Foundation salaries up

Salaries for foundation executives and program officers grew last year, staying just ahead of inflation, a new report says.

The study, “2005 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report,” was conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based Council on Foundations, using responses from 742 grantmaking organization representing more than 6,000 full-time employees.

The median salary for foundation CEOs and chief giving officers was $115,000 in 2005, the report says, and the median salary for program officers was $70,000.

Salaries for top executives at private foundations grew 2.69 percent from 2001 to 2005, after adjusting for inflation, compared to growth of 2.88 percent at community foundations.

Over the same period, program officer salaries were up 0.92 percent after inflation, compared with a 1.37 percent increase at community foundations.

Foundation heads in the Northeast are paid 14.1 percent more than their counterparts in other regions, while those in the Midwest have salaries 9.1 percent lower than the rest of the U.S., the study says.

Almost nine in 10 responding organizations provided salary increases in 2004, and more boosted salaries in 2005.

Fewer than four in 10 foundation CEOs have employment contracts, and almost half are permitted to make discretionary grants, while eight in 10 chief giving officers may make such grants.

More than three-quarters of all full-time paid foundation staff are women, and almost six in 10 CEOs or chief giving officers are women, the study says.

More than one in five full-time paid staffers are black, almost six percent are Hispanic, and minorities overall account for less than 7 percent of chief executives and about one in three program officers, the report says.

Turnover among foundation staff was 13.2 percent, with full-time chief executives holding their positions for an average of almost eight years, compared to four years for program officers.

Virtually all responding groups provide voluntary benefits, such as medical insurance and retirement plans, at an average cost of 26 percent of salaries, the report says.

More than nine in 10 groups provide retirement and medical insurance benefits, while one in four offer no benefits to part-time employees, and more than one in five provide benefits to the unmarried domestic partners of their employees.

Seven in 10 foundations have written policies regarding conflicts of interest, and almost nine in 10 either prohibit staff from serving on the boards of grantees or require that they disclose the relationship.

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