How Much Do You Make?

Should you know how much non-profit directors make?

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Comments (37)

(34) Jonathan C, January 4, 2012 5:38 AM


These salaries are often amazingly inflated, especially in Israel, where people will roll their eyes at the mention of an "amuta". Knowing that the salary will be published in the papers may help in a small way to keep such salaries at a reasonable level.

(33) David, December 28, 2011 9:41 PM

Why not?

No, being the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center does not mean that your salary should be at everyone's finger tips. BUT, being the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, declaring your organization a nonprofit, exempting it from the payment of taxes, and then asking people to donate money to you changes things a bit... It's public information and, in all fairness, it's news.

(32) SusanE, December 28, 2011 4:54 PM

Oh Yes, we should all know Exactly what your Salary is.

Not just your salary Rabbi, but everyone's salary and exactly where the monies from ALL non profits is used, should be available to the public no matter how esteemed the organization or how esteemed the officers.--------------------- In New York State this non-profit that preys on the disadvantaged has been outed. I pray that many more disgraceful non-profits are outed and that it will happen soon.

(31) Anonymous, December 26, 2011 4:06 AM

Press and Technology at best...

I call it abuse of power in the name of generating profit. The press knows how to stir public animosity and attract attention to sell more newspapers. They do have that protected power. In my opinion it is wrong to disclose directors' or any staff's salary or any of their private information to the gereral public. If donors want to know that information, I am sure that the particular organization will not hide it from the donors, who is the only person that the information should be disclosed to. Neither the recipient who benefit from the organization should be part of the complaining crowd. Yes, with technology at hand, the press and the public have gone too too far, and it is very unfortunate. Thank you Rabbi Salomon for making us think about, and analyze the dark and discouraging realm that we force ourselves to continue to lead...there should be a time in our hectic lives when we occasionally come to a full stop and look around us an say,--do we really need that information? In what way can his salary inpact me if I am not personally benefiting one way or the other, neither I am donor? Thanks again Rabbi Yaakov.

(30) R, December 25, 2011 1:38 AM

This video is plain odd!

I'm floored that Aish posted this video. Rabbi Salomon usually has wonderful things to share, but this video did not contain any pearls of wisdom! It was sheer disappointing & made me wonder if there are alterior motives here. After all, a charity solicits donations. Donors have a right to know where their donations are going, no matter how big or small their donation. If you work for a non-profit, there are perks & you may view public knowledge as a donwside, however it is inherently part of this business. And yes, I call it a BUSINESS. Having been in the inner circle & having been related to philanthropists, I can vouch for how many of these so-called organizations are truly non-profit vs. cover-ups. If the excuse is that the executive director could be holding down an otherwise ritzy job, kudos to him & let him go get that job. Let the poor receive the charity money, not those capable of making big bucks elsewhere, utilizing the charity to line their pockets.

(29) Anonymous, December 23, 2011 7:08 PM

100% agreed

Great commentary, Rabbi, as usual. Thank you. I'll continue your argument by speaking against websites that compile "public sources of information" about individuals. First, when you buy a house or land, information about cost and ownership cannot be restricted from the public, which is the way it should be. However, do a quick on yourself at several websites that publish "public sources of information" and you'll find your age, phone number, address, and much more available all at once. It's astonishing that more of us aren't victims of identity theft. The crux of the argument is: there's an enormous difference between allowing people to do their own homework to learn the above-mentioned information --and-- having a compilation of that information easily available for all to see. The information should not made into "news" or available at the quick click of a mouse. I'll be surprised if there's not a Facebook page created only for Facebook devotees to "monitor" their favorite Jewish non-profit organizations...

(28) Daniel, December 23, 2011 5:54 AM

Non Profit and Openness are synonymous

Non Profit implicates openness, transparency and non secrecy. Allowing certain information to be secret while other information public information seems to me a chance for abuse. When and where does one draw the line. I believe all information should be open to the public.

