Friday, April 20, 2012

Nonprofit Salary Survey Launched

Salary & Benefits Survey is Now Open!
Just for completing the survey you will receive a FREE Executive Summary of the New York State data, with full salary data for all positions. NYCON has partnered with The Nonprofit Times and Bluewater Surveys to bring you a new, improved version of the Compensation Profile of New York State Nonprofits! NYCON Members (and all nonprofits) are now invited to participate in this statewide and national nonprofit salary and benefits survey.

Complete the survey and receive:

  • A FREE Executive Summary of the New York State data, with full salary data for all positions.
  • A 50% off the full report (estimated to be $199 currently)which will include comprehensive data on nonprofit salaries and benefits in our state - and nationwide.

    The survey is designed to be quick and easy - with help just a click or phone call away if you need it. Don't miss this chance to participate.
  • Remember - all participants receive a free Executive Summary of New York State salary data and a 50% discount off the full report (which includes information about benefit offerings, costs, eligibility and employee participation for 94 employee benefits from health insurance to retirement plans.)

    Start the survey!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Giving Project’s First $8,500 Winner Announced

April 13, 2012 - It was announced today that the Madison County Office for the Aging is the winner of an $8,500 grant from the Central New York Community Foundation after successfully garnering the most public votes in The CNY85 Giving Project. The Office for the Aging provides medical transportation for frail, isolated elderly who have no other means of transportation to their physicians, eye care professionals, pharmacies, and other medical related appointments. The grant will help the program expand to serve more of the region's elderly population by recruiting and training additional volunteer drivers.

The CNY85 Giving Project was created to engage the public in the Community Foundation's 85-year anniversary celebration while also drawing attention to the many nonprofit organizations benefitting Central New York. The online campaign encourages visitors to its website - - to vote for a project once a day during the designated month. The Community Foundation hopes that those who participate in voting are inspired to get more involved in their community - either monetarily or through some form of volunteerism.

The month of March was the first of four voting periods The CNY85 Giving Project will open to the public over the course of the year. The March round featured economic development, transportation, planning and environmental projects. Future rounds will feature projects that address human services, health and housing (June), education and technology (September) and arts, culture and civic leadership (December).

"We see The CNY85 Giving Project is an opportunity for the public to learn about some of the outstanding nonprofit programs being offered here in Central New York," said Peter Dunn, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. "The Project is a celebration of our 85-year anniversary, but we also want it to draw attention to the many other nonprofit organizations engaged in a variety of activities to make Central New York a great place to live and work. We hope that those who participate in voting are inspired to get more involved in their community."

Nonprofit organizations must enter their projects into the contest in order to participate. The Community Foundation is now accepting applications for its second round, featuring projects that address Central New York's human service and housing needs, until April 30. Nonprofit organizations that serve Onondaga and/or Madison Counties are invited to enter by submitting a simple online form. To view the Project's full calendar and learn how to apply, visit

About CNYVitals

Each round features projects of different themes based on findings of a community indicators project, CNYVitals. The community indicators were the result of a collaborative effort between Syracuse University's Maxwell School, FOCUS Greater Syracuse, the Central New York Community Foundation, city and county municipalities and a host of community-based organizations that have signed on to help gather and analyze the data on Central New York's greatest needs.

The resulting data is a snapshot of Central New York's current state of affairs within various interest areas. The architects of the project hope that making this information available to the general public will inspire collaborative discussion and action to address the community's most pressing needs while also focusing funding and programming on projects and initiatives that will have the greatest positive impact on the region. All of the data can be viewed and contributed to at

About the Central New York Community Foundation

This year, the Central New York Community Foundation celebrates its 85-year anniversary. Founded in 1927, it strives to inspire philanthropy in Central New York by connecting the generosity of donors with community needs - making grants to organizations working to enhance the quality of life of those who live and work in Central New York from nearly 600 charitable endowment funds that it manages. Grants are awarded for programs in the areas of human services, arts and culture, education, environment, health, economic development and civic affairs. As the region's largest endowed philanthropic foundation, the Community Foundation awards more than $5 million in grants to nonprofit organizations annually. The Community Foundation is located at 431 East Fayette Street, Syracuse, NY 13202 and can be reached at (315) 422-9538 or

Monday, April 9, 2012

Doing too well by doing good?

By Blake Jones

In 2009, the head of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Shirley Ann Jackson, earned twice as much as Harvard University’s president.

