15 Highest-Paid Charity CEOs

Giving money to charity is a wonderful way to help spread some of your good fortune, but as with any investment, it’s important to know where your money is going. There are a number of things that can stand in the way of donations being spent on an organization’s programs (such as administrative expenses, which we highlighted in our roundup of the charities with the highest admin costs and our look at the 20 best charities in the U.S.), and recent attention given to the high salaries, bonuses and retirement packages of some disgraced bank CEOs suggest that the public would like to know about compensation of directors in the charity and nonprofit sector.

Popular charity-tracking site CharityNavigator.org recently produced a report on the compensation of CEOs in the charity world, which it says was motivated by a concern among their users over excessive CEO pay.

As the report states in its introduction, “Many donors assume that charity leaders work for free or minimal pay and are shocked to see that they earn six figure salaries. But these well-meaning donors fail to consider that these CEOs are running multi-million dollar operations that endeavor to change the world.”

The demands of running an organization with a charity’s noble goals is compelling justification for compensation packages intended to attract and retain top talent, but surely some donors might think twice about giving a significant portion of their gifts to an executive.

Here we look at the top 15 CEO salaries in the charity world, excluding degree-granting colleges and universities. Inclusion on this list is by no means an indication of an inefficiently-run organization, but it does highlight how different organizations value the position at the top of the organizational hierarchy.