Archive for Saturday, January 14, 2012

Executive pay varies widely at Lawrence nonprofits

The highest-paid nonprofit leaders in Lawrence are, left to right, Kansas University athletic director Sheahon Zenger, Gene Meyer, CEO of Lawrence Memorial Hospital, and Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment. The median salary for a nonprofit leader in Lawrence is $57,000.

The highest-paid nonprofit leaders in Lawrence are, left to right, Kansas University athletic director Sheahon Zenger, Gene Meyer, CEO of Lawrence Memorial Hospital, and Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment. The median salary for a nonprofit leader in Lawrence is $57,000.

January 14, 2012


Nonprofit directors who make more than $100,000:

• Sheahon Zenger, KU Athletics: $450,000

• Gene Meyer, Lawrence Memorial Hospital: $443,598

• Dale Seuferling, KU Endowment: $403,965

• Kevin Corbett, KU Alumni: $323,452

• Steve Warren, KU Center for Research: $305,467

• Bruce Beale, DCCCA: $300,000

• Rhett Evans, the Environmental Institute of Golf: $237,106

• Matthew McClorey, Lawrence Regional Technology Center: $175,124

• Sharon Spratt, Cottonwood Inc.: $152,000

• Barrie Arachting, Christian Psychological Services of Lawrence and Topeka: $139,577

• David Johnson, Bert Nash: $130,000

• Kathy Claussing Willis, Lawrence Memorial Endowment: $121,853

• Cortney Buffington, Kansas Research and Education Network: $114,633

• Paul Flaa, Haskell Light: $114,571

• Susanne Shaw, Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism & Mass Communications: $111,364

• Judith Bellome, Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association: $107,191

• Richard Jackson, ECKAN: $100,395

• Judy Culley, The Shelter, Inc.: $100,072

The median salary for all agencies in this study was about $57,000.

Related document

Nonprofit Director Salaries ( .PDF )

About the data

How we selected nonprofits for this study:

• Obtained a list from the Internal Revene Service of all registered nonprofits in Lawrence.

• Excluded any agency that had revenues of less than $20,000 or agencies that paid a director less than $10,000.

• Included ECKAN, which is housed in Ottawa, because of its close involvement with the Lawrence community.

• Also included Lawrence Memorial Hospital, which has a slightly different tax classification than other nonprofits in this study.

How we obtained the data

• Most of the nonprofits’ IRS 990 forms, which provide a financial summary of each agency, was available for free online at

• If the information was not listed, we contacted the agency and asked their director to disclose their income.

Variations in the data

• Not all agencies had yet filed a current year 990 form, or it wasn’t online yet, so the salary is for a previous fiscal year.

• Agencies varied in how they calculated compensation. Some included benefits, such as contributions to retirement programs, while others did not. Our figures are for total compensation, including salary and benefits, if the agency listed those numbers.

Download the PDF above or see the Google form below for the complete data set.

From housing the homeless to raising money for Kansas University to providing health care for the uninsured, dozens of Lawrence nonprofit agencies work daily performing what the Internal Revenue Service considers charitable, tax-exempt work.

While such organizations fit into a similar tax classification, a Journal-World investigation found wide variation in how much the directors of local nonprofits are paid.

An examination of public tax documents for 90 local nonprofits showed the heads of such organizations are paid anywhere from under $20,000 to more than $400,000 a year.

Here’s an analysis of the salary data from the most recent available information, provided by the agency or tax documents:

• The median nonprofit director salary in Lawrence was about $57,000, far lower than the median nonprofit director salary nationwide of about $147,000, according to Charity Navigator’s 2010 Compensation Report.

• Half of the director salaries fall in a range between $42,000 and $81,000.

• 18 local nonprofit directors make more than $100,000 in total compensation, with six making more than $200,000.

• Four of the top five compensated directors — all making more than $300,000 — work for organizations affiliated with Kansas University, including KU Athletics, KU Endowment, KU Alumni and the KU Center for Research.

‘Not apples to apples’

Trying to compare nonprofit salaries and figuring out a way to gauge fair pay for such work is a complicated and subjective task, said James Abruzzo, a nonprofit compensation specialist for DHR International.