Jackson took home $1.8 million to run RPI, a nonprofit university ranked 50th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

Drew Faust, her counterpart at the much larger and No. 1-ranked Harvard, earned $875,000.
To some, Jackson’s seven-figure pay is excessive — an example of bloated compensation in pockets of the nonprofit community. Shock value alone reveals when salary is too high, critics argue.
Others disagree, saying pay — even at nonprofits — can’t be judged at face value. At best, it’s a starting point for questions about experience, performance and the competition.

While no one denies overpaid nonprofit executives exist, there’s no simple formula to single out those individuals — the industry is too diverse. What’s fair for a multinational organization with a billion-dollar budget is unfathomable for a small food pantry with three employees, and vice versa.
Spurred by a few gross abuses at downstate charities last year, state lawmakers have been trying to address the question of how much is too much.

Over the past eight months, the governor has formed a task force and issued an executive order, the state Senate held a hearing, and the attorney general released a report.

No closer to consensus, one thing is clear: The issue of nonprofit compensation is as sensational as it is complex.

Health care offers top pay

In a review of public financial information for 50 of Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties’ larger nonprofits, The Post-Star found many examples of executive compensation in excess of $100,000, including a Saratoga Hospital doctor earning $860,000.

According to tax Forms 990 from 2010, the most recent available, the highest pay locally was concentrated in health care, education, and the arts — consistent with national trends.

At Glens Falls Hospital, the region’s largest employer, longtime CEO David Kruczlnicki’s compensation was $433,000 in 2010. He oversees a $290 million budget, a staff of almost 3,000 and a health care network that includes an acute care hospital and 29 regional facilities in multiple counties.

The Queensbury-based Hudson Headwaters Health Network provided its founder and CEO, Dr. John Rugge, $430,000 in 2010. Hudson Headwaters is a much smaller organization, however, with about 560 employees, 14 Adirondack clinics and a $40 million budget.

To the south, Saratoga Hospital CEO Angelo Calbone earned almost $470,000 in 2010 to oversee a $186 million budget and 1,800 employees spread over the hospital’s main campus and six Saratoga County outpatient and primary care centers.

Pay for all three health care CEOs was less, though, than that of Skidmore College President Philip Glotzbach, who earned $470,000 in 2010. And even Glotzbach’s compensation paled in comparison to that of high-ranking hospital doctors.

Three cancer doctors employed by Glens Falls Hospital topped Kruczlnicki’s compensation in 2010. C. R. Wood Cancer Center oncologists John Stoutenburg and Aqeel Gillani had earnings of $470,000 and $485,000, respectively, while the center’s founding medical director, oncologist Robert Sponzo, earned nearly $600,000. Then-Chief Financial Officer Michael Niles took home the most that year, however, at $620,000 due to pension and other one-time payouts associated with his 2010 retirement.

To the south, Saratoga Hospital anesthesiologist Dr. Gordan Kuhar, who runs the hospital’s Pain Management Center, earned more than $860,000, making him not only the highest-paid hospital employee but by far the highest-paid individual at nonprofits reviewed by The Post-Star.

In a statement, Saratoga Hospital said it conducted market research to determine what other physicians in Kuhar’s specialty were making before setting his salary within that range.

Board Chairman Michael West said Saratoga Hospital uses outside groups to help determine pay, targeting the 75th percentile for overall compensation at similar-sized hospitals, including base pay and bonuses.

West said the market for leaders, physicians and nurses is competitive, and the hospital tries to recruit the best.

“We believe competitive compensation is required if we are to meet our goals for our community,” he said in a statement.

Glens Falls Hospital said its process for determining compensation involves hiring an outside firm to conduct market research.

Michael Clarke, vice chairman of the hospital’s Board of Governors and chairman of the personnel committee that sets compensation, said the nonprofit aims to pay its executives in the 50th percentile, or middle of the road for similarly sized hospitals.

“We’re not a typical nonprofit,” Clarke said of the hospital.

“It is a complicated business and it’s a very important business. It supports the livelihood of 3,000 employees and on the other side supports the health care of 150,000 people.”

Clarke noted other factors have to be considered when it comes to pay, such as the location of the organization and an executive’s experience and performance. Kruczlnicki, for example, has been the hospital’s CEO for more than 20 years.

In the end, the pay should reflect the complexity of the executive’s job and his success in helping the organization fulfill its mission, Clarke said.

