"Chai Lifeline is a not for profit organization dedicated to helping children suffering from serious illness as well as their family members." They are well known for programs such as Camp Simcha, which is a summer camp for children suffering from cancer.
I received a mailing from them recently asking for a donation. I have given them money previously, but I now make it a habit to first check a charity tracking service such as GuideStar or Charity Navigator.
GuideStar gave them a 4-star rating, and I thought "hey, not bad". But then something caught my eye on the page: Sam Zaks, the "Community Development Director" received a salary of $398,683 - or 2.56% of all expenses - in 2006! This merited further investigation and I perused their 2006 Form 990 available through Charity Navigator.
Here is some interesting information from the form.
Total revenue: $15,739,488 (Line 12)
Compensation for officers: $498,661 (Line 25a)
Salaries & wages of other employees: $7,996,028 (Line 26)
The top two directors received total compensation of approximately $500,000! They are (see Part V-A):
Stephen Scholar - Executive VP: $217,601 salary plus benefits of $66,691
Abraham Cohen - Executive Directory: $151,912 salary plus benefits of $62,179
The salaries for other employees is about $8 million.
Schedule A lists the compensation for the five highest paid employees. This includes:
|Sam Zaks||Community Dev Dir||398,683||95,514|
|Levi Katlowitz||Dir Com Dev||188,523||76,028|
|Aryeh Adest||Dir Com Dev||131,644||52,328|
|Mordechai Gobioff||Dir of Client Serv||113,826||50,371|
Half a mil for Sam Zaks? What is a "Community Development Director" - the head camp counselor? A million bucks (plus more than 300K in benefits) for the top five not including the two top directors?? What's going on here?
I don't expect anyone to work for peanuts, but please don't give me the party line used by so many charities with outrageous salaries: "we need to attract top talent and be competitive with for-profit companies". There are many, many talented people who do work for peanuts at non-profits and who would gladly take the reins for a hundred thousand plus benefits!
This is certainly not a slam at the services that Chai Lifeline provides, only to raise what seems to be a questionable allocation of resources. If anyone can explain to my satisfaction why I am completely off-base here, I will immediately remove this post and replace it with an apology. And possibly even given them some tzedakah.