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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Average CEO Pay In Ohio's Big Metro Charities: $144,632 In Cleveland; $135,000 In Cincinnati

CLEVELAND (TDB) -- Charity Navigator released a massive study today examining how charities operate and spend their money in the nation's 30 largest metro areas. Both Cleveland and Cincinnati showed up on a list with some of the highest salaried CEOs heading non-profits. You can see the national rankings here. The study shows shows charity CEO pay is 5th highest in Cleveland, and 9th highest in Cincinnati. Ironically, both cities are also among the the nation's poorest. But the poverty rate did not play into Charity Navigator's study, which noted:

"Our analysis, completed in May of 2008, demonstrated that the financial behavior of America's charities is influenced by the metropolitan market within which the charity operates. For example, Charity Navigator proved that charities in Colorado Springs have the least amount of rainy day funds. That is due to the concentration of religious groups, which tend to maintain relatively small amounts of working capital. We also learned that charities in New York City, where the cost of living is higher than just about anywhere else in the country, report the highest level of CEO pay."

But the cost of living shouldn't be a factor in Ohio CEO pay -- Cleveland and Cincinnati are far less expensive places to live than New York City, or Chicago, or San Francisco. Yet the average salaries of charity honchos in Chicago and San Francisco are less. Pittsburgh, Portland and Indianapolis have the lowest CEO pay -- and Pittsburgh and Indianapolis are clearly counterparts of the two Ohio metro areas. One possible explanation: In Cincinnati 22% of charitable contributions are directed to arts organizations, 5th highest in the nation, and the arts get the biggest cut of all charitable giving. In Cleveland, 20% of donations go to the arts. Perhaps the people who run major arts organizations are compensated better than people who run social service and anti-poverty groups.

There is a breakdown about charities in the two Ohio communities here and here. As an aside, the study reported that "Cincinnati has no large religious charities."


  1. -posted by Matt N.

    Lee Fisher was paid about $400,000/year for a charity in Cleveland.

  2. I'd actually expected those numbers to be higher. Yes, it's less expensive to live here, but it's not less difficult a job. I certainly wouldn't want it.