“You can focus on the quality, focus on the community outreach that the hospital makes, or focus on the accomplishment of the goals,” he said. “The salaries are, in some ways, related to the accomplishment of all that.”

Other six-figure salaries

Other high-paid health care executives in 2010 includ CEOs of nursing and senior living facilities such as Fort Hudson and Saratoga Springs-based Wesley, who earned more than $200,000.

A few cultural organizations broke the $200,000 mark as well.

The president of the Yaddo artists’ compound, Elaina Richardson, earned $211,000, while Marcia White, president and executive director of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, took home $281,000.

Many more nonprofits paid their leaders more than $100,000, including museums like the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls and the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs; religious organizations such as the Word of Life camp in Schroon Lake and the YMCA’s Silver Bay conference center; economic development corporations in Warren and Saratoga counties; and a groups that provide services to developmentally disabled New Yorkers such as Community Work and Independence Inc. in Glens Falls, Saratoga Bridges, and Queensbury-based Warren-Washington  ARC.

Human service organizations that assist low-income residents had the lowest executive pay of groups surveyed.

The heads of the Washington County Economic Opportunity Council, Warren-Hamilton Counties Action Committee for Economic Opportunity and the Tri-County United Way all earned about $65,000 a year.

The Post-Star did not find any examples of million-dollar pay at nonprofits in Warren, Washington or Saratoga counties, but they do exist closer to Albany. Jackson of RPI, for example, and Albany Medical Center CEO James Barba earned more than $1 million in the most recently reported fiscal year.

What’s normal?

According to a survey by Charity Navigator, a website that specializes in ranking nonprofits’ effectiveness, the average CEO pay at 3,000 mid- to large-sized groups was $150,000 nationwide, or $185,000 in the Northeast.

Charity Navigator defended the median pay as generally appropriate for big organizations. But the group also highlighted examples of excessive pay.

The survey revealed 14 nonprofits with executives earning more than $1 million in 2008 and another 106 with CEO pay above $500,000.

Sandra Miniutti, Charity Navigator’s chief financial officer, said arts and education institutions tend to pay more than human service providers, and college presidents or sports directors can make upward of $1 million.

If that’s atypical among the nation’s larger charities, it’s even more rare when smaller organizations are considered.

Michael Clark, executive director of the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York Inc., estimates the average nonprofit CEO in New York makes $37,000 to $47,000 annually.

“Nonprofit executives across the board are being paid way too little,” said Clark. “That’s why we get the (state) contracts — we work cheap.”

United Way Executive Director Barbara Sweet, who earned $63,000 in 2010 to manage an $850,000 budget, said she and her small staff have opted to forgo pay raises two of the last five years.

“We are very aware of the need in the community and operate a lean-and-mean organization,” Sweet said.

As head of the United Way, which raises money for other community nonprofits, Sweet is familiar with compensation levels at many groups and said they work hard to meet the community’s needs with limited resources.

“That’s not us,” she said of excessive pay now being targeted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In fact, many contend undercompensation is a bigger issue for nonprofits.
Doug Sauer, CEO of the New York Council of Nonprofits Inc., believes efforts to address and control outrageous pay detract from the real concern.

“This is a very little problem,” he said of excessive nonprofit pay. “(The discussion in Albany) focuses a public discourse on something that’s not real.”

Coming tomorrow: The second part of this series on nonprofits will explore efforts at the state level to address compensation abuses.

How much is "too much" depends on who you ask

By Blake Jones
From industry groups to boards of directors to the Internal Revenue Service, most nonprofit stakeholders believe executive pay should be fair and reasonable.

Agreeing on a definition of “reasonable,” however, has proven challenging, if not impossible.

“If you’re running a $400 million enterprise, can you say how much that person should be making?” said Doug Sauer, CEO of the New York Council of Nonprofits Inc.

Even the IRS, which grants charities their tax-exempt status, doesn’t have a formula or threshold for salaries, Sauer noted. Instead, the agency asks nonprofits to list on their Form 990 employees earning more than $100,000, as well as pay for key officers, directors and trustees. The IRS wants to see board policies and procedures on setting compensation, no conflicts of interest, that comparable salary data is taken into consideration, and that pay decisions are documented.

Sauer, who testified before a state Senate committee hearing in February on nonprofit

executive compensation, acknowledged it’s difficult to establish a cutoff, given the diversity of nonprofits. Still, he suggested salaries above $500,000 a year merit a closer look and anything over $1 million is excessive.

