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Big Nonprofits' Top Execs Often Earn 6 Figures : Charity: President of Mount Sinai Medical Center made nearly $800,000--but the high pay has its defenders.

April 05, 1993|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Most of the top executives at the nation's big nonprofit organizations earn six-figure salaries, with one pulling down nearly $800,000 a year, according to a published survey.

At least 99 of 122 major nonprofits pay their leaders $100,000 or more, the Chronicle of Philanthropy found in its survey of the organizations' tax records. The findings appear in the April 6 issue.

The survey's salary champion was John W. Rowe, who, as president of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, earned $799,492 in salary and $26,249 worth of benefits, the Chronicle said.

A spokesman for the American Red Cross stoutly defended the $200,000 it paid last fiscal year to its chief executive, Elizabeth Dole.

"When you consider that she . . . is responsible for over half the nation's blood supply and her organization responds to 55,000 disasters a year, she's worth every penny and more," said American Red Cross spokesman Roy Clason.

Dole, who manages the organization's $1.4-billion budget, forfeited her salary in the previous year, Clason said.

"The important thing is to make sure the group's volunteers are comfortable explaining why their executive is where he is, the rationale for his salary," said Dr. William McGinly, president of the Assn. for Healthcare Philanthropy in Falls Church, Va. He earns more than $156,000 in salary and $16,000 in benefits.

The National Charities Information Bureau, a New York-based watchdog group, has seen in the last year a heightened interest in nonprofits' executive pay.

"A guy who works at a plant or something, when he's asked to make a donation and then sees what some of these guys make, he's bound to get upset," said spokesman Daniel Langan.

"Our feeling is: It's the board of directors' decision, but it should be palatable to the public and workable for the organization," Langan said. "They have to realize that the compensation is public record and can turn into an issue at any time."

Top 10 Salaries A list of the top 10 salary earners at nonprofit organizations, as reported by the Chronicle of Philanthropy: 1. John W. Rowe $799,492 President, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York 2. Paul A. Marks $703,138 President, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York 3. Robert R. Waller $426,769 President, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Rochester, Minn. 4. Michael I. Sovern $363,600 President, Columbia University, New York 5. Joseph M. Volpe $359,000 General director, Metropolitan Opera Assn., New York 6. John Brademas $350,410 President, New York University, New York 7. Donald Brown $337,110 President, Children's Hospital, Washington 8. Edward J. Feulner Jr. $331,708 President, Heritage Foundation, Washington 9. Sanford M. Shapero $318,105 President, City of Hope, Los Angeles 10. Nathan Leventhal $315,000 President, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York Source: Associated Press

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