(27) Baruch, December 23, 2011 4:50 AM

Media Motivation

Why did the paper print it? If it was a newspaper for big donors, then it was hopefully to inform. If it was a paper for little guys like me, it is more likely in order to stir up resentment and even jealousy. "Hey, he calls himself a charity and he pockets more than me?!!!?" And everyone understands that articles that stir up passions also stir up conversation which help to sell more newspapers. Something to think about before reaching for that New York Times.

(26) Alan, December 23, 2011 3:54 AM

we donate to whom and what?

i give my money to be used to help the ones the charity states they are helping. I should know not only the salery of the head of the organization, but also the percent of my donation that gets to the people who are to receive the help. how much of my money goes to administer the organization and how much to the people I am trying to help?

(25) Anonymous, December 23, 2011 3:29 AM

I don't see the logic on saying salaries should be transparent but not easy to find. It is not a newspaper's job to be polite or to protect people. If information is public knowledge then there's no reason a newspaper should't publish it. If people are embarrassed to have their salaries revealed they shouldn't work in a field where they know they will be revealed. and if they find themselves embarrassed maybe it's because they have something to be embarrassed about.

(24) Herbert Lazarus, December 22, 2011 10:00 PM


Rabbi Salomon, I generally find your comments very sensible but not this time. I like to contribute to charities but I want to know if my money is being used properly. I don't think the head of any charity should be paid more than $100,000/yr. Most contributors do not earn that much, while the heads of these organizations earn a lot more. When I give $18 or $36 that is a sacrifice for me. I have a feeling I am supporting these CEO's rather than helping the needy. If they allowed anything in excess of $100,000 to go to the charity instead of their lifestyle think how much more good that would do than my paltry contribution. The charities solicit my funds but never tell me how much their executives are being paid and it is very hard to find out. Form 990 is very complex. It should be spelled out in their solicitation. The reason it isn't is because the contributors would be outraged. Rabbi, are you paid from contributions to Aish? Maybe there is a conflict of interest inherent in your comment!

(23) Jerry, December 22, 2011 9:49 PM

Public is public

What Rabbi Solomon is saying is that the salary information should be available but hard to get. That is silly. If the information is required to be public it should be readily available. If someone wants to publicize it, he has a perfect right to do so.

(22) (Maurice) Bud Wolf, December 22, 2011 8:17 PM

Is it morllly correct to recieve an immoral salary or bonus?

Do we really need greedy people to run our charities which are for the weal of the needy. I ask the same thing about the people who run our goveernment and corporations who are supposed to be working for the citizenry or the stockholders? There are many answers to the questions. My answer is that I look up what the people on top earn and if the C.E.O. is making what i think is disgustingly too much money, I do not give. In my favorite charity the C.E..O. earns $76,000. per year. I vote against those who are against the interests of the people or the stockholders by collecting disgustingly high pay or bonuses.

(21) Richard Dennis, December 22, 2011 7:26 PM

Non profit - yes; For profit -no

They make big money in those non-profits, but is it truly non-profit when the big macher there pulls down a six and seven figure wage. Does he KEEP that money or does he turn around and donate it to his shul? In my small way as editor and publisher of my shul's publication I make absolutely nothing! Truly non-profit. Again - if it is non-profit, it should be published. If it is for-profit, no.

(20) Anonymous, December 22, 2011 6:53 PM

jewish charities

what is more important than salaries is what per cent of the money received goes to the people in need

(19) Mati, December 22, 2011 6:51 PM

Corruption by nonprofits

There are soup kitchens who are run by churches and are given frood from food banks. The food banks get money from the gov., the public, under the guise of being "equal" to everyone. But the churches subject the homeless and poor to prayer to Yahska, and sermons, and the food banks support them while at the same time tell those receiving such that such is not permited by policy. I think therefore that I disagree with you rabbi. Let the world know of non-profit corruption and one start is making their salaries public.

(18) Rachel, December 22, 2011 4:40 PM

Newspaper or website, what's the difference?

