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.

Ruling Year



Mrs. Samantha R. Nelson

Main Address

843 Broadway

Sonoma, CA 95476 USA


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





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

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.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

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

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Hope & Healing Conference for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Population(s) served


Adolescents (13-19 years),

Victims and oppressed people

Context notes

This is the number of new victims of clergy sexual abuse who received direct support (email, phone, in-person) from The Hope of Survivors in 2017. This number represents 4 countries and 25+ states.

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

""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

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.""

""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

""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

""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

""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

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 1,345 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.

External Reviews

Affiliations & Memberships

American Association of Christian Counselors



Hope of Survivors

Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Need more info on this nonprofit?

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FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2016
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to view a Sample Report.


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

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2016
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


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?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity