Tag Archives: CEO salaries

Nice Work If You Can Get It

[This post was later published, with some small adjustments, as an op-ed for Inside Philanthropy on May 3, 2016.]

Presidents of large private foundations get paid too much.

I don’t say that out of envy. (Not entirely, anyway.) I say that because by objective standards CEOs of private foundation receive disproportionately large salaries given the relative simplicity of their jobs. Continue reading

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CEOs, and Everyone Else

A recent article in the Boston Globe about the generous perks major Massachusetts nonprofits are providing to their CEOs has stirred up debate once more about proper compensation and incentives for charitable executives.

Some of the perks are wildly generous. The Museum of Science pays the college tuition for its president’s two children. The director of the Museum of Fine Arts receives a $60,000 housing allowance every year, on top of his $900,000+ salary. Several organizations provide generous entertainment allowances, dues at exclusive private clubs, free travel for spouses, fancy cars, and retention bonuses. Continue reading

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Income Inequality: The Nonprofit Edition

Who here is old enough to remember the William Aramony scandal?

In 1991, Aramony, the head of what was then called United Way of America, was found to be having a series of affairs, culminating with a long-term liaison with a girl who was 17 years old (Aramony was 59) when they met. Moreover, Aramony traveled with her in style (four-star hotels, the Concorde to Europe, nights in a specially-purchased luxury condo in New York City), all on United Way’s dime. And this was on top of what was discovered to be a lavish $390,000 annual salary.

Aramony became the poster child for abusing the trust people place in charity. The scandal damaged the independent local United Ways, which were tarred by association, even though they had only a tangential connection to Aramony and his shenanigans. In fact, the scandal impugned the reputation of the entire nonprofit sector. And the United Way of America’s board of governors was roundly seen as equal parts negligent and clueless, and so extremely wealthy that they didn’t realize that paying the CEO of any charity that kind of money was utterly inappropriate. While Aramony’s travel style and sexual peccadillos clearly attracted attention, people were stunned enough by his salary alone that they raised their eyebrows and voices.

Flash forward a couple of decades. Continue reading

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