GEORGETOWN, Texas — There are dozens of extremely well-known nonprofit organizations in the United States and around the world. The most common assumption that people make when they think of nonprofit organizations is that they run mostly on donations that every single penny spent is documented many times and the employees usually do not make a lot of money. True to this assumption, many organizations run purely on volunteers like The Borgen Project. Many CEO’s of nonprofits are, however, paid nearly as well as for-profit companies; there are many nonprofit CEO’s who make seven figures per year or more.
A study conducted by The Chronicle of Philanthropy found that many CEO’s of major nonprofits now routinely make over $1 million. Some well-known examples of millionaire CEO’s of nonprofits are Roxanne Spillett, who is the head of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, who took home $1.8 million and Glenn Lowry, the chief executive of the Museum of Modern Art, took home $1.2 million. Edwin Feulner Jr. of the Heritage Foundation was paid nearly $1.1 million for his efforts. The Huffington Post also compiled a list of their top ten millionaire CEO’s of nonprofits. The biggest earner on their list was the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of the non-profit organization the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, a private nonprofit organization that gives out grants to various educational and cultural groups and institutions. Its CIO, Laurance Hoagland Jr. was paid $2.1 million for his trouble.
Another millionaire boss of a well-known nonprofit is the CEO of the popular group, the American Cancer Society. It is one of the largest voluntary cancer fighting organizations in the world; however, its CEO, John Sefferin was paid $ 2.1 million for his efforts. The Huffington Posts list continues with the six out of the top 10 highest paid millionaire CEO’s and heads of nonprofit organizations are either museums or symphony halls.
The obvious moral dilemma that comes along with nonprofit organizations is the fact that they do indeed take much of their income from donations from concerned citizens around the world. However, many do not expect the faces of these groups to be raking in the amount of money that they do; it also raises the question of how much of the donations that come into these groups, which are meant to aid those around the world, goes to pay the salaries of these CEO’s.
The dilemma continues with the issue that while millionaire CEO’s of nonprofits do seem outlandish and raise concerns about the potential misuse of funds that should be going towards aid for people are instead going to the salaries of their CEO’s. However, if the CEO’s are truly making the cause and vision of the organization the utmost priority then their millionaire salary may in fact be worth it.
– Arthur Fuller