Charity Navigator, a website that specializes in ranking nonprofits’ effectiveness, agrees that $1 million is a fair cutoff.

“We don’t think people should be in the business of running a nonprofit to be a millionaire,” said Sandra Miniutti, Charity Navigator’s chief financial officer. “That’s where we draw a line in the sand.”

The website uses public information about a nonprofit’s financials, transparency and accountability to rank charities by how efficiently they use donations. Miniutti said salary isn’t factored into the ranking system because it’s so subjective, but the number is disclosed so donors can ask questions and make their own judgements.

Other industry experts caution against emotional reactions to numbers without proper context.

Michael Clark, executive director of the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York Inc., stressed the public can’t gauge what’s fair based on instinct because there are too many variables that go into pay, such as the size of the organization’s budget, cost of living and the employee’s experience.

“What is an astronomical salary in one part of the nonprofit world is not astronomical in others,” Clark said. “Either you believe in the market system or you don’t.”

Salary may be the most sensational number on a charity’s Form 990, but it’s not the only indicator donors should study.

At Charity Navigator, Miniutti said many donors hone in on the percentage of expenses that goes to programs or services as a solid indicator of performance.

Charity Navigator says a good benchmark is 75 percent for programs and 25 percent for administration and overheard.

The New York Council of Nonprofits aims a little higher, saying overhead should be less than 20 percent, while the Better Business Bureau’s standards for charity accountability say 35 percent overhead is reasonable.

Clark, of the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee, rejects the idea of measuring nonprofits by their overhead. He said administrative expenses go up and down based on projects, investments and growth.

“Never make a decision about whether to give money based on the ratio of administrative costs,” Clark said, adding it’s the tip of the iceberg for the questions donors should ask.

A better measure of a nonprofit’s performance, according to Clark, is whether it takes in more than it spends and has a rainy-day fund to draw on during tough times. Donors should also ask if the charity is making a difference in its community.

“It’s hard and ill-advised to apply any sort of one-size fits all rule to any nonprofit,” he said.

For his part, Sauer said larger organizations with more sophisticated accounting can figure out how to allocate time and resources to reduce overhead, while smaller groups can’t. He also believes other metrics deserve more attention than executive compensation or administrative expenses,.

The best, approach, he said, is to weigh as much information as possible.

“It’s not about executive compensation,” Sauer said. “It’s more about are people reasonably paid? Are they competent and able to show on their website that they are providing services you think should provide? Are there indications the board is functioning well and will continue to be around?”

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A plan for city's budget crisis

Article from
To the Editor:

Syracuse faces a $48 million deficit for the 2012-13 fiscal year beginning July 1. Sixteen million dollars is needed to balance the city budget and $32 million for the school budget.

The school district's reserves are exhausted. Taking $16 million from the city's reserves will draw them down to about $10 million, the minimum level the state comptroller recommends before the state can impose a fiscal stability authority with veto power over our elected city government.

Just 15 months from now, when Syracuse enters its 2013-14 budget year in July 2013, it is likely a fiscal stability authority will be running Syracuse — unless major new revenue sources are secured.

The most promising approach for immediate relief in the coming year is a restoration of the original plan to pay for state mandates: state revenue sharing. If the state restored its traditional commitment to sharing 8 percent of its revenues, the city would receive more than $280 million in state aid instead of the $72 million it will get next year.

A fair state school funding formula that meets the New York constitutional mandate to provide every child a ''sound basic education'' as reinforced by the courts in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case is another revenue-sharing reform that would relieve fiscally distressed school districts like Syracuse.

Can the state afford to share 8 percent of its revenues? If it restored the progressive taxation it used to have in the 1970s, the state could easily quadruple the $715 million in revenue-sharing in this year's state budget with many billions to spare.

If we go back to the more progressive 1972 tax structure, 95 percent of New Yorkers would get a tax cut and the state would receive $8 billion more in revenue. We would have 14 tax brackets, from a low of 2 percent to a high of 15 percent, instead of the current eight brackets, with a low of 4 percent and a high of 8.82 percent.

If we stopped rebating New York's stock transfer tax, a tiny sales tax enacted in 1905 but 100 percent rebated since 1981, the state would have about $15 billion more in annual revenues.

The rich can afford to pay the taxes they used to. The richest 1 percent of households in New York state more than tripled their share of all income statewide from 10 percent in 1980 to 35 percent in 2007.