“It’s not apples to apples all the time,” said Abruzzo, who helps nonprofits set compensation levels.

For instance, those in the health care sector of the nonprofit world, such as hospital directors, are typically paid on the higher end of the scale, Abruzzo said. That’s the case in Lawrence, as Gene Meyer, Lawrence Memorial Hospital president, is second only to KU Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger in salary. Meyer is paid about $440,000.

Typically, the higher the budget and fundraising needs, the higher the salary, Abruzzo said.

That helps explain why some local directors, even in the same sector, make more than others, he said.

In Lawrence, one of the higher-paid directors, Bruce Beale, who makes $300,000 overseeing the substance abuse and counseling agency DCCCA, handles an annual budget of about $20 million.

That compares to local nonprofits like Douglas County Senior Services, Family Promise of Lawrence, and the Douglas County Dental Clinic, which pay their directors about $50,000 but have much smaller operating budgets.

Regardless of industry standards, it might be shocking for some donors to learn the heads of nonprofits make hundreds of thousands in the name of the charity.

Sandra Miniutti, vice president of Charity Navigator, which releases an annual national nonprofit Compensation Report, said her organization gets a lot of inquiries from donors and the public outraged by what some nonprofit directors make.

Though the IRS sets vague salary guidelines for nonprofit directors, the process for setting compensation is the key to ensuring nonprofits have legitimate compensation practices, Miniutti said.

That process should include comparisons of the salaries of other directors at similar nonprofits in similar sectors. For instance, the board of a homeless shelter would look at the salary of a shelter director with a similar budget in the same general geographic location.

Representatives from several of the nonprofits that pay directors on the higher end of the scale detailed such processes for the Journal-World.

Drue Jennings, a retired business executive and chairman of the KU Endowment Association’s board of trustees, described the rigorous process the board goes through to come up with a compensation package in excess of $400,000 for director Dale Seuferling. In addition to performance evaluations, the process is rooted in analyzing and comparing what similar agencies pay, he said.

A comparison of several other university endowment nonprofits shows Seuferling’s salary is in line with industry standards. For instance, the head of the University of Nebraska Foundation makes about $410,000, while the director of the University of Oklahoma Foundation makes just under $300,000.

Chuck Heath of Lawrence serves on the board of directors for both Lawrence Memorial Hospital and DCCCA, and detailed a similar review process.

“It’s a very thorough process,” he said. “It’s by no means without conversation.”

In the end, the salaries are necessary for the type of high-level work the directors perform and to ensure keeping quality people, Heath said.

“Both of them are outstanding at what they do,” Heath said. “The greatest disservice we could do is lose people like this,”

That’s a common sentiment across the nonprofit world, Abruzzo said, as nonprofits must compete for leadership candidates against the for-profit sector, which can typically offer much higher compensation packages.

“There’s a tendency for them to say you have to pay for quality,” said Abruzzo, and nonprofits have a smaller pool of candidates for high-level positions. “There is a sparsity of nonprofit talent.”

The other side

On the opposite end of the pay spectrum are the majority of nonprofit directors at local human and social service agencies who make under $100,000 and manage shoestring budgets. Of the 90 agencies examined by the Journal-World, 72 have directors making under $100,000, while 36 directors make $50,000 or less.

The sacrifice in pay by such nonprofit executives is a point rarely highlighted, Abruzzo said.

Dealing with dwindling resources and slashed funding sources, some nonprofit directors eschew large salary increases as they experience the day-to-day funding struggles, he said.

“They’re taking less than they are worth,” Abruzzo said.

At Headquarters Counseling Center, executive director Marcia Epstein said it’s difficult to place her salary above other agency needs, particularly in tough times.

For the past several years, Epstein’s salary has hovered around $42,000 as she works to make a decreasing amount of revenue go further.

In 2010, the agency saw its revenue, which is less than some local directors make, dip from about $225,000 in 2009, to about $209,00 in its 2010 fiscal year.

“Salaries are not the first priority,” said Epstein, conceding it’s difficult not to daydream about being able to offer her dedicated staff better pay and benefits.

Through the years in the nonprofit world, she’s aware she could skip over to the for-profit sector and make a higher salary. But she and her family are comfortable with her working for less pay.

“It’s an honor,” she said. “We’ve had wonderful things in our life in spite of my salary.”

Google form

Nonprofit salaries/compensation

Salaries/compensation of local nonprofit directors.

Google form

Nonprofit salaries/compensation Google

Database shows the salaries of nonprofit directors in Lawrence. See sidebar for more information on the data.


thinkagain 2 years, 3 months ago

You can't make percentage of salary to entire budgets comparisons for all of these organizations. If you only have one fulltime employee the percentage is bound to be a larger portion of, if not the entire budget. But someone has to do the work of the organization.


Sigmund 2 years, 3 months ago

After looking at the data, my short list for the Top non-profit director who earned their salaries included Bruce Beale of DCCCA where over half of the revenues come from government grants despite the fact that virtually every probation granted in Douglas County where drugs or alcohol were involved (from DUI to assault to under-aged drinking), family violence, or where there is any question of mental health requires successful completion of a DCCCA program and payment to DCCCA get off of probation.

In the end I gave my top spot to Mary Doveton of Theatre Lawrence and not just because in American English it is usually spelled as Theater and Theatre is a lot more classy. But because she is the only member of a 18 member board who receives a salary, $50,985, on revenues which included $167,000 of ticket sales and $130,000 of "Grocery Cards." Now I must admit I had no idea before I read her Form 990 that a typical funding for a "Theatre" was "Grocery Cards" so I was taken by surprise. Nevermind, she was able to convince the City and County Commissions to give her grants totaling $200,000 which is $70,000 more than the grocery card income stream!


phalan 2 years, 3 months ago

Absolutly right! First some of your figures are absolutly LOW, salaries that is! Lets look at some of the additional perks these CEO's get. Let's take Douglas County Visiting Nurses as an example. I have donated a healthy amount to this organization only to find out they are no longer DOUGLAS COUNTY VISITING NURSES just Visiting Nurses, I haven't seen an article saying that they would be moving out of their Douglas County supplied offices or that they have stopped receiving DOUGLAS COUNTY FUNDS! Ms Bellome is and excellent bait and switch CEO. I gave gererously to her "Hospice House" only to find out that a family member couldn't go there because insurance wouldn't pay as it never was licensed as HOSPICE. Next I get asked to donate for children they serve only to be told they "don't serve many but would like to". Why does our community allow county funds to go to such organizations when we are fortunate enough to have CEO's such as Loring Henderson or Kelly Evans who actually get the work done that makes a difference in our community and are doing what they believe in for less then half the pay. Ms Belome needs to take a lesson and maybe drop some of the bate and switch tactics. It would be nice to also see what these "non-profit Execs" have as perks in addition and what their CFO's make. Hum!


dcap 2 years, 3 months ago

This has been an interesting article and discussion! Would you consider doing a piece on the lowest paid non-profit directors?


Sigmund 2 years, 3 months ago

autie (anonymous) says… "Comparing KU anything to service organizations that provide services for DD/mental health/childrens care/foster placement like comparing pumpkins from the moon. Ridiculous."

Why? Is there something particular that you like/dislike about KU?


autie 2 years, 3 months ago

Comparing KU anything to service organizations that provide services for DD/mental health/childrens care/foster placement like comparing pumpkins from the moon. Ridiculous.


Sigmund 2 years, 3 months ago

n0mjs (anonymous) says… "I am one of the CEOs on the "over $100,000" list. I have a few comments on my situation in particular."

I don't think the $100+ salary was meant as an indictment and the numbers used were gathered from a independent agency that claims coverage of non-profits. 501(3)(c) charitable organizations are able to take tax deductible contributions as well as fee-for-services. I don't see the relevance of the fact that you have chosen not to take donations. As far as I could find Shaun didn't use the term "taking a salary" and for the most parts the comments are unmoderated and not necessarily the view of the World Company management or employees.

