Cause IQ nonprofit insights

The Highest Paid Nonprofit CEOs

Picture of a dollar bill. Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash.

The highest-paid nonprofit leaders — CEOs, Executive Directors, etc. — all earn at least $900k per year, and into the tens of millions for the largest of hospitals and health systems. While the highest-paid nonprofit CEOs are in healthcare and financial services, things get more interesting when we look at normal charities. The highest-paid charity CEOs tend to be a mix of arts organizations, museums, and research institutes, although a wide variety of organizations pay their leadership quite well.

Executive compensation is a tricky issue. Just because a CEO or Executive Director is paid well doesn't mean they aren't more than worth it. But it's still worth trying to understand if a nonprofit exec's pay is similar to their colleagues or not. To do so, we compared total compensation as a percent of organization revenue, and total compensation as a percent of all salaries and benefits paid out by the organization. We found that most executives compensation was between 1.0% and 1.4% of total revenue and between 3.0% and 3.3% of all salaries and benefits paid (these are 25th and 75 percentiles). We found executives paid up to 8.8% of total revenue and 58.3% of all salaries and benefits paid.

Top 10 highest-paid nonprofit CEOs

  1. Ernie Sadau, CHRISTUS Health

    Title:
    Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $13,463,390
    Base:
    $4,838,032
    % Revenue:
    1.3%
    % Comp:
    2.8%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $1,012,200,002
    FYE:
    2020-06
    Location:
    Website:
  2. R Heldebrant, Star One Credit Union

    Title:
    Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $12,465,866
    Base:
    $625,269
    % Revenue:
    4.8%
    % Comp:
    33.0%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $257,132,367
    FYE:
    2017-12
    Location:
    Website:
  3. Steven J. Corwin, NewYork Presbyterian Hospital

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $12,414,295
    Base:
    $2,169,286
    % Revenue:
    0.2%
    % Comp:
    0.3%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $6,714,154,880
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  4. Peter S. Fine Fache, Banner Health

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $11,256,938
    Base:
    $1,489,493
    % Revenue:
    0.2%
    % Comp:
    0.3%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $7,138,466,898
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  5. Jack N Gerard, American Petroleum Institute

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $10,669,493
    Base:
    $1,954,232
    % Revenue:
    4.5%
    % Comp:
    14.4%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $238,520,840
    FYE:
    2018-12
    Location:
    Website:
  6. Anthony R Tersigni, Ascension Health

    Title:
    Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $10,631,627
    Base:
    $1,400,605
    % Revenue:
    0.4%
    % Comp:
    1.2%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $2,389,900,816
    FYE:
    2020-06
    Location:
    Website:
  7. Teresa Campbell, San Diego County Credit Union

    Title:
    Chief Executive Officer and President
    Amount:
    $9,946,020
    Base:
    $1,010,087
    % Revenue:
    2.9%
    % Comp:
    11.4%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $343,670,713
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  8. James D. Dahling, Children's Health System

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $8,917,055
    Base:
    $1,015,004
    % Revenue:
    29.4%
    % Comp:
    66.4%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $30,331,259
    FYE:
    2020-06
    Location:
    Website:
  9. David C Pate, Saint Luke's Health System

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $8,564,141
    Base:
    $1,186,628
    % Revenue:
    1.5%
    % Comp:
    2.1%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $575,649,444
    FYE:
    2019-09
    Location:
    Website:
  10. Howard P Kern, Sentara Healthcare

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer and Ex - Efficio Director
    Amount:
    $8,053,745
    Base:
    $1,721,005
    % Revenue:
    3.3%
    % Comp:
    8.1%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $244,219,286
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:

Top 50 highest-paid charity CEOs

  1. Anthony R Tersigni, Ascension Health

    Title:
    Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $10,631,627
    Base:
    $1,400,605
    % Revenue:
    0.4%
    % Comp:
    1.2%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $2,389,900,816
    FYE:
    2020-06
    Location:
    Website:
  2. James Skogsbergh, Advocate Aurora Health

    Title:
    Chief Executive Officer , President , Director
    Amount:
    $5,964,082
    Base:
    $1,871,319
    % Revenue:
    6.9%
    % Comp:
    8.2%
  3. Tiffany Carr, Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $4,615,910
    Base:
    $416,816
    % Revenue:
    8.3%
    % Comp:
    77.9%
  4. Lewis von Thaer, Battelle Memorial Institute

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $3,775,540
    Base:
    $1,058,348
    % Revenue:
    0.0%
    % Comp:
    0.1%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $9,245,496,160
    FYE:
    2019-09
    Location:
    Website:
  5. Robert Schultze, International City Management Association Retirement Corporation

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer and Dir Until 11 and 4 and 19 / President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $3,125,351
    Base:
    $616,250
    % Revenue:
    1.3%
    % Comp:
    2.0%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $243,525,421
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  6. Thomas P Campbell, Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Title:
    Executive Director
    Amount:
    $3,017,012
    Base:
    $543,317
    % Revenue:
    0.7%
    % Comp:
    1.3%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $414,668,610
    FYE:
    2018-06
    Location:
    Website:
  7. Michael W Howard, Electric Power Research Institute

