Who is Behind ‘He Gets Us,’ the $100 Million Campaign Rebranding Jesus?

A Christian nonprofit paid $20 million for Super Bowl commercials, and that's just a fraction of its budget to rebrand Jesus.

The statue of Cristo Redentor or Christ the Redeemer on the Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro.
He Gets Us is rebranding Jesus. Getty Images

Two commercials advertising Jesus’s message of acceptance worth $20 million, paid for by the Christian campaign He Gets Us, aired during the Super Bowl Feb. 12. The campaign funds television commercials, online ads and billboards as part of a $100 million effort to humanize Jesus and Christianity.

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The ads are part of a series the organization has been running since November 2021. The first Super Bowl commercial showed a series of images with children embracing before the tag line “Jesus didn’t want us to act like adults.” The second displayed images of adults yelling at each other, then flashed the line “Jesus loved the people we hate.” Both ended with the statement “He gets us. All of us,” and directed viewers to the website. From November to December, the most recent data, He Gets Us’s website’s traffic tripled, according to website analytics company Similarweb.

He Gets Us is funded by the Signatry, also known as the Servant Foundation, a nonprofit based in Overland Park, Kansas that donates funds to Christian organizations. The campaign intends to rebrand Jesus as a symbol of unconditional love and peace, and away from the hatred and oppression he has become associated with among some, according to its website. But little is known about who and how many donors are funding it. And despite He Gets Us’s website claiming it isn’t right-wing or left-wing, the Signatry donates funds to conservative Christian organizations fighting causes like abortion access and LGBTQ rights, according to its 990 form, which discloses its donations to the Internal Revenue Service.

Donors to the He Gets Us campaign can remain anonymous, and most have. But in November, David Green, founder and CEO of craft store Hobby Lobby, said his family is helping fund the advertisements. Green, the son of a preacher and devout Christian, is worth $14.8 billion according to Forbes. He previously helped fund the $500 million Museum of the Bible located in Washington D.C.

Spending $1 billion to market Jesus

Over the next three years, He Gets Us intends to invest $1 billion in advertising Jesus, Jason Vanderground, who is working on the campaign, told Christianity Today. He Gets Us did not immediately respond to the Observer’s questions.

The Super Bowl ads sparked controversy on Twitter. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Representative in Congress and a Democrat, tweeted, “Something tells me Jesus would *not* spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads to make fascism look benign.”

The Signatry’s most recent 990 form covers from April 2020 to March 2021. In this period, it earned $627 million in funding and donated $391 million. The National Christian Foundation, a Georgia-based nonprofit donating to churches and charities, received the largest amount at $50.8 million. The Signatry also donated $48.1 million to Every Home for Christ, a nonprofit providing funds to Christian groups around the world. Other beneficiaries include Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal advocacy group supporting anti-LGBTQ legislation and Live Action, an anti-abortion organization that has been banned on multiple social media platforms for spreading misinformation and conspiracies.

The Signatry donated funds to more than 1,500 unique organizations in this period. Its CEO, Stephen French, was paid $255,000 during fiscal year 2021.

Who is Behind ‘He Gets Us,’ the $100 Million Campaign Rebranding Jesus?