We should also demand from the state more home rule on taxes, including the right to a local income tax. A city income tax instead of higher property taxes is fairer in Syracuse because the majority of property is owned by tax-exempt government and non-profit institutions. But a $3.7 billion annual payroll is located here. About 97,000 jobs, about 46,000 of them held by commuters who tend to have the higher paying jobs, provide an average income of $38,000 a year. An average tax rate of 0.5 percent would yield $17.1 million.

If we can win more progressive state and local taxes and revenue-sharing for the 2013-2014 state and local budgets, we can fund reasonable city and school budgets without succumbing to a state-selected fiscal stability authority that will impose severe austerity measures on our schools, services, average taxpayers, and city and school employees.

It is time for our local and state elected officials to join together to fight to save our city and schools with some combination of these reforms. Or do they really want deep cuts to our schools, services, and public employees imposed by a fiscal stability authority so they can pass the blame on to it? The ball is in their court. The clock is ticking.

Howie Hawkins, of Syracuse, has run for public office as a Green Party candidate 19 times. In 2011, he was unscuccessful in his bid for a spot on the Syracuse Common Council; in 2010, he ran for New York state governor.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fund For Vocational Rehabilitation Awards Grants

Syracuse (April 6, 2012) - The Allen Speiser Memorial Fund for Vocational Rehabilitation, a component fund of the Central New York Community Foundation, awarded $4,775 in grants to three local not-for-profit organizations.

Access to Independence of Cortland County received $2,000 to support the Seventh Annual Employment Conference for Individuals with Disabilities. The conference has grown each year to serve more people with disabilities and to connect them with local employers. This year the conference will add a job fair to the agenda, giving employers and job seekers more time to interact. ATI primarily serves 50,000 residents of Cortland County.

Aurora of CNY received $1,825 to support job development and placement for blind individuals by implementing a continuing education home study course, starting a fund for clothing and transportation for those individuals that received jobs, and instituting a new pre-vocational skill building program for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Aurora estimates that this aid will help approximately 90 students within a year.

Enable received $950 to send two staff members to the New York State Association for Persons in Supported Employment Conference in Lake Placid. This conference will allow Enable employees to receive cutting-edge training in the area of job placement for persons with disabilities. Enable has been enhancing the quality of life for people with developmental or physical disabilities through an array of services since 1948. They have placed 104 people in fully-integrated, completive employment situations in the past year.

The Allen Speiser Memorial Fund for Vocational Rehabilitation Fund has awarded $31,424 in grants since 2005 for programs that strengthen and support vocational rehabilitation services. Vocational rehabilitation is the process of assisting people with any disabling condition to acquire the social, educational and work skills that will lead to employment. The Fund offers grants to support special projects, make new investments, and provide additional staff training, filling in the gaps left by other funding sources.

Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of a permanent charitable endowment for the betterment of the region. The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of more than $128 million. It awards close to $5.6 million in grants to nonprofit organizations annually and has invested more than $100 million in the community since its inception. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and corporations through the administration of nearly 600 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen nonprofits that address the region’s most pressing challenges. For more information, visit


Monday, April 2, 2012

The CNY85 Giving Project is Now Accepting Human Service, Health & Housing Entries

The Central New York Community Foundation is now accepting applications from human service, health and housing projects for a public voting competition - The CNY85 Giving Project. Over the course of the year, The CNY85 Giving Project will award grants to four deserving nonprofit organizations working to improve the quality of life in Central New York. The project that receives the most public votes at the end of each quarter will receive $8,500.

The Community Foundation is now accepting applications for projects that promote well-being through housing, health and human service work. Among the most pressing human needs are shelter, physical and mental wellbeing, and a general feeling of security. Eligible projects should address these needs, especially when working with vulnerable populations. Qualified public charities that serve Onondaga or Madison Counties are invited to enter The CNY Giving Project only once during the 2012 calendar year.

Enter now with our simple online form.

The CNY85 Giving Project Calendar:
Round 2: Housing, Health & Human Service Projects
Entry: 04/01-04/30/2012 - NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS
Voting: 06/01-06/30/12

Round 3: Education & Technology Projects
Entry: 07/01-07/31/2012
Voting: 09/01-09/30/12

Round 4: Arts, Culture, Recreation & Civic Engagement Projects
Entry: 10/01-10/31/2012
Voting: 12/01-12/31/12

Learn More and Enter Now!