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $2,528,882
    Base:
    $690,090
    % Revenue:
    0.6%
    % Comp:
    1.3%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $421,043,576
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  8. Nancy Brown, American Heart Association

    Title:
    Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $2,517,493
    Base:
    $851,015
    % Revenue:
    0.4%
    % Comp:
    0.7%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $700,362,587
    FYE:
    2020-06
    Location:
    Website:
  9. David Myers-See Sch J Notes, American Institutes for Research in the Behavioral Sciences

    Title:
    Board Member , President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $2,430,374
    Base:
    $715,384
    % Revenue:
    0.3%
    % Comp:
    1.1%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $829,569,118
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  10. Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center

    Title:
    Managing and Artistic Director
    Amount:
    $2,361,171
    Base:
    $1,791,925
    % Revenue:
    8.7%
    % Comp:
    11.8%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $27,240,751
    FYE:
    2020-06
    Location:
    Website:
  11. Edward J Grefenstette, The Dietrich Foundation

    Title:
    President, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Information Officer
    Amount:
    $2,315,041
    Base:
    $540,000
    % Revenue:
    3.0%
    % Comp:
    60.3%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $76,422,895
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  12. Gordon van Welie, ISO New England

    Title:
    President , and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $2,306,029
    Base:
    $760,091
    % Revenue:
    1.2%
    % Comp:
    2.0%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $194,266,780
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  13. Alan F. List, MD, Moffitt Cancer Center

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $2,298,047
    Base:
    $962,345
    % Revenue:
    1.1%
    % Comp:
    1.6%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $203,209,481
    FYE:
    2020-06
    Location:
    Website:
  14. Dale Maxwell, Presbyterian Healthcare Services

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer and Director
    Amount:
    $2,254,771
    Base:
    $1,284,036
    % Revenue:
    0.1%
    % Comp:
    0.2%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $1,948,082,742
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  15. Mary Leary, Mather LifeWays

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $2,226,163
    Base:
    $699,380
    % Revenue:
    4.2%
    % Comp:
    7.5%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $52,953,061
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  16. C Darby, In-Q-Tel

    Title:
    President , Chief Executive Officer and Trustee
    Amount:
    $2,222,343
    Base:
    $769,620
    % Revenue:
    1.7%
    % Comp:
    4.4%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $133,417,523
    FYE:
    2020-03
    Location:
    Website:
  17. Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall / The Carnegie Hall Corporation

    Title:
    Executive and Artistic Director
    Amount:
    $2,167,405
    Base:
    $1,337,640
    % Revenue:
    3.2%
    % Comp:
    4.6%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $67,672,916
    FYE:
    2020-06
    Location:
    Website:
  18. David Zolet, Logistics Management Institute

    Title:
    Chief Executive Officer and President
    Amount:
    $2,165,759
    Base:
    $654,157
    % Revenue:
    0.7%
    % Comp:
    1.0%
  19. John Petrovich, The Alfred E Mann Foundation for Scientific Research

    Title:
    Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $2,155,823
    Base:
    $358,937
    % Revenue:
    1.0%
    % Comp:
    15.6%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $225,963,433
    FYE:
    2021-03
    Location:
    Website:
  20. Peter Miller, The Institutes

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $2,070,074
    Base:
    $788,123
    % Revenue:
    2.7%
    % Comp:
    7.8%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $77,706,816
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  21. Eric Lander, The Broad Institute

    Title:
    President and Director / Director , President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,978,783
    Base:
    $1,348,223
    % Revenue:
    0.3%
    % Comp:
    0.9%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $586,860,976
    FYE:
    2020-06
    Location:
    Website:
  22. Ellen Futter, American Museum of Natural History

    Title:
    President and Trustee
    Amount:
    $1,881,009
    Base:
    $1,089,410
    % Revenue:
    0.9%
    % Comp:
    1.6%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $198,055,556
    FYE:
    2020-06
    Location:
  23. Christopher D. Hillyer, New York Blood Center

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,822,254
    Base:
    $1,042,440
    % Revenue:
    0.4%
    % Comp:
    1.0%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $483,523,813
    FYE:
    2020-03
    Location:
    Website:
  24. William Jeffrey, SRI International

    Title:
    Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,803,862
    Base:
    $660,046
    % Revenue:
    0.5%
    % Comp:
    0.8%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $390,019,935
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  25. William F. McKeon, Texas Medical Center

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer / Board Member
    Amount:
    $1,775,707
    Base:
    $1,248,386
    % Revenue:
    1.6%
    % Comp:
    16.0%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $112,738,455
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  26. Lincoln Smith, Altarum Institute

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,757,770
    Base:
    $409,122
    % Revenue:
    3.5%
    % Comp:
    5.6%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $50,041,977
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  27. Raymond H. Cypess, American Type Culture Collection

    Title:
    Chairman , Chief Executive Officer / Chief Executive Officer , Chairman
    Amount:
    $1,755,865
    Base:
    $1,308,155
    % Revenue:
    1.6%
    % Comp:
    3.8%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $110,718,935
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  28. Glimcher Laurie, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

