,519 from advertising)
Expenses: $363,742
Net assets at end of year: -$50,003
Salaries (19.8% of revenue):
Thomas M. Ish, president: $39,000 (plus $12,205 in expenses)
Jennifer L. Ish, secretary: $19,500

Creation Illustrated Ministries is apparently run as a home-based business, with the organization leasing office space from the Ish family, but not actually paying for it. The Ish family have also run up mileage for the nonprofit which they have not been reimbursed for, bringing the total amount the organization owes them up to $305,180.

As an organization, CIM is running up debt to its founders/officers, the Ish family, which is the main cause of its negative net assets. It is seeing revenue growth from year to year, but two of the last three years of reports above show expenses exceeding revenue. It looks like it is working well enough to keep going and continue making a living for its founders, but I would expect a business running for over a decade to be able to start reducing its debt as revenue grows. Their website indicates that Jennifer Ish's responsibilities for circulation and fulfillment have been outsourced to "a magazine fulfillment company in Southern California," which may have led to improved efficiency.

You can find CIM's 2001 Form 990 here, 2002 Form 990 here, and their 2003 Form 990 here.

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