The point of the article, as far as I could see, was to provide a comparative overview of non-profits in Lawrence Kansas area and not nationwide and he could hardly be faulted for the fact that he didn't contact all 90 directors. I think that your point of view was clearly covered and best stated in the ‘Not apples to apples’ section that contained the following quote, "Trying to compare nonprofit salaries and figuring out a way to gauge fair pay for such work is a complicated and subjective task, said James Abruzzo, a nonprofit compensation specialist for DHR International."

If your point is you could be making a larger salary but choose not to, then good on you mate. Perhaps Shaun can be persuaded to give you special coverage in a feature article that demonstrates you not some evil rich guy.


shaunepec 2 years, 3 months ago

n0mjs, As is clearly stated in our sidebar, there is some variation on salary/compensation. Some organizations reported salary and other benefits as one number on the 990 form, others broke them up, and still others left them off altogether. So, it's not all even across the spectrum, but we tried to make that clear.

The accuracy of the information was obtained from the IRS 990 form. If that was incorrect, I'd be happy to update the information.

As for lumping all the nonprofits together, we tried to make the point that they shouldn't all be lumped together. In fact, the first subhead is "Not apples to apples," followed by comment from experts making that very point.

On the spreadsheet, you make a valuable point that it should include program fees and other revenue, and that's been updated.

Shaun LJW


n0mjs 2 years, 3 months ago

I am one of the CEOs on the "over $100,000" list. I have a few comments on my situation in particular.

First off, I'm not sure what Mr. Hittle is calling a "salary" here, because he's about 15% high on mine. If he had the actual salary number for me, I wouldn't have made his $100k+ list. I'd like to have an opportunity to provide accurate information, however I was not contacted.

Second. Our organization revenue comes from fee-for-service and membership (which pays for services also). We don't actually receive any grant funding (not since the mid-90s) and have received no donations. Again, understanding the 990 might be helpful. Mr. HIttle reported our entire revenue as from grants and donations... wow, don't I wish!

Finally, many of the comments made talk about what we executives "take". My organization, as a 501(c)(3) is governed by a board of directors, not me. I do not "take" the salary, our board sets it. Numerous times I've asked mine be lowered and and use the savings to increase other staff salaries... but... I'm already the lowest paid CEO of an organization like the one I work for in the US.

I'm not sure what the point of this article is. It's not fair to lump all nonprofits together. There isn't another like the one I work for in the state of KS. Usually there's maybe one per state. Comparing us against each other, locally, creates a comparison to nothing. Comparing our organizations against their peer organizations would to a better job of creating a "report card" of sorts, if that was the intention.


Sigmund 2 years, 3 months ago

shaunepec (Shaun Hittle) says ... Appreciate the list. I think that does help put it into some perspective, but I think that calculating like that does present some issues, which I'm sure you've figured out.

Absolutely correct, no matter the ideology one has to be careful on what conclusions can be drawn from such a simple analysis, especially if one is a reporter doing journalism. I am sure those on the right will have a very different take of the numbers than those on the left.

What i appreciated the most about this article is that you resisted the temptation to draw broad conclusions from your work, unlike other higher profile colleagues at the World Company.


Sigmund 2 years, 3 months ago

Much more interesting, but not disclosed in the article, was how much of an non-profits revenues were from government grants of tax dollars versus private fund raising, which raises some larger questions of contributions being income tax deductible.

For instance, the average compensation was 14.8736% and the median compensation was: Theatre Lawrence Mary Doveton $50,985/$492,037 10.3620%

If I recall correctly, the city of Lawrence and Douglas County each gave Theatre Lawrence $100,000 which would be 40% of their revenues and presumably the remaining 60% was private contributions which provided the donor with a partially offsetting income tax deduction.


shaunepec 2 years, 3 months ago

Sigmund, Appreciate the list. I think that does help put it into some perspective, but I think that calculating like that does present some issues, which I'm sure you've figured out.

Here's where I see the issue, from the smaller org's to the larger ones.

Small: Scale is the issue here. As a hypothetical example, let's imagine we have a small, three person nonprofit counseling center with revenues of 150K. If the org. consisted of one fully trained psychologist who is also the director, and makes 80K, along with two staffers making a combined 70k, then the director makes more than 50% of the revenue. But, under those circumstances, I don't think anything looks out of the ordinary, though the group would fall at the higher end of the list.