I think the Rabbi's comment reflects a generational attitude. Fact is, if I want this information, I will start with the charity's own website. If it's not there, I'll google and find the information from the most easily available web resource (which might include the newspaper article). I really don't see any difference. And if I'm not interested and saw this article/list in a newspaper, I just wouldn't bother reading it. Public is public, period.

(17) Anonymous, December 22, 2011 4:38 PM

You got this one wrong

If you want me to donate, I want to know where it will go. If you also want me to put in many hours to dig this up myself, would you mind if I deducted the billed extra effort at my hourly rate? Do you not see that if the amounts of pay are so great as to be embarrassing, maybe something needs to be corrected besides the role of newspapers?

(16) mort_f, December 22, 2011 4:03 PM

Available, meaning?

Brings up the question of what does 'available' mean. If not the newspaper, and which newspaper, does it mean an internet site called Or does one have to write each organization for a financial report. A report that will probably be forever in coming. Note, that I, and I am sure others feel the same way, will make donation decisions on how my donations are spent. And executive compensation is one of those determinants.

(15) Anonymous, December 22, 2011 3:21 PM

Just Executive Directors of Jewish non-profits?

The bigger issue is whether salaries of EDs of Jewish organizations are singled out? What is the print media's point in targeting us as opposed to how much mosques send out of the country, or EDs of Christian charities make?

(14) Anonymous, December 22, 2011 3:11 PM

Non Profits are different

I think transparency is non profit agencies is important to prove that the charity being donated is going where it is needed and not being diverted to inflated salaries of the directors and staff. When I see transparency and know that an organization is doing the right thing with my charity, I am more inclined to give. It makes no difference if the information is just available for those seeking it or if it is in print. Salaries for non profit organization staff should be competitive and not inflated. I cant imagine why anyone serving the public in such a positive way should be embarrassed to have their salaries made public. They know going in that their salaries as well as job performance are public knowledge. It may be unpleasant for them but that is part of the job. I hope they feel at the end of the day that they are worth their salaries.

(13) moshe, December 22, 2011 2:42 PM

nepotism in the nonprofits

i think it should also be public knowledge who these nonprofits are hiring, and if they're all related- we know somethings fishy....although it is possible that the employees are efficient and doing a good job, it's also possible they're just getting a paycheck b/c they're related to the old boss of blessed memory, but were inappropriately placed in their position.

(12) Michael Fenton, December 22, 2011 1:57 PM

inequitable salary distribution

In these contemporary times, where the c.e.o. makes triple digits times the workers salary, transparency is in order. Shedding light on inequitable salary distribution is the first steps in correcting the problem.

(11) Anonymous, December 22, 2011 1:48 PM

In this case, I disagree with you

Dear Rav Salomon, I understand your point of view. However, the public really deserves to know upfront which of these otherwise worthy charities are essentially family businesses. The people at the top of the list are, in some cases, fortunate that the newspaper did not also publish the salaries of their family members!

(10) David, December 22, 2011 11:33 AM

Sunshine is healthy

What's the big deal? If these people believe that they deserve their salaries, what's the problem? And if they believe that they don't deserve their salaries, well, maybe they should be embarrassed. If they believe that they are underpaid, this is an opportunity to show it. The fact is that when people contribute to a non-profit, they should know how the money is spent. BTW, publicly traded US corporations are also required to publish the compensation of their top executives so that their shareholders know how their money is being spent. Public servants and elected officials are paid according to publicly available schedules. Salaries paid under union contracts are publicly available. In fact, the whole idea of opacity of compensation only serves those private interests that want to suppress free market labor competition and those who have something to hide. Transparency is a good thing. People who oppose it probably have good reason to hide something.

Anonymous, December 23, 2011 1:53 AM

The Big Deal?

He is not saying these salaries should not be published. I agree that you should be able to find out precisely where your dollars go. The point is that privacy is a valuable commodity. It is an invasion of privacy to have one's financial information displayed for anyone to see. That is the Big Deal.

(9) Dan, December 22, 2011 4:39 AM

Public knowlege, yes, printed knowlege, no.

