15 Highest Paid Nonprofit CEOs | Ultimate Guide

Some jobs earn you more than you could ever imagine possible, and one such job would be working as one of the highest-paid nonprofit CEOs.

This position offers you things and privileges that are not the standard offerings available to others in similar positions, except for those available in tech companies.

This article explores the issue of nonprofits, topics surrounding nonprofits, and the highest-paid nonprofit CEOs.

What Do Nonprofit CEOs Do?

The job of the CEO at some of these nonprofits involves a lot of high-value decisions that either keep the nonprofit in business or take it out of business. The CEO gets to decide how money is made and what happens to it after it is made.

As simple as the job of CEO at a nonprofit sound, it is no easy deal. If these CEOs were running for-profit organizations, the job would have been relatively easier, as you are aware of the fact that your job is to make money for the company and its shareholders.

In the world that we currently live in, this is pretty easier to do than trying to make money and trying not to make money at the same time.

The sheer awkwardness of the situation makes it highly volatile in its way. Charities are funded through a wide range of means, which determines how much the CEOs get paid. This could mean that a particular CEO gets paid outrageous sums and another gets paid the standard pay.

See How To Become A CEO Very Fast here.

What are Nonprofit Organizations?

Nonprofit organizations or not-for-profit organizations are organizations that run their business not to earn profits for their owners.

Instead of making money for their owners, nonprofits earn money and donate it towards achieving the organization’s aims, objectives, and goals.

Sometimes, or most times, these objectives are so lofty that they just don’t get achieved in one day or year but have to take some time to achieve.

These objectives could include improving the quality of life for others at a local, community, state, and global level. These organizations aren’t dedicated to private or financial gain but to the advancement of public interest.

The most significant difference between nonprofits and for-profits is that in for-profit organizations, these excess revenues (profits) will typically be distributed to shareholders.

In nonprofits, they are reinvested into the organization through hiring additional staff, building out infrastructure, etc.

See Top 10 Highest Paid CEOs In The World

Who is the Highest Paid Charity Ceo?

Charity CEOs in the health sector dominate the salary survey. In the UK, a recent survey showed that the highest-paid charity CEO earned a whopping sum of £780,000.

The next-highest-paid charity CEO’s salary is about £170,000 on average. In countries like the USA, a 2012 report shows Steven E. Sanderson of the Wildlife Conversation Society received a compensation of $787, 747 making him the highest-paid charity CEO.

Below are some Charity CEO salaries:

Red Cross CEO Salary

According to redcross.org, Gail McGovern has been Redcross’s president and CEO for 11 years. The Red Cross CEO’s salary is $709,164.

In 2018, she was paid $649, 000, reflecting her leadership of the country’s largest humanitarian organization.

Save the Children CEO Salary

Insher Ashing is the head of a global organization with annual revenue of over $2 billion that operates across 122 countries.

Save the Children’s CEO salary was $250,553 in 2020.

Goodwill Ceo Salary

Goodwill Industries is a 501(c)(3) non-profit in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

In 2017, Goodwill’s CEO salary was $598 300, with additional compensation of $118 927. According to Glassdoor, the Goodwill CEO’s salary is 69% less than the average CEO’s salary in the USA.

How Do You Make Money If You own a Nonprofit?

A non-profit organization can raise funds in various ways depending on the subject it is fighting for. If you run a non-profit organization, you must be extremely careful about raising funds for the proper cause and putting them to good use.

There are a variety of techniques to raise funds, including:


Having an online presence for your organization is critical for raising awareness and collecting funds. Your website can assist you in raising revenue through a variety of means, such as crowdfunding platforms. Crowdfunding platforms such as Kiva, and Milaap are excellent examples.

Donation Boxes

Donation boxes can be placed in several superstores or grocery stores that customers frequent.

Community Fundraiser

You can organize a community fundraiser. Invite everyone who is important to your cause and potential donors.


Corporations can be a valuable source of funding. You may always propose your non-profit ideas to corporations, and if they are interested, they will fund them.

In the United States, most nonprofit organizations run two companies simultaneously. One may provide client services or work to change policies (or society at large). The other is in charge of raising funds to pay for the work.

This is one of the reasons why running a nonprofit as a CEO is so tricky. The people who benefit from your work and those who pay for it can be completely different! This is why communication within a nonprofit organization is so important.