    Title:
    Trustee , President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,731,293
    Base:
    $1,140,233
    % Revenue:
    0.1%
    % Comp:
    0.3%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $2,005,205,411
    FYE:
    2019-09
    Location:
    Website:
  29. Lisa Sherman, Ad Council Edge

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,721,574
    Base:
    $643,669
    % Revenue:
    3.4%
    % Comp:
    8.7%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $50,471,539
    FYE:
    2020-06
    Location:
    Website:
  30. Marki Flannery, Visiting Nurse Service of New York

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,710,106
    Base:
    $1,189,681
    % Revenue:
    4.0%
    % Comp:
    1.8%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $42,264,408
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  31. Mark R Chassin Facp, The Joint Commission

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,701,007
    Base:
    $1,386,777
    % Revenue:
    0.9%
    % Comp:
    1.4%
  32. David Coleman, College Board

    Title:
    Chief Executive Officer and Trustee
    Amount:
    $1,677,781
    Base:
    $859,347
    % Revenue:
    0.2%
    % Comp:
    0.5%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $1,107,897,207
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  33. Dan Nisley, Heart of Texas Goodwill Industries

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,666,286
    Base:
    $106,435
    % Revenue:
    13.2%
    % Comp:
    22.1%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $12,630,235
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  34. Issac William Ferniany, Uab Health System Managing Board

    Title:
    Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,650,143
    Base:
    $739,546
    % Revenue:
    4.0%
    % Comp:
    11.1%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $41,286,938
    FYE:
    2019-09
    Location:
  35. Brian J. Boon, Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities

    Title:
    President and CEO
    Amount:
    $1,590,033
    Base:
    $755,721
    % Revenue:
    4.9%
    % Comp:
    10.5%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $32,660,704
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  36. Scott P la Rue, Archcare / Catholic Health Care System

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,584,565
    Base:
    $868,515
    % Revenue:
    1.4%
    % Comp:
    8.4%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $111,334,555
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  37. Brian A. Gallagher, United Way Worldwide

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,578,515
    Base:
    $548,784
    % Revenue:
    0.6%
    % Comp:
    4.6%
  38. Edison T. Liu, Jackson Laboratory

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,530,354
    Base:
    $811,274
    % Revenue:
    0.3%
    % Comp:
    0.7%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $460,123,417
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  39. Douglas Gorence, University of Minnesota Foundation Investment Advisors

    Title:
    President and Chief Investment Officer
    Amount:
    $1,484,488
    Base:
    $609,741
    % Revenue:
    36.4%
    % Comp:
    44.6%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $4,075,450
    FYE:
    2020-06
    Location:
    Website:
  40. E. Wayne Holden, Research Triangle Institute

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer , Rti International
    Amount:
    $1,476,905
    Base:
    $872,597
    % Revenue:
    0.2%
    % Comp:
    0.3%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $967,451,493
    FYE:
    2019-09
    Location:
    Website:
  41. S J Isakowitz, Aerospace Corporation

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,470,014
    Base:
    $499,046
    % Revenue:
    0.1%
    % Comp:
    0.2%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $1,155,829,000
    FYE:
    2020-09
    Location:
    Website:
  42. Preston Campbell, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,456,768
    Base:
    $699,283
    % Revenue:
    0.2%
    % Comp:
    1.5%
  43. Deborah Borda, New York Philharmonic

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,455,594
    Base:
    $981,771
    % Revenue:
    1.7%
    % Comp:
    3.2%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $86,369,882
    FYE:
    2019-08
    Location:
    Website:
  44. Uri D Herscher, Skirball Cultural Center

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,412,852
    Base:
    $1,411,352
    % Revenue:
    5.3%
    % Comp:
    8.7%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $26,438,040
    FYE:
    2020-06
    Location:
    Website:
  45. Cristian Samper, Wildlife Conservation Society

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,367,655
    Base:
    $653,087
    % Revenue:
    0.5%
    % Comp:
    0.8%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $255,583,692
    FYE:
    2020-06
    Location:
    Website:
  46. Mark R Proctor, Boston Pediatric Neurosurgical Foundation

    Title:
    President
    Amount:
    $1,359,463
    Base:
    $738,788
    % Revenue:
    11.0%
    % Comp:
    11.2%
  47. Douglas G. Myers, San Diego Zoo Global

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,356,168
    Base:
    $601,781
    % Revenue:
    0.3%
    % Comp:
    0.8%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $422,092,199
    FYE:
    2019-12
    Location:
    Website:
  48. Thomas M. Sack, MRIGlobal

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,354,417
    Base:
    $492,623
    % Revenue:
    1.2%
    % Comp:
    2.8%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $108,959,622
    FYE:
    2019-09
    Location:
    Website:
  49. Harry Johns, Alzheimer's Association

    Title:
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Amount:
    $1,352,901
    Base:
    $791,995
    % Revenue:
    0.3%
    % Comp:
    0.7%
    NTEE:
    Revenue:
    $403,087,006
    FYE:
    2020-06
    Location:
    Website:

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