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United Way CEO gets big benefits boost

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Gloria Pace King

Gloria Pace King

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A boost in benefits to more than $800,000 for Gloria Pace King, president of United Way of Central Carolinas, has ignited controversy.

This year, King, will receive a contribution of $822,507 to her retirement plan, more than six times the previous year’s contribution.

With the increase, Pace’s total compensation now tops $1.2 million.

Graham Denton, the agency’s board chairman, told local TV station WCNC that King’s compensation was deserved, and the nonprofit’s website has since posted a statement to that effect.

But a survey by the Chronicle of Philanthropy shows King is paid considerably more than other United Way CEOs who raise twice as much in contributions, WCNC reports.

United Way of Central Carolinas, which funds 98 nonprofit groups in Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus and Anson counties, last year raised $44 million under King’s leadership, the most ever for the organization.

United Way in Seattle raised more than $100 million, and according to the Chronicle survey, its CEO earned over $100,000 less than King’s salary of $365,000 in 2007.

Pace’s current compensation would rank her third on the list of 42 United Way executives surveyed.

United Way executives typically receive higher compensation than other nonprofit CEOs, Aaron Dorfman, executive director of charity watchdog group the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, toldthe Charlotte Observer.

But he said he’d rarely seen such a large increase in pay packages.

“Nonprofit executives deserve fair compensation packages, but this is outrageous,” he said. “Why do people believe that we can retain the trust of the public when we pay people at outrageous levels like this?”

Increasing contributions to retirement plans is a common retention tool for high-level executives in the private sector, whose pensions are capped by federal law.

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