The question is whether nonprofits should pay large salaries to their leaders or not. See the well-paid president of the American Institute of Philanthropy/Charity Watch quoted giving two different answers.
Why the contradictions? It appears as if Daniel Borochoff will say whatever gets him the most attention when misguided journalists ask for his opinion.
ANNUAL SURVEY Charity leaders’ salaries rise by 3.7%
The median salary for leaders of the largest charities was $291,000.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Compensation increases in 2003 for the executives who run the largest nonprofit organizations nearly doubled the rate of inflation, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual survey.
The study being released today showed that the median salary of 215 chief executives was $291,356. The median is the middle point of that group, meaning 107 leaders made more than that figure and 107 made less.
The publication determined that the middle range of the increases from 2002 to 2003 was 3.7 percent, almost twice the inflation rate of 1.9 percent last year. Still, the rate of compensation increase was the smallest since 1996, the figures showed.
Salaries of leaders of 309 of the largest nonprofit organizations were reviewed in 2003. Of those, 215 had provided information the previous year and were compared to track growth. The survey does not necessarily reflect all top earners.
The four top earners surveyed worked at hospitals: Harold Varmus, president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and Floyd D. Loop, chief executive of Cleveland Clinic Foundation, both of whom earned $1.7 million in 2003; Herbert Pardes, chief executive of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, $1.3 million; and Peter G. Traber, president of the Baylor College of Medicine, $1.2 million.
Some are keeping a watchful eye on the escalating salaries at nonprofits. The Senate Finance Committee held hearings in June on what its members consider abuses among charitable organizations. The Internal Revenue Service announced at the hearings it would investigate vigorously “seemingly high compensation” paid to some charity executives and board members.
One worry about high salaries is that donors will stop giving to charities if they consider the salaries of nonprofits’ leaders excessive, said Daniel Borochoff, president of the Chicago-based American Institute of Philanthropy, a nonprofit charity watchdog service.
Borochoff said nonprofits often pay high salaries simply to keep pace with the salaries paid those in the corporate world.
“There’s a lot of responsibility and a lot of background and experience needed for those jobs,” he said. “The nonprofit needs to hire qualified people.” For example, those running hospitals deal with very large, complicated matters such as insurance and regulatory issues.
IRS rules governing charities and private foundations say they cannot pay executives more than reasonable compensation. Excessive compensation can be penalized by excise taxes. A group’s tax-exempt status can be revoked if trustees, founders, directors or others use the charity for their benefit.
Heads of largest children’s hospitals receive big salaries and generous benefits
September 28, 2011 | By KaiserHealthNews
By Gilbert M. Gaul
This story was produced in collaboration with mcclatchy
Most CEOs at the largest and richest children’s hospitals are paid more than $1 million in salary and benefits annually, an analysis of hospital tax records shows. Including retirement payouts and bonuses, three CEOs collected $5 million or more in 2009, the most recent year for which compensation figures were available, public tax returns show. Three others received $2 million. In all, 22 of 25 CEOs collected at least $1 million.
Some CEOs received bonuses and perks more commonly associated with the private sector, including cars, first class travel, country club memberships and special retirement packages worth millions.
As the head of Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Edwin K. Zechman Jr., who retired in June, was “entitled” under his employment contract to take his spouse “on up to 7 trips per year for conferences,” according to the hospital’s tax return. The hospital said in a statement that Denise Zechman’s “presence at national business and association meetings supported her ability to represent and advocate for the needs of children generally and for Children’s National specifically with national child health and health policy advocates and leaders.” Zechman received nearly $2 million in compensation in 2009, including the value of any trips on which his wife accompanied him.
The pay packages have continued to climb even as the economy has languished and millions of Americans struggle to pay their health care bills.
For some, the generous compensation raises questions about the mission of children’s hospitals, which operate as tax-exempt charities.
“Hospital CEOs, including those at children’s hospitals, are among the most lavishly compensated executives in the nonprofit field,” said Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy, a charity watchdog group based in Chicago.
“These seven-figure CEO pay packages make it hard for nonprofit hospitals to justify their tax-exempt status,” he added. “If hospital CEO compensation were more in line with other large nonprofits then there could be more funding for community benefits such as free or discounted health care or important medical research.”