Nonprofit Newswire | Recession? What Recession?

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April 24, 2010; Telegram & Gazette | Often, we offer pointed commentary in the stories we find, just so there’s no mistaking the lessons to take away. But sometimes, just simply highlighting a story is enough to make a point without the need for additional commentary—or even the occasional exasperation.

A case in point is a survey done by the Worcester, Mass., Telegram and Gazette about pay for nonprofit heads. It found that compensation and benefits rose even “as the economy sank into a recession and agencies cut programs, eliminated services, and increased employee workloads” at “many of Central Massachusetts’ largest nonprofit organizations that provide direct human services.”

Herewith are some of the newspapers’ findings: After a $2 million budget cut and being forced to close a day care program for the mentally ill in 2008, Community Healthlink Inc. still managed to reward its president and chief executive, Deborah J. Ekstrom with a 6.6 percent bump in compensation over the previous year. Her pay that year was $237,776, with an additional $72,477 in benefits. In addition, the newspaper found that while revenues remained flat in 2008 and 2009 for YOU Inc., a counseling agency for troubled youths in Worcester, its longtime president and CEO Maurice J. Boisvert enjoyed a $219,000 boost to his base salary during those years. Describing it as the “most lucrative executive compensation package” of the groups it surveyed, the newspaper reports that David A. Jordan, who heads the Seven Hills Foundation, called one of the largest private social service agencies in the state, receives an annual benefits package of more than $200,000 that supplements his income. His fiscal 2008 salary was $263,272. The “supplement” started in 2006 to provide Jordan, whose foundation provides rehabilitation, housing, counseling and other services to adults and children with mental illness, retardation and substance abuse problems, with a retirement fund that he did not have before, according to William Stock, a Seven Hills spokesman. Like we said, no comment (because we already did).—Bruce Trachtenberg

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  • Linda Davis

    Where was the Board of Directors when these increases were handed out? Lack of accountability and board failure to provide oversight can damage the credibility of non-profits everywhere. While there are some non-profit CEOs who earn high incomes and have excessive benefits, the majority of non-profit executives earn modest incomes and have very few benefits.