Tim Ballard Quietly Leaves Two Anti-Trafficking Nonprofits


“Sound of Freedom,” the independent film about Tim Ballard, who founded the anti-trafficking nonprofit Operation Underground Railroad, is a big hit in theaters. But Ballard, OUR’s former CEO, quietly left the nonprofit before the film was released amid an internal investigation, according to Vice, which was first to report the news.

Ballard has done extensive publicity for the film, which opened July 4 and has earned a surprising $100 million at the box office. But he never mentioned or explained his departure from OUR. Vice has since reported that Ballard has also left The Nazarene Fund, the anti-trafficking organization founded by Glenn Beck where Ballard was also CEO. Neither nonprofit has explained when or why Ballard left.

Vice reported that Ballard has been raising funds for a new nonprofit called the Spear Fund that he introduced on the Fox News show “Jesse Watters Primetime” this week. A Spear Fund website requests donations but doesn’t say what the group plans to do beyond “education, action, redemption, spirituality, and peace.”

Operation Underground Railroad has partnered with both The Nazarene Fund, where Ballard worked as CEO before leaving the post earlier this month, and Mercury One. The sister organizations were both founded by Glenn Beck, the conservative Mormon TV and radio star. Ballard himself is a Mormon father of nine and a former Department of Homeland Security agent. Coverage of Ballard by Christian media, including Christian Broadcasting Network and Focus on the Family, has not mentioned his Mormon faith.

MinistyWatch’s previous reporting on organizations related to Ballard found significant concerns:

  • They have raised many millions of dollars for a variety of purposes — combating trafficking, transporting believers trapped in Afghanistan after the U.S. forces departed — but have not been forthcoming about how they spent the funds.

  • Ballard and OUR have been the subject of a Utah investigation for fraud in its fundraising and witness tampering, but Deseret News reported that the multi-year investigation was closed in May with no appeals.

  • OUR has engaged in risky rescues filmed by its camera crews and has settled a lawsuit with one man it falsely claimed was a sex trafficker.

“Sound of Freedom” has been praised by evangelicals and other conservatives and was screened at one of former President Donald Trump’s golf clubs. Trump appointed Ballard to a federal advisory panel on human trafficking.

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