You always have the most intriguing questions, Rabbi. I think financial info for any organization that is funded by the public should be available, but not published. If someone wants to make an informed decision about how they are going to spend their tzedakah money, they should know how the money is being spent. I also think that while it's okay for peoople to earn good salaries, it's inappropriate for people that can barely afford to put bread on the table to be contributing to the salary of someone that earns more that the President of the U.S. If you're running a charity, be charitable. That money can go a long way towards helping people in whatever organization you work for. Sorry if this affends anyone, but it just makes sense.

(8) Robert, December 21, 2011 6:40 PM

Transparency yes, Newspaper ?

I agree that any non-profit owes it to those donating to be transparent as to where the money is going. How well a non-profit does at getting the money to the actual need is really what is important, and not the individual salaries, with regard to the effectiveness of that organization. I was surprised that nobody mentioned This web site evaluates many non-profits for how well the money does go to the intended cause. At the same time, I do believe that any Jewish non-profit would ideally be run by people who demonstrate true Jewish values, and we can then ask whether specific non-profits are reflecting the values we share. Despite the above reasons for needing transparency, I don't agree that the information should be published as described. As described, the article that published the salaries was not written to ensure that a non-profit was being transparent, but may have been something more akin to lashon harah.

(7) SusanE, December 20, 2011 8:37 PM

I would never give to a non-profit.

I've worked for a few.

(6) lisa, December 20, 2011 2:59 AM

That bit of info was never on my top 10 list....

If you found out what these people made...then what would you do with that knowledge?

Louise, December 22, 2011 4:34 PM

what the top 10 make

After knowing the information... ''' all that money '''' !!!!! it just confirms to give to a local family... through a town run group. Charity begins at home...... lots aournd where each of us live need help and support. NOW THAT'S WHAT I DO.... for sure.

Anonymous, December 23, 2011 3:21 AM

I might reconsider my donation if a large chunk of it is going to go toward paying obscenely high administrative salaries

(5) Tzipporah, December 19, 2011 9:09 PM

Should be transparent

I agree with another response, that it should be transparent. Publishing that information might make people think twice before giving to that certain organization if they see how much goes to the head of that organization. It may very likely hinder people from doing more good in this world if that is what those organizations truly try to do and use their resources to the best of their ability and they should be given the benefit of the doubt that that is what they are about.

(4) muddywaters, December 19, 2011 2:18 AM

on point

putting that in the newspaper is going a bit too far. if someone asks for the info...ok fine. but really is that NEWS?!?! I'm a law enforcement officer and this media outlet posted all of our salaries. Again I ask....IS THIS NEWS!?!?!? Whew....I had to get this off my chest yet again. Shalom

(3) yehudit, December 18, 2011 5:57 PM

great issue

I thought your question was very fair. How public should public knowledge be? I would have loved to hear from you, Rabbi, what the halachic perspective is and how Jewish Law tells us to behave as the readers and therefore, potential spreaders of this information. Is this considered Lashon Hara once it is public knowledge? A follow up would be greatly appreciated.

(2) Anonymous, December 18, 2011 3:50 PM

salaries should be public for non-profit execs

since they are relying on public monies I think there is a responsibility on the part of the non-profit to be totally transparent.

(1) Neta, December 18, 2011 2:23 PM

Full transparency on non-profit

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. These salaries have been published in national newspapers for couple of years. Last year the Jerusalem Post had a fine article on the subject. I think the highest salary was just shy of $900,000. A lot of them were in the half a million dollar range. Rabbi, you are too kind and quite a diplomat. I guess another way you could have asked the question is: are those salaries deserved? The usual answer is that these organizations attract top talent and that is why they are successful! Nonsense, I say! Not only should salaries be published, but so should the financial statements of these organizations. Then, people can know the percentage of monies that actually goes to the cause and the percentage that goes to the people who run them, including administration. For example, we all know that secular organizations can take more than 70% of the income for themselves before giving anything to their causes. How do our organizations compare? Who is checking these things?


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