Before people give, they must get to know your organization, like what it does, and trust you with their money; if they don’t, you will have to close your doors.

15 Highest Paid Nonprofit CEOs

Here are the highest-paid nonprofit and charity CEOs:

15. C Darby

Chris Darby began his career at Northern Telecom (now Nortel Networks) and Bell Northern Research. Mr. Darby was the president and CEO of Sarvega, a venture-backed XML networking and security solution provider. Mr. Darby was the Chairman and CEO of Stake, a well-known internet security consulting business that Symantec eventually bought prior to joining Sarvega (SYMC).

He formerly led Intel’s Middleware Products Division as Vice President and General Manager and was in charge of Intel’s Infrastructure Software division, which included both open-source and commercial software. With the acquisition of Sarvega Inc., he joined Intel in August 2005.

Mr. Chris Darby is the President and CEO of In-Q-Tel, an independent strategic investment business that seeks breakthrough technology to assist the CIA’s and the Intelligence Community’s goals.

Darby earns approximately $2,222,343 yearly as one of the highest-paid nonprofit CEOs, with a base pay of $769,620.

14. Mary G Leary

Mary is the principal officer of Mather Lifeways, a leading not-for-profit provider of programs for senior living communities and community programs.

It is also a respected source for research and education for professionals in many industries and caregivers. They gain information and knowledge that enhances older adults’ lives so they can age well.

She earns, per year, 2,222,343 and $769,620 as base pay.

13. Alan List

Earning a whole $2,298,047 and base pay of $962,345 per year is Alan List, the Medical Director of the Moffitt Cancer Center, a cancer research center in Tampa, FL, whose mission is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The center is also known as the H Lee Moffitt Cancer Center for those unfamiliar with the name.

The center is known for basic science as well as cancer prevention and control, translational science, pre-clinical and clinical investigations, and providing management and other support services as the sole corporate member and parent for a couple of subsidiary corporations.

12. Gordon Van Welie

As the president and CEO of ISO New England, a company that manages power grids and other electrical problems of that nature, Gordon, one of the highest-paid nonprofit CEOs, finds himself earning $2,306,029 and $760,091 as base pay at the end of every year.

ISO New England Inc. is a not-for-profit organization authorized by the federal government to perform all three critical activities to ensure a reliable and sustainably safe electricity supply throughout New England.

As a first activity, Energy Administration, ISO-NE ensures the constant availability of competitively-priced electricity for the region’s 14.8 million residents by designing, refining, and administering the region’s wholesale electricity markets and making sure these markets are fair and competitive.

As a second activity, they ensure the reliable day-to-day operation of the region’s high voltage transmission system, forecast and schedule the electricity needed in the region for every second of every day, and ensure there is enough electricity generated to meet demand and resources needed to maintain stringent reliability criteria as a third activity.

11. Edward J Grefenstette

With revenues at $76.4m, Edward Grefenstette of the Dietrich Foundation is the 11 most paid non-profit CEO on the list. The Dietrich Foundation contributes towards higher education in the greater Pittsburgh area by providing financial support to six educational institutions.

In May 2019, the Foundation made its annual distribution to its supported organizations equal to 3.0% of net assets as calculated on January 1, 2018. Edward Grefenstette has a take-home amount of $2,315,041 and a bonus of $540,000 for his job as President of The Dietrich Foundation.

10. Lisa Sherman

Lisa on her LinkedIn profile announced that “As a C-Suite executive with 35 years of diverse experience in digital transformation, strategic and business planning, revenue generation, marketing, and human capital at some of the world’s most prestigious organizations, I now have the best job on the planet – President and CEO of the Ad Council.” As President and Chief Executive Officer

9. Wynton Marsalis

As managing and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Wynton Marsalis is one of the highest-paid nonprofit CEOs. The Jazz at Lincoln Center has education and outreach programs, including an annual high school band competition and festival, a band director academy, a jazz appreciation curriculum for children and adults, student and family concerts, a middle school and high school jazz academy, summer youth programs, student and education workshops, as well as early childhood and adult education courses and other music education resources.

From March until the end of the fiscal year, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s concert rooms was closed to the public due to state and local requirements in reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak. Due to the required shutdowns, several of JALC’s instructional programs have been moved online.

