Mental Health, Crisis Intervention

Hope of Survivors

Support, Hope and Healing for Victims of Pastoral Sexual Abuse

aka THOS   |   Sonoma, CA   |


The Hope of Survivors is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting victims of clergy sexual abuse and misconduct, as well as providing educational and informational materials and seminars to pastors and churches worldwide. Professional memberships include: Adventist Association of Family Life Professionals (AAFLP), Adventist-laymen's Services & Industries (ASI), Outpost Centers International (OCI), the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and the International Board of Christian Counselors.

Notes from the nonprofit

The Hope of Survivors is meeting a tremendous need for emotional and spiritual support among victims of clergy sexual abuse, worldwide and of every faith community. This is no small task and your generous support is needed and appreciated. Thank you!

Ruling year info



Mrs. Samantha R. Nelson

Main address

843 Broadway

Sonoma, CA 95476 USA

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Cause area (NTEE code) info

Counseling Support Groups (F60)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (P01)

Rape Victim Services (F42)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016.
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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The problem The Hope of Survivors addresses is sexual abuse by spiritual leaders within every denomination and faith community, whether paid employees or volunteer staff/laity. Our goal is provide educational resources to aide in prevention of such abuses; create resources and provide one-on-one emotional and spiritual support to victims of clergy sexual abuse to facilitate their healing; and to raise awareness among congregations, Christian academia, etc., of the issue and the need to prevent it. Creating awareness of the issue, establishing policies to make congregations healthier and safer, are all part of the need we address.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Hope & Healing Conference for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse

The purpose of this conference is to provide information and support to those who have been abused by members of the clergy (of any denomination). The conference is primarily for adult female victims of pastoral sexual abuse and their spouses, however, anyone who desires to learn more about pastoral sexual abuse and prevention is welcome to attend. Topics Include:

What is pastoral sexual abuse?

How does this happen?

Is there an imbalance?

Who is vulnerable?

What are the vulnerabilities?

Why is this not an affair?

How do we prevent this?

Where is God?

How to start over?

How should the church respond?

And much more!

Population(s) Served

The Hope of Survivors-Romania provides emotional and spiritual support, as well as basic essentials to victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence and sex trafficking. Our goal is to hire a full-time employees to manage the program in Romania and to eventually establish a safe place to house and train victims so they can become self-supporting.

Population(s) Served
Victims and oppressed people

Where we work


Top-Rated Nonprofit by Great Nonprofits 2019


Finalist 2017

Classy Awards

Affiliations & memberships

American Association of Christian Counselors 2017

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clergy sexual abuse victims who have contacted the organization for help

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Females,Adolescents (13-19 years),Victims and oppressed people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

This is the number of new victims of clergy sexual abuse who received direct support from The Hope of Survivors in 2018. This number represents 7 countries and 23+ states.

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

The Hope of Survivors aims to assist victims of clergy sexual abuse in their healing process; prevent new or future recurrences of abuse; educate pastors and church leaders in the area of prevention, as well as proper responses to victims; aide congregations in making their churches safer places for worship; and raising awareness of the prevalence of clergy sexual abuse within all denominations.

The Hope of Survivors maintains a growing and active website (in multiple languages) to serve victims of clergy sexual abuse, as well as clergy and the public at large. Not only has the website been crucial in victims' recovery processes, but also in preventing abuse in many cases, and helping pastors better understand how to keep their congregations safe. In addition to the website, the organization produces educational materials for use in churches, schools, counseling centers, etc. The booklet, Understanding Sexual Misconduct Among Spiritual Leaders, is available in English and Spanish and covers many angles and topics related to clergy sexual abuse. Through the materials produced (booklets, DVDs, websites, one-on-one counseling), and a series of seminars (different seminars for clergy, victims and congregations), the organization is able to achieve its goals for helping victims, educating clergy and making churches safer places. The Hope of Survivors has also launched Clergy Sexual Abuse Awareness & Prevention Day in August and is working collaboratively with other organizations to raise awareness. In 2018, The Hope of Survivors created a private group on Facebook for survivors of clergy sexual abuse to provide support and information directly to each other and to feel connected to a network of other survivors.

