The Highest Paid Nonprofit CEOs

The highest-paid nonprofit leaders — CEOs, Executive Directors, etc. — all earn at least $900k per year, and into the tens of millions for large hospitals
Photo of a dollar bill on a countertop. Photo by neonbrand / 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
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $17,916,470
    % Org revenue
    1.7%
    % Org comp
    4.1%
    Revenue
    $1,043,073,265
    Data date
    2022-06
    Location
  2. Peter S Fine, Banner Health
    Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $14,636,260
    % Org revenue
    0.2%
    % Org comp
    0.4%
    Revenue
    $8,495,325,836
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
  3. Title
    President and Chief Cutive Fficer / President and Chief Executive Officer and Trustee / President and Chief Executive Officer / Chief Executive Officer and President and Trustee / Chief Executive Officer and Trustee
    Compensation
    $13,892,200
    % Org revenue
    0.2%
    % Org comp
    0.3%
    Revenue
    $8,916,664,958
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
    Website
  4. Title
    Chief Executive Officer and President
    Compensation
    $12,596,295
    % Org revenue
    3.8%
    % Org comp
    12.6%
    Revenue
    $329,477,426
    Data date
    2022-12
    Website
  5. R Heldebrant, Star One Credit Union
    Title
    Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $12,465,866
    % Org revenue
    4.9%
    % Org comp
    14.7%
    Revenue
    $255,066,926
    Data date
    2017-12
  6. Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $10,669,493
    % Org revenue
    4.5%
    % Org comp
    14.6%
    Revenue
    $239,392,392
    Data date
    2018-12
    Website
  7. Anthony R Tersigni, Ascension Health Alliance
    Title
    Former Officer
    Compensation
    $10,631,627
    % Org revenue
    0.3%
    % Org comp
    1.0%
    Revenue
    $3,703,980,191
    Data date
    2020-06
    Location
  8. Title
    Former Chief Executive Officer and President / Former President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $10,442,876
    % Org revenue
    1.5%
    % Org comp
    2.1%
    Revenue
    $703,952,682
    Data date
    2020-09
    Location
  9. Howard P Kern, Sentara Healthcare
    Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer and Ex - Effic Director / President and Chief Executive Officer and Ex - Efficio Director / President and Chief Executive Officer / Chief Executive Officer / Chief Operating Officer and President
    Compensation
    $9,857,935
    % Org revenue
    2.5%
    % Org comp
    7.0%
    Revenue
    $401,206,637
    Data date
    2022-12
  10. James D Dahling, Children's Health System
    Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer and Director / President and Chief Executive Officer / President and Director
    Compensation
    $1,202,582
    % Org revenue
    4.1%
    % Org comp
    9.5%
    Revenue
    $29,231,867
    Data date
    2022-06
    Location
    Website