Large: The problem here is that for some of these larger organizations, it's simply easier to pull down big federal and state grants, which will then dwarf the CEO's pay. But that CEO may or may not have had much influence on the grants, and the large grants make the CEO look underpaid. Obviously, the money is contingent on the type of group and where the larger bucks are likely to flow.

Thanks for the work.



Sigmund 2 years, 3 months ago


Nice bit of objective fact based journalism. I noticed that some of the "Director or highest paid employee" took a large percentage of revenues as compensation. So I imported your data (excluding those where that data that wasn't complete) and computed that percentage as a measure of effeciency. Those that took more than 30% of revenues as compensation includes:

Haskell Foundation Michael O'Leary $49,606/$64,532 76.8704% Called to Greatness Ministries Ryan Hickman $84,000/$116,412 72.1575% Social Service League of Lawrence Jean Ann Pike, Store Manager $33,637/$58,699 57.3042% Accredit Council Ed. Journalism & Mass Comm. Susanne Shaw $111,364 /$219,238 50.7959% Wakarusa Valley Development, Inc. Troy Roberts $98,592/$203,779 48.3818% Kansas Scholastic Press Association Jeff Browne $39,349/$84,092 46.7928% Student Churches Erik Fish $79,859/$186,902 42.7277% Haskell Light Paul Flaa $114,571/$282,487 40.5580% Family Promise Dana Ortiz $50,000/$132,831 37.6418% Lawrence Community Nursery School Stephanie Duncan $32,112 /$89,589 35.8437% Lawrence Regional Technology Center Matthew McClorey $175,124/$491,607 35.6228% National American Indian Court Judges Association Vincent Knight $90,078/$291,219 30.9314% Ecumenical Christian Ministries Thad Holcombe $56,708/$186,723 30.3701%

On the other side of the scale, those that took less than 3% of revenues in compensation included:

Kansas Research and Education Network Cortney Buffington $114,633/$3,836,484 2.9880% Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association Judith Bellome $107,191/$3,594,018 2.9825% Lawrence Community Shelter Loring Henderson $35,640/$1,205,339 2.9568% American Society for Photobiology Jean Cadet $12,000/$408,874 2.9349% Douglas County Child Development Association Anna Jenny $42,770/$1,639,377 2.6089% Trinity In-Home Care Kelly Evans $47,744/$1,933,358 2.4695% Independence, Inc. Stacey Schwartz $58,500/$3,344,737 1.7490% DCCCA Bruce Beale $300,000/$20,282,848 1.4791% Bert Nash David Johnson $130,000/$9,639,324 1.3486% Douglas County Community Foundation Chip Blaser $64,142/$7,278,369 0.8813% ECKAN Richard Jackson $100,395/$11,896,029 0.8439% Kansas University Athletics Sheahon Zeanger $450,000/$67,090,128 0.6707% Cottonwood Sharon Spratt $152,500/$23,133,114 0.6592% Kansas University Endowment Association Dale Seuferling $403,965/$132,323,429 0.3053% University of Kansas Center for Research Steve Warren $305,467/$151,370,474 0.2018%


jerseykansan 2 years, 3 months ago

What we all have to remember here is that these CEOs NEVER STOP doing their jobs - they are the face of their organization. They are not 8-5 employees. They work 24/7 for their organization. Compensation for that sounds justified to me - some of these salaries are pretty weak considering the importance of the work these men and women do.


sad_lawrencian 2 years, 3 months ago

This is why I refuse to donate to most charities (Headquarters is an exception). How can I justify donating anything (my salary is less than $30k a year) when some of these directors are making $100,000, plus, a year?


Alceste 2 years, 3 months ago

There's several "Wows!" on that list. Take a look at GaDuGi Safecenter:

Sara Jane Russell; $64,798 "salary"; on an operating budget of $242,490 which is 27% of overall expenses.....and the figure doesn't even include the "benefit package" of health insurance; sick leave; vacation leave; retirement (?), workers comp, unemployment costs, etc., etc., etc., etc. Closer to 40% and higher in all likelihood. Like Epstein of Headquarters, Russell is with a "sacred cow operation" and has been for over 3 decades.

