Nonprofits take your donations and give them to a good cause, right?
To be fair, most do, while paying their employees competitive but modest salaries. But a handful of nonprofits pay their top executives shockingly high salaries that could make their for-profit corporate counterparts jealous.
PHOTO GALLERY: The 10 Highest-Paid Nonprofit Execs
While you may be scrambling to make your annual charitable contributions, nonprofit executive compensation is rising faster than inflation, though not by much. Median pay for executives at the largest charities and foundations increased 3.8 percent in 2011 to $429,512, according to a September report from the Chronicle of Philanthropy, whereas the inflation rate was about 3 percent during the year.
In 2010, one-third of nonprofits surveyed provided bonuses to their well-paid executives, and the median bonus was over $50,000. This year, top executives are expected to receive modest increases, from 2.5 to 3.5 percent. But when you’re making what the highest-paid executive on our list does -- $2.5 million a year -- that’s a decent raise. More than 20 nonprofit groups paid top executives more than $1 million a year in 2010 and 2011, according to the report.
The rising nonprofit salaries prompted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to issue an executive order in May that limits some charities from using state funds to pay salaries of more than $199,000. Other states, such as New Jersey, Florida and Massachusetts, have also made efforts to curb nonprofit executive pay.
Click here to see the 10 highest-paid nonprofit executives in the field (excluding those at colleges and hospitals), according to 2011 and 2010 tax return data compiled by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The data come from 400 charities that raise the most money from private sources or grant makers.
1. Laurance Hoagland Jr., Chief Investment Officer, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Menlo Park, CA - $2.5 million
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is a private nonprofit started by Hewlett-Packard cofounder William Redington Hewlett in 1966 that awards grants to educational and cultural institutions. Mr. Hoagland, who was formerly a portfolio manager of the Irwin Management Company in Indiana, earns pay fit for a top CEO on Wall Street. In 2011, his base salary was $561,927, but he earned an additional $1.87 million for “incentive compensation” on top of $35,059 in retirement payments. Not included in this number are his generous benefits - $65,311 for medical coverage and matched 403(b) retirement contributions. <a href="http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/" target="_hplink">Read more at the Fiscal Times. </a>
2. John Seffrin, CEO, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA - $2.1 million
2. John Seffrin, CEO, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA - $2.1 million As head of the American Cancer Society, the world’s largest voluntary health organization fighting cancer, since 1992, Seffrin currently serves on a White House public health advisory group. He holds a PhD in health education from Purdue University, and was formerly the president of the Union for International Cancer Control. He’s paid handsomely for his duties, making a base salary of $587,477 in 2010 on top of nearly $1.5 million in deferred compensation. <a href="http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/" target="_hplink">Read more at the Fiscal Times. </a>
3. Roxanne Spillett, president, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Atlanta, GA - $1.8 million
Founded in 1860 as the Boys’ Club, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (or BGCA) provides after-school programs for young people at over 4,000 local chapters and serving some 4 million children and teens. It’s also tax-exempt and partially funded by the government. Spillett has been with the organization for more than 30 years and became the president in 1996. Her base salary in 2011 was $455,829 with an additional $116,000 bonus and $1.2 million in deferred compensation and retirement. <a href="http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/" target="_hplink">Read more at the Fiscal Times. </a>
4. Reynold Levy, President, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York, NY- $1.4 million
Built by John D. Rockefeller in Manhattan in 1962, the Lincoln Center is home to the Metropolitan Opera House and the New York City Ballet, and is considered the world’s largest presenter of performing arts. Levy, president since 2002, made $1,396,441 in 2010, with additional benefits adding up to $373,925. He recently announced plans to step down from the position at the end of 2013. <a href="http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/" target="_hplink">Read more at the Fiscal Times. </a>
5. Placido Domingo, General Director, Los Angeles Opera, CA - $1.35 million
In addition to his general director duties, Domingo is an opera singer and conductor, performing in more than 3,600 shows. He’s also recorded multiple albums (which have won him 12 Grammy’s), appeared in more than 50 music videos, three opera films, and even played a voice role in Disney’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua. To have him employed as a performer and general director, the Los Angeles Opera paid him a generous $1.3 million in 2010, $475,000 of which was deferred compensation from previous years. <em><strong>Correction:</strong> An earlier version of this slideshow said Domingo received an additional $50,000 in deferred compensation in 2010. That amount was deferred to a later year.</em> <a href="http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/" target="_hplink">Read more at the Fiscal Times. </a>
6. Michael Kaiser, President, JFK Center for the Performing Arts, Washington D.C. - $1.348 million
President of the Kennedy Center since 2001, Kaiser also founded the DeVos Insitute of Arts Management that year at the center, which provides training for arts administrators. Prior to coming to the center, he worked as the executive director of the Royal Opera House, and in the corporate sector before that, advising clients such as GM and IBM. In 2010, he made $1,347,914 in a combination of salary, bonuses and deferred compensation, as well as $28,986 in benefits. <a href="http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/" target="_hplink">Read more at the Fiscal Times. </a>
7. Peter Gelb, General Manager, Metropolitan Opera Association, New York - $1.3 million
Starting out as an usher at the Metropolitan Opera at age 17, Gelb had a long career as a producer in classical music and was formally the president of Sony Classical, before becoming the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera in 2006. In 2010, he earned $1,248,461, in addition to $52,455 in other payments (which typically include housing allowances, club dues and other perks), as well as $78K in benefits. <a href="http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/" target="_hplink">Read more at the Fiscal Times. </a>
8. Glenn Lowry, Chief Executive, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY - $1.2 million
Though New York’s Museum of Modern Art (or MoMA) raised admission last year from $20 to $25, Lowry continues to bring in a hefty salary. Though he took a pay cut during the recession, in 2011, he still received over $950K in salary and bonuses, and $247,836 in deferred compensation. He also receives a $318K housing allowance to live rent-free in a $6 million apartment in MoMA’s residential tower. <a href="http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/" target="_hplink">Read more at the Fiscal Times. </a>
9. James Williams, Chief Investment Officer, J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, CA – $1.2 million
With an estimated endowment of $5.6 billion in 2011, the J. Paul Getty Trust is one of the world’s wealthiest art institution. And even though the organization scaled back on some programs, cut 205 jobs, and raised parking costs for museum visitors during the recession, they still pay their chief investment officer handsomely. Though Mr. Williams, formerly the president of Harbor Capital and pension plan manager at Ford Motor Company, did take a 6 percent pay cut in 2009, he still earned a base salary of $851,760, with an additional $187,653 bonus and $167,106 in other payments in 2011. <a href="http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/" target="_hplink">Read more at the Fiscal Times. </a>
10. Edwin Feulner Jr., President, Heritage Foundation - $1.1 million
A conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., the Heritage Foundation pays cofounder and president generously to promote conservative public policies and principles. In 2011, Feulner made a $501,263 salary with an additional $575,300 bonus and $21,225 in other payments. But according to his bio, Feulner “works tirelessly” and “travels more than 150,000 miles a year…to help spread the ideals of individual liberty, economic freedom, rule of law, and family values.” <a href="http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/" target="_hplink">Read more at the Fiscal Times. </a>