Top 50 highest-paid charity CEOs

  1. Title
    President
    Compensation
    $11,925,437
    % Org revenue
    5.2%
    % Org comp
    11.3%
    Revenue
    $228,285,796
    Data date
    2022-06
    Location
    Website
  2. Anthony R Tersigni, Ascension Health Alliance
    Title
    Former Officer
    Compensation
    $10,631,627
    % Org revenue
    0.3%
    % Org comp
    1.0%
    Revenue
    $3,703,980,191
    Data date
    2020-06
    Location
  3. Laura S. Kaiser, SSM Health
    Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $8,384,492
    % Org revenue
    0.8%
    % Org comp
    3.4%
    Revenue
    $988,615,388
    Data date
    2022-12
  4. James Skogsbergh, Advocate Aurora Health
    Title
    Past Director , President , Chief Executive Officer / President , Chief Executive Officer / Chief Executive Officer , President , Director / Chief Executive Officer , Director
    Compensation
    $8,225,985
    % Org revenue
    4.7%
    % Org comp
    4.6%
    Revenue
    $175,431,990
    Data date
    2022-12
  5. Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $7,055,774
    % Org revenue
    11.6%
    % Org comp
    18.0%
    Revenue
    $60,850,634
    Data date
    2022-08
    Location
    Website
  6. Title
    Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $4,145,055
    % Org revenue
    0.4%
    % Org comp
    1.1%
    Revenue
    $925,828,648
    Data date
    2023-06
    Location
    Website
  7. Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $4,092,751
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $11,024,946,046
    Data date
    2022-09
    Location
  8. Edward J Grefenstette, Dietrich Foundation
    Title
    President , Chief Executive Officer and Chief Information Officer
    Compensation
    $3,989,219
    % Org revenue
    4.8%
    % Org comp
    66.7%
    Revenue
    $82,615,692
    Data date
    2022-12
  9. Brian Gallagher, United Way Worldwide
    Title
    Former Chief Executive Officer / President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $3,622,146
    % Org revenue
    3.7%
    % Org comp
    14.0%
  10. Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer, Presbyterian Healthcare Services
    Compensation
    $3,396,592
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    0.3%
    Revenue
    $2,273,688,765
    Data date
    2022-12
    Website
  11. C Darby, In-Q-Tel
    Title
    President , Chief Executive Officer and Trustee
    Compensation
    $3,268,717
    % Org revenue
    1.8%
    % Org comp
    5.6%
    Revenue
    $184,119,866
    Data date
    2023-03
    Location
    Website
  12. Robert Schultze, Missionsquare Retirement
    Title
    Past Former President , Chief Executive Officer , Director / President and Chief Executive Officer and Director Until 11 and 4 and 19
    Compensation
    $3,125,351
    % Org revenue
    1.2%
    % Org comp
    2.3%
    Revenue
    $271,458,710
    Data date
    2019-12
  13. Thomas P Campbell, Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Title
    Executive Director
    Compensation
    $3,017,012
    % Org revenue
    0.4%
    % Org comp
    1.4%
    Revenue
    $761,527,826
    Data date
    2018-06
    Location
  14. William McKeon, Texas Medical Center
    Title
    President
    Compensation
    $2,886,195
    % Org revenue
    2.7%
    % Org comp
    15.5%
    Revenue
    $108,399,620
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
    Website
  15. Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center
    Title
    Managing and Artistic Director
    Compensation
    $2,866,888
    % Org revenue
    8.3%
    % Org comp
    13.6%
    Revenue
    $34,594,092
    Data date
    2023-06
    Location
    Website
  16. Jason Providakes, Mitre
    Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer / Senior Vice President
    Compensation
    $2,817,178
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    0.2%
    Revenue
    $2,236,685,995
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
    Website
  17. William Jeffrey, SRI International
    Title
    Past President and Chief Executive Officer / Director / Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $2,672,028
    % Org revenue
    0.7%
    % Org comp
    1.2%
    Revenue
    $410,135,895
    Data date
    2021-12
    Website
  18. Peter L Miller, The Institutes
    Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $2,659,396
    % Org revenue
    3.2%
    % Org comp
    7.5%
    Revenue
    $82,291,206
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
  19. Mary Leary, Mather
    Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $2,589,571
    % Org revenue
    5.8%
    % Org comp
    8.2%
    Revenue
    $44,486,629
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
    Website
  20. Richard Seidler, Trinity Medical Center
    Title
    Former BD Member and President and Chief Executive Officer / Former BD Member and President and Chief Executive Officer / Former BD Member and President and Chief Executive Officer / Board Member and President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $2,586,953
    % Org revenue
    0.6%
    % Org comp
    1.2%
    Revenue
    $442,475,326
    Data date
    2019-12
  21. Alan D Guerci, Catholic Health
    Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer Thru 6 and 30 and 21 / President , Chief Executive Officer / President and Chief Executive Officer Since July
    Compensation
    $2,474,462
    % Org revenue
    5.6%
    % Org comp
    10.6%
    Revenue
    $44,235,210
    Data date
    2021-12
    Website
  22. Title
    Board Member , President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $2,469,523
    % Org revenue
    0.7%
    % Org comp
    1.1%
    Revenue
    $363,064,876
    Data date
    2019-12
    Website
  23. Title
    Past Chief Executive Officer Thru 12 and 20 / President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $2,410,187
    % Org revenue
    0.5%
    % Org comp
    1.0%
    Revenue
    $445,795,227
    Data date
    2021-12
    Website
  24. Gordon van Welie, ISO New England
    Title
    Board Member
    Compensation
    $2,327,694
    % Org revenue
    1.1%
    % Org comp
    1.8%
    Revenue
    $210,813,398
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
    Website
  25. Title
    Past FRM President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $2,290,679
    % Org revenue
    1.1%
    % Org comp
    1.3%
    Revenue
    $210,667,356
    Data date
    2020-06
    Location
  26. Title
    President Director
    Compensation
    $2,198,679
    % Org revenue
    9.4%
    % Org comp
    27.6%
    Revenue