The Hope of Survivors' greatest resource and asset is its staff, from board members and officers to volunteers who assist with public relations, database maintenance, etc. <br/><br/>The core of the organization's staff know firsthand what it is like to experience clergy sexual abuse and, subsequently, heal from its devastating impact. This is a resource which victims affirm time and time again has been the most helpful to them, even above their ongoing appointments with local therapists, counselors and psychologists. For a victim to know she/he is speaking with someone who KNOWS what they have gone through and has experienced healing, gives hope in a way that is not readily available by other means. <br/><br/>This firsthand experience also improves the organization's ability to portray to clergy the damaging effects of abuse by someone in the role of spiritual authority. It has a greater impact than a speaker who would only be able to present statistics and textbook facts.The reason the organization is successful is because those who serve in any capacity on behalf of the organization are passionate about the goals of preventing clergy sexual abuse, assisting victims with their healing and raising awareness.

The Hope of Survivors makes a lasting impact in the lives of victims of clergy sexual abuse. That impact can be seen in the decreased number of clergy sexual abuse-related suicides; the increase in the number of marriages that stay intact during and after clergy sexual abuse; the recommitment and rededication of victims' lives to God and to active church service after clergy sexual abuse; the amount of abuse that has been prevented because of The Hope of Survivors; and through many other life events and changes that take place for victims who have received assistance from The Hope of Survivors. <br/><br/>It is difficult to quantify the impact of our ministry in terms of the hope, encouragement and healing provided to victims and their spouses. Perhaps the best way to sense our success is in the unsolicited testimonies we continually receive: <br/><br/> ""The time spent with you and your husband was very beneficial for the both of us. …Thank you so much for listening to God's direction in your life and helping people like me. I'll say it again—you saved my life.""—IL <br/><br/>Phone call from a victim who had just discovered our web site. She said, ""I felt lost and alone and I was suicidal, so I started searching the Internet. The Hope of Survivors is what saved my life."" <br/><br/>""In the darkest times, when I could not find my way, you held out the Light of the World for me. May Jesus bless you.""—PA <br/><br/>""The Hope of Survivors has and will continue to do for clergy abuse survivors what MADD did for decreasing deaths due to drunk driving. …keep our house of worship safe havens for all.""—ME <br/><br/>""My mind was reeling as I closed the e-mail and stared off into space. So it hadn't been a mutual affair as I had been led to believe. I found material that answered my unspoken questions and helped to make sense of the chaos. I began to understand that I wasn't crazy; that my reactions to things I had seen had in fact been legitimate. I discovered that many other women had also been sucked into the same deception as my friend and I had been. And I was assured that there is hope, and a way out of the confusion and darkness. As I look back now, several years later, I am so thankful for the concrete information, as well as the emotional support, I received from The Hope of Survivors during a very difficult time in life.""—Europe <br/><br/>""It was truly a blessing to have been able to attend the conference and meet you and Steve. It truly was a turning point in our recovery.""—MO <br/><br/>The Hope of Survivors keeps records of all victims who make direct contact with the ministry for help, and that number averages 100+ new victims per year, an average of two (2) new victims per week. We also measure impact through website traffic statistics.

The organization has accomplished its initial goal of helping "just one". This was accomplished in 2003, a few months after the organization began (2002). To date, the organization has helped over 1,413 victims directly, through ongoing support, yet has helped thousands of victims worldwide through its website, TV & radio programs, educational materials, seminars, etc. Being able to recognize the positive impact the organization makes in people's lives compels us to go forward, to do more, provide more resources, raise greater awareness and focus on areas of prevention. The Hope of Survivors has yet to accomplish establishing enough monthly contributors to pay wages to key staff on a regular basis. This is a goal of the organization, in order to maintain quality and consistency in services. Providing these consistent services will enable the organization to achieve its goals.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is the organization collecting feedback?

    We regularly collect feedback through: electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.).

  • How is the organization using feedback?

    We use feedback to: to identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, to inform the development of new programs/projects, to strengthen relationships with the people we serve.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    We share feedback with: the people we serve, our board.

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to: we don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback.


Hope of Survivors

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Hope of Survivors

Board of directors
as of 11/5/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Steve Nelson

The Hope of Survivors

Term: 2017 - 2020

Board co-chair

Mrs. Samantha Nelson

The Hope of Survivors

Term: 2002 -

Steve Nelson

The Hope of Survivors

Steven Grabiner

The Hope of Survivors

Samantha Nelson

The Hope of Survivors

Martin Weber

The Hope of Survivors

Shyleene Rosado

The Hope of Survivors

Renee Battle-Brooks

The Hope of Survivors

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/05/2019

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity


Sexual orientation



clergy sexual abuse, pastoral sexual abuse, victims, pastors, women, Biblical counsel