Marsalis earned $2,361,171 as revenue and compensation as managing director of the facility.

8. David Myers

David Myers serves as Board Member and President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Institutes for Research in the Behavioral Sciences and earns as compensation $2,430, 374.

It created and deployed cognitive assessment programs in collaboration with states and districts to provide information on student growth. The initiative incorporated statistics, technology, and standards-aligned material into K–12 formative, summative, and supplemental products and services, which were mainly given via the internet (continuing as planned o).

The division also looked into the reliability of tests administered by federal, state, and local education agencies.

The data and analyses provided schools and education oversight organizations the capacity to assess compliance with federal and state education standards and laws.

7. Nancy Brown

Earning $2, 517, 493 as the Chief Executive Officer and Board Member of the American Heart Association is Nancy Brown. The American Heart Association provides funding for research into the causes, prevention, and treatment of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular illnesses.

The association has invested more than 4.6 billion in research since its foundation in 1924, making them the largest private, non-profit funder of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular research.

Research spending accounted for 140,080,154 dollars in the fiscal year 2019-20 or 17% of overall program and support service spending. -research grants totaled 120,697,947 during the year.

6. Michael W Howard

Michael Howard is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Electric Power Research Institute. EPRI’s objective is to carry out research and development through science and technology in order to assist its members’ consumers and the general public in the United States.

To achieve this goal, EPRI creates and administers research and development initiatives aimed at enhancing energy generation, distribution, and consumption.

Expenses for program services are charged directly to the research programs because EPRI does not separate indirect expenses for financial accounting purposes; they are included in the management and general expense category. Michael Howard earns $2 528, 882.

5. Thomas P Campbell

Thomas Campbell of the Metropolitan Museum of Art functions as Executive Director and earns $3, 017, 012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s aim is to acquire, preserve, research, exhibit, and promote appreciation of works of art that collectively represent the largest spectrum of human achievement at the highest level of human activity. Thomas Campbell is one of the highest-paid nonprofit CEOs

4. Robert Schultze

Working for the International City Management Association Retirement Corporation I place Robert Schultze as the fourth on this list. The International City Management Association Retirement Corporation serves to lessen the burdens of state and local governments and their agencies and instrumentalities by administering qualified and deferred compensation retirement plans, thereby helping public sector employees build retirement securities.

He earns $3,125,351 annually as president, chief executive officer, and director.

3. Lewis Von Thaer

Lewis von Thaer works as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Battelle Memorial Institute and earns $3,775, 540 as annual compensation.

Battelle Memorial Institute and its affiliates address critical elements of the nation’s scientific research agenda, conduct basic and applied scientific research, develop scientific knowledge and technical solutions in key areas of science, increase the availability of clean and abundant energy, restore and protect the environment, engage in educational activities, and contribute to national security through the operation of national laboratories.

2. Tiffany Carr

At this spot is Tiffany Carr, who functions as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) is an organization created to help create a violence-free world by empowering women and children through the elimination of personal and institutional violence and oppression against all people.

Tiffany Carr earns $4, 615, 910 per annum.

1. James Skogsbergh

The highest-paid nonprofit CEO is James Skogsbergh of Advocate Aurora Health. Advocate Aurora Health, Inc. and its affiliates (AAH) are part of an integrated healthcare system that serves towns across Illinois, eastern Wisconsin, and Michigan’s upper peninsula.

AAH supports the communities in which they operate by providing various health-related activities, education, philanthropy, medical research, and other advantages. Primary and specialized care, pharmacies, behavioral health care, emergency care, rehabilitation, home care, and end-of-life care are all health care services.

James Skogsbergh earns $5, 964, 082 per annum as Chief Executive Officer, President of the board, and Director.


CEOs, Executive Directors, and other top nonprofit executives make at least $900,000 per year, with salaries in the tens of millions for the major hospitals and health systems.

While the highest-paid nonprofit CEOs work in the healthcare and financial sectors, ordinary organizations are more fascinating.

Although a wide range of organizations compensates its leadership handsomely, the highest-paid charity CEOs tend to be a mix of arts groups, museums, and research institutes.


  • Causeiq – The Highest Paid Nonprofit CEOs
  • Erieri – Top 10 Highest Paid CEOs at Nonprofits 
  • Thebalancesmb – How Do Nonprofits Make Money?


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