October 05, 2014

Does High CEO Pay Lift Charity’s Value?

To the Editor:

Sandra Pace, a nonprofit-compensation consultant quoted in the Chronicle article "As the Economy Heats Up, Nonprofit CEOs See Pay Rise" (September 25) was far too glib when she said: "Any organization wants to succeed, and they want to make sure they get high-caliber talent to achieve their mission. It’s also more costly to get the talent that won’t get the job done."

In a sector in which the actual performance of the CEO is notoriously difficult to evaluate, where’s the evidence that there is a correlation—let alone a strong correlation—between levels of CEO compensation and organizational performance?

The same question might (indeed, ought to be) asked about the other senior executives in a donor-funded nonprofit.

Jack Flanagan


Project on Military Philanthropy

McLean, VA

To the Editor:

The Chronicle of Philanthropy wrongly reported the annual pay of our national executive director, Anthony Romero, in its September 25 issue, attributing to him total compensation of $826,696 when, in fact, his total pay was $413,348.

While the error was corrected online and a printed correction appears in this issue, the unfortunate reality is that the damage is irreversible, as many readers may have a mistaken impression of Mr. Romero’s compensation.

As a matter of principle, the ACLU applauds the value of transparency that The Chronicles reporting of CEO pay provides its readers. But transparency can only happen with accuracy, and inaccurately reviewing figures on nonprofit public records is inexcusable.

Rachel Fishman

Deputy Director of Development

American Civil Liberties Foundation

New York