[Click HERE to see the Blade’s full LGBT and AIDS organization leaders’ compensation survey]
Craig Shniderman, executive director of Food & Friends, a D.C.-based organization that provides food and nutritional services to homebound people with HIV/AIDS and other serious illnesses, has retained his status as the highest paid CEO among the heads of the nation’s most prominent LGBT advocacy groups and groups that provide AIDS-related services in D.C, New York and Los Angeles.
A new Washington Blade survey of the compensation paid to heads of LGBT and AIDS organizations shows that Shniderman had a total salary and benefits package of $433,896 in 2013, the latest period for which Food & Friends’ salary and annual revenue data could be obtained for a full fiscal year.
Similar to a survey of LGBT and AIDS group salaries conducted by the Blade in 2009, Shniderman’s earnings in the latest survey place him ahead of the CEOs of the Human Rights Campaign and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
The L.A. Center and HRC are the nation’s largest two LGBT organizations in terms of annual revenue and staff.
Chad Griffin, HRC’s president and CEO, came in second place in compensation in the latest survey, just behind Shniderman, with a total compensation package of $429,411 in 2013. Lorri L. Jean, CEO of the L.A. Center, came in third in the latest survey, with a total compensation package of $425,651 in 2013.
The organizations surveyed are among the largest LGBT and HIV/AIDS activist groups in the U.S. While most are national groups, some regional organizations were included as well in some cases because their operating budgets are in the same leagues as the national groups and in other cases because of their ties to the Washington, D.C. metro area.
Although several organizations provided figures voluntarily at the Blade’s request, most of these numbers came from public 990 forms the groups filed with the IRS. If directors’ salaries were gleaned from both a 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4), the revenue and salary listed are from both entities. While some organizations’ fiscal years do not coincide with the calendar year, their year that overlaps with the bulk of 2013 is listed here as 2013. In most cases, that was the most recent year for which 990 forms were available, but in a few cases — all noted — 2012 990s were the most recent available. The Blade reached out to all groups for updated numbers but several did not respond, as noted in the chart.
The 42 national and regional LGBT and AIDS groups included in the Blade’s latest survey are among thousands of U.S. nonprofit organizations that must file annual reports with the IRS disclosing financial information, including salaries and other compensation of their executive directors and chief operating officers.
Two national watchdog organizations that monitor salaries and other financial information of nonprofit groups – Guidestar and Charity Navigator – have released studies showing that the salaries of the heads of the LGBT and AIDS groups surveyed by the Blade are generally similar to the compensation of the heads of other nonprofit organizations with comparable annual revenue and staff size.
Food & Friends represents an exception to this trend, representing what Guidestar and Charity Navigator have said are a relatively smaller number of nonprofit groups whose CEOs receive salaries significantly higher than other groups of their size.
The annual revenue reported by Food & Friends for 2013, the latest year revenue and salary figures are available for the group, came to $8,886,423. It had a staff in 2013 of 53.
By contrast, the L.A. Center’s revenue for 2013 came to $66.2 million and it had a staff of 404 employees, retaining its status as the nation’s overall largest LGBT organization. The L.A. Center provides HIV/AIDS-related services as well as a wide range of social and recreational services for the LGBT community.
HRC’s annual revenue for 2013, the latest period for which its revenue data is publicly available, came to $52.3 million. The group had a staff in 2013 of 177 employees, making it the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights and political advocacy group.
Among the 42 groups surveyed by the Blade, the executive directors or CEOs of just three – Shniderman, Griffin and Jean – had compensation packages greater than $400,000.
The heads of four of the groups had a salary and total compensation between $300,000 and $400,000; seven had a total compensation of between $200,000 and $300,000; 12 – the largest contingent – had a total compensation package of between $100,000 and $200,000.
Others in the $300,000 plus category were Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal ($345,515) and Marjorie Hill, executive director of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis of New York ($320,000).
Among those in the $200,000 plus range include Don Blanchon, executive director of D.C.’s Whitman-Walker Health ($270,250) and Rea Carey, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force ($260,273).
The majority of groups surveyed by the Blade had salaries and total compensation packages that equaled 10 percent or less of the annual revenue of their respective organizations.
Officials with Guidestar and Charity Navigator have said a high salary to revenue percentage is sometimes a warning signal for possible problems with non-profit groups. But the two watchdog organizations have also said a competitive marketplace for competent and experienced executives often makes it necessary for non-profits to offer a competitive salary to find a qualified CEO regardless of the size of the group’s budget.
“We know that many donors continue to be concerned by what they believe to be excessive charity CEO pay,” Charity Navigator states in the introduction to its 2014 Charity CEO Compensation Study. “But well-meaning donors sometimes fail to consider that these CEOs are typically running multi-million dollar operations that endeavor to help change the world.”