The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association today made public the first detailed financial statement in its 27-year history, showing income for 1967 of $28.7 million and expenditures of $27.7 million.
Of the expenditures, 38 per cent or $10.4 million was spent on "evangelism and ministry," such as the well-know Billy Graham crusades, redligious literature and counseling.
The next largest single category was $8.8 million, or 32 per cent, for radio, television and motion pictures produced by the association.
Included in the "evangelism ministries" was a listing of contributions to other religious organizations which came to a total of $4,788.865. The largest recipient was the World Evangelism and Christian Education Fund, a BGEA affiliate in Dallas which received almost no publicity until the Charlotte Observer reported the existence of the foundation last June. It has assets of almost $23 million in blue-chip stocks, bonds, land cash, according to previous verified reports.
The figures on the BGEA, which has an Internal Revenue Service ruling designating it a church so that it has no legal obligation to report, were filed with the Minnesota Securities Division in a move seeking to reregister the BGEA's "gift annuity" sales program.
Registration of the annuity fund was withdrawn by the state in 1975 for lack of the quarterly financial statements required by law. Under a charitable gift annuity program, individuals contribute money or property to charitable or religious organizations and receive regular income during their lifetime in return.
In the wake of criticism from the Council of Better Business Bureaus of Washington, D.C., which complained it had been unable to get financial information about the BGEA, the directors last month, at the Rev. Billy Graham's suggestion, promised to make full annual finacial reports.
However, the first one is not due until the end of theis year, and the disclosures of 1976 income, together with information on the annuity plan as such, constitute the fullest information yet on the BGEA, Graham's key entity.
The Better Business Brueaus organization put the BGEA on its "Give, but wisely," but shortly after, during a Sept. 29 news conference in Minneapolis, Graham accused the organization of singling him out as a "whipping boy."
Among the items under expenses was a figure of $2,829.742 for Decision magazine, which was 10 per cent of the total expenses. The magazine has a circulatin of nearly 4 million in six languages. Administrative expenses were listed at $1,491,898, or 5 per cent of the total spending, and direct mail and postage costs were $1,520,898, or 6 per cent.
Foreign ministries and world emergencis was the name of a category that drew a total of $2,559,560, or 9 per cent.
Amont the beneficiaries of the "evangelism ministries" was Wheaton College, in Illinois, Billy Graham's alma mater. The college got $942,114 earmarked for construction of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Centre, which will house his memorabilia.
Although the information disclosed today was unprecedented, it did not cover the following affiliated organizations in Graham's congiomerate:
Worldwide pictures, a California producer and distributor of religious films including "Hiding Place," which was a box office success.
Grason Company, a distributor of religious literature and related material.
Christian Broadcasting Association and Blue Ridge Broadcasting Association.
The World Evangelism and Christian Education Fund, the foundaton with headquarters in Dallas. The seven-year-old foundation, a spinoff of BGEA, shares an interlocking directorate with the Minneapolis-based BGEA but it does not enjoy the IRS status of a church.
Income from affiliates not listed today has been estimated at about $15 million by the Charlotte Observer, in Graham's home state of North Carolinia.
During his press conference here last monthe, Graham observed, "The Gospel is free but the bucket carrying it costs money," but he said that he sometimes felt his organizations had grown too large.
THe BGEA was founded 27 years ago with $25,000 in contributions that were temporarily stored in a shoebox.
Graham's basic compensation is $39,500 in annual salary plus expenses and income from a ghost-written column syndicated to 100 papers.