There are many other examples of "sacred cow status" in those statistics, but 27% of a joint's budget going out in a singular salary? Shades of Bernie Madoff....

Then, even more insulting, you got: Ecumenical Christian Ministries Thad Holcombe; $56,708 salary; on an operating budget of $186,723; The salary alone is 31% of alll costs, NOT including all the benes, perks (We must know that all these social service people don't keep "regular" office hours.......much of their time is spent hobknobbing.....not at fundraisers, though....not much of that going on at any of them places.....Alceste is referring to the proverbial "free lunches" obtained at "power meetings".), etc., etc., etc.,etc. It's a fine career path, poverty pimpdom, knowing there is job security as one quietly makes those personal banking deposits.....


MacHeath 2 years, 3 months ago

Which is more important? A good athletic program or a good hospital? I dunno. It just seems weird to me that healthcare and college athletics are in the same category. Hey! Lets have college athletics fund healthcare!


smitty 2 years, 3 months ago

LDCHA [lawrence dg do housing auithority] has to be one of the larger nonprofits...why no information on that agency?

from the exc dir hire site...a couple of years ago

The salary for the Executive Director is up to $119,662 and will be based upon the selected candidate’s qualifications, experience and salary history.

The people served and employed by LDCHA is a large number, too. What is the data on LDCHA, JW?


WilburM 2 years, 3 months ago

Best Bargain! Loring Henderson of the Shelter for $35,640. A lot of people doing great work for relatively little compensation.


ctutgo 2 years, 3 months ago

I don't pretend to know about such things. I only know that I work at LMH, and Gene Meyer is a great administrator. He took this hospital from a place "I wouldn't take my dog to" 20 years ago to a standard so high that I am totally comforatable taking my own family there (just ask Providence employees if they would say the same.) This hospital in now worthy of Magnet Status. I hope they go for it someday! As an employee, it is a wonderful place to work. We are a family. When other hospitals were laying people off, LMH was financially sound. We even got a bonus last year! Gene Meyer had the foresight to put a freeze on hiring a few years back (which many criticized, including me) so that LMH was able to ride out the recession. I will tell anyone who asks that I am proud to work there!


mustrun80 2 years, 3 months ago

Why isn't the government controlling what these evil rich people are making?


brewmaster 2 years, 3 months ago

Wow!! Some of those nonprofits are a pure scam, especially KUAC.


xclusive85 2 years, 3 months ago

I have seen at least two letters from people that work at Cottonwood recently. Could it be that they don't want changes (for-profit companies) or cuts to their funding from the state to keep salaries like the $152,000 that Sharon Spratt gets?


Bob Forer 2 years, 3 months ago

The KUAC is non-profit in name only. Sure, it has no stockholders, but there is plenty of profit made that is paid out in exorbitant salaries to coaches and administrators.


Benjamin Roberts 2 years, 3 months ago

Shaun - I understand the point of this comparison. However, it may not be an apples-to-apples comparison. For instance, one of the functions of Kansas University Athletics is to provide payroll dollars "off the books" of KU; and the bulk of the payroll has little to do with the actual operation of the nonprofit organization. Others, such as Just Foods, The Shelter, O'Connell Youth, etc. are dependent upon their most compensated personnel to do the lion's share of the work.

It also appears that you did not consider the source of compensation; whether it is was from the nonprofit or from other sources. Case in point: The Environmental Institute for Golf, which you have listed as number 5, does not have any payroll; the pay received is from the CEO's day job.

It might also make sense to categorize these.

Finally, why are there so many Susans (or some variation of the name) as directors, CEOs, etc.? Should I change my girls name to Susan?


Steve Jacob 2 years, 3 months ago

I know CEO's deserve big money (not being sarcastic), but the one that sticks out is Bruce Beale, DCCCA: $300,000. I mean the guy leading Bert Nash: only gets $130,000. Is DECCA that much harder to run the Bert Nash?


JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 3 months ago

Interesting article. Now let's see if LJW follows up with for profit CEOs. I'd like to know how much Dolph makes. I'd also like to know how much The CEOs at companies the city and county subsidize with tax dollars make. Got the juice for that,Shaun?


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