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Colorado Springs ministry Compassion International ranked among nation's top employers

May 17, 2017 Updated: May 18, 2017 at 2:01 pm
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The lobby at Compassion International at 12290 Voyager Parkway in Colorado Springs on Monday, June 24, 2013. Carol Lawrence,The Gazette

After five years with Colorado Springs-based Christian ministry Compassion International, employees get an all-expenses-paid, four-day trip to visit one of its church partners and interact with some of the children the group sponsors in either Central America or the Caribbean.

After 10 years, the trip is to South America and after 15 years employees go to Africa, while at 20 years employees spend 10 days in Asia. Add to that a 10 percent match to their retirement contributions; adoption assistance; identity-theft protection; legal services; an on-site fitness center and nature trail; a minimum of 25 days off; and you can see why Compassion was been ranked as the nation's 40th-best mid-sized employer in a new ranking published last week by Forbes magazine. Compassion was the top Colorado organization on the list and the only employer based in the Springs.

The Forbes ranking is the latest honor Compassion has received for its employment practices. The nonprofit was among 37 companies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations to receive the 2017 Gallup Great Workplace Award that recognizes employers for creating an engaged workplace culture. Compassion also received the award in 2012-15, To get the award, employers must administer an employee engagement survey to at least 50 employees that a representative of the entire organization and receive a response rate of at least 80 percent and a score of at least 4.2 on a scale of 5.

"We are honored to be recognized as a great place to work," Tom Beck, Compassion's vice president for human resources, said in a news release issued earlier this week. "Employees choose Compassion because of the impact we're making on the lives of children living in poverty around the world. We are proud to build and support a culture for our employees that makes Compassion an enjoyable and unique workplace. Rescuing children from poverty is more than a job, it's a calling, and our employees are here in response to that calling."

Forbes hired German research firm Statista to develop lists of top mid-size - with 1,000-5,000 workers - and large - with more than 5,000 workers - employers based on surveys of 30,000 employees that were not consulted through their employers but anonymously through several online panels.The large firm list was headed by retailer Costco Wholesale and Google as well as 10 major local employers (see list).

Compassion was founded in 1952 by Chicago minister Everett Swanson after a visit to soldiers in South Korea, which motivated him to start a ministry to help Korean War orphans. The ministry was incorporated four years later as the Everett Swanson Evangelistic Association and changed its name in 1963 to Compassion International. The nonprofit moved in 1980 to Colorado Springs, first building a headquarters building near the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, then moving to a larger complex in the Northgate area in 2000, adding a new building in 2005 and acquiring another in 2015.

The nonprofit today employs 900 in Colorado Springs and more than 3,300 worldwide, including partner organizations, to sponsor 1.8 million children in 25 countries. The group's $803 million annual income has more than tripled in the past 10 years and ranks it as the nation's 15th largest U.S. charity, according to Forbes.Compassion shut down its operations in India two months ago amid a dispute with that nation's government over whether the group was engaging in religious conversion in the predominately Hindu country, according to the New York Times. The nonprofit said it broke no Indian laws and said the government "misunderstands" Compassion's mission.

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