    $23,294,812
    Data date
    2023-03
    Location
  27. Title
    Chairman , Chief Executive Officer / Chief Executive Officer , Chairman
    Compensation
    $2,188,731
    % Org revenue
    1.3%
    % Org comp
    3.1%
    Revenue
    $174,599,988
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
    Website
  28. David Coleman, College Board
    Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer and Trustee
    Compensation
    $2,142,577
    % Org revenue
    0.2%
    % Org comp
    0.7%
    Revenue
    $1,040,203,098
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
  29. Issac William Ferniany, Uab Medicine Enterprise
    Title
    Former Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $2,109,882
    % Org revenue
    2.0%
    % Org comp
    10.1%
    Revenue
    $104,475,642
    Data date
    2022-09
  30. Christopher D. Hillyer, New York Blood Center
    Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $2,029,453
    % Org revenue
    0.4%
    % Org comp
    1.0%
    Revenue
    $550,372,782
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
    Website
  31. Scott P la Rue, ArchCare
    Title
    Past President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $1,968,882
    % Org revenue
    2.0%
    % Org comp
    13.6%
    Revenue
    $98,443,183
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
  32. Lisa Sherman, Ad Council Edge
    Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $1,895,711
    % Org revenue
    2.9%
    % Org comp
    7.6%
    Revenue
    $66,445,245
    Data date
    2022-06
    Location
  33. Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer , Rti International
    Compensation
    $1,843,757
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    0.3%
    Revenue
    $1,238,064,784
    Data date
    2021-09
    Website
  34. Title
    Past Trustee , President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $1,766,948
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    0.2%
    Revenue
    $2,669,084,593
    Data date
    2019-09
    Location
  35. Mark R Chassin Facp, The Joint Commission
    Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $1,701,007
    % Org revenue
    0.8%
    % Org comp
    1.3%
    Revenue
    $208,910,907
    Data date
    2019-12
  36. Title
    Past President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $1,666,286
    % Org revenue
    7.6%
    % Org comp
    16.0%
    Revenue
    $21,842,438
    Data date
    2019-12
    Location
  37. Deborah Borda, New York Philharmonic
    Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $1,636,970
    % Org revenue
    1.4%
    % Org comp
    3.3%
    Revenue
    $120,825,402
    Data date
    2022-08
    Location
    Website
  38. Michael Sanders, Monroe Clinic
    Title
    Former Officer / Director , President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $1,591,052
    % Org revenue
    0.8%
    % Org comp
    1.4%
    Revenue
    $206,504,084
    Data date
    2019-12
    Location
  39. Title
    Executive and Artistic Director
    Compensation
    $1,576,718
    % Org revenue
    1.7%
    % Org comp
    3.2%
    Revenue
    $90,457,248
    Data date
    2022-06
    Location
  40. Marki Flannery, VNS Health
    Title
    Former Officer / Director - President and Chief Executive Officer / President and Chief Executive Officer / Executive Vice President and Chief of Operations / Executive Vice President and Chief of Provider Operations / Executive Vice President and Chief of Provider Services
    Compensation
    $1,494,451
    % Org revenue
    3.4%
    % Org comp
    1.2%
    Revenue
    $43,395,409
    Data date
    2021-12
    Location
  41. Eric Lander, The Broad Institute
    Title
    FMR Director , President and Chief Executive Officer / President and Founding Director / President and Director / Director , President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $1,450,340
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    0.5%
    Revenue
    $1,051,116,110
    Data date
    2021-06
  42. Title
    President
    Compensation
    $1,413,367
    % Org revenue
    10.6%
    % Org comp
    12.5%
    Revenue
    $13,320,819
    Data date
    2022-09
    Location
  43. Edison T Liu, Jackson Laboratory
    Title
    Former President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $1,388,887
    % Org revenue
    0.3%
    % Org comp
    0.5%
    Revenue
    $553,515,570
    Data date
    2022-12
    Website
  44. Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $1,234,383
    % Org revenue
    3.6%
    % Org comp
    6.8%
    Revenue
    $33,912,652
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
    Website
  45. Lincoln Smith, Altarum Institute
    Title
    Senior Vice President / President and Chief Executive Officer , Secretary
    Compensation
    $601,431
    % Org revenue
    1.3%
    % Org comp
    2.4%
    Revenue
    $47,131,892
    Data date
    2022-12
  46. Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer / Senior Vice President Business Development and General Council and Chief Executive Officer / Chief Executive Officer / General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Business Development / Senior Vice President , Business Development and General Counsel
    Compensation
    $381,545
    % Org revenue
    1.2%
    % Org comp
    2.8%
    Revenue
    $31,054,042
    Data date
    2022-03
  47. Title
    Chief Executive Officer and President / President and Chief Executive Officer / Board Member
    Compensation
    $244,058
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.1%

Methodology

Cause IQ digitizes and cleans electronic and paper / scanned Form 990s for over 400,000 organizations. For this research on executive compensation, we used Schedule J of the Form 990 to determine executive compensation, specifically the Schedule J, Column E, Line i. This excludes compensation from related organizations. To determine charities, we limited to 501(c)(3) organizations with tax-deductible status, and excluded hospitals, schools, sports leagues and conferences, business associations, and certain other healthcare organizations.

Article originally published on December 30, 2019.

Curious how Cause IQ can help you?

Over 400 customers use the Cause IQ website to help serve their nonprofits clients and find foundation funding. Additional filters, personnel information, peer benchmarking, Salesforce integration, vendor lists, etc. Access all the information your company needs in one place, already collected.
Create a free account
Over 400 customers use Cause IQ to grow, maintain, and serve their nonprofit clients.