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Local nonprofits spend hundreds of thousands on charity leaders

Fox 42 investigated how much of nonprofit spending in the metro goes toward charity leaders salaries. Photo courtesy: MGN graphics

Before you donate money you want to know exactly where it's going or who it's going to, especially if it's to an employee of the organization.

There are thousands of charities in Nebraska.

Each are required to report how much they spend each year.

That includes how much money goes toward leadership salaries.

"If you have a 501 c3 status, you need to be transparent, and be really clear about your mission and how you're spending your money," said Anne Hindery, CEO of Nonprofit Association of the Midlands.

The CEO of Goodwill Omaha resigned in October after coming under fire for making almost $1 million in 2014.

FOX 42 took a look at other nonprofits in the metro to see how they compare and found that salaries for charity leaders make up a small percentage of the total expenses.

"I think a lot of us feel comfortable with the salary levels we're at for the level of responsibility that we have," said Mike Hornacek, who has been the executive director for Together since 2012.

The nonprofit provides food, housing and transportation for low-income families.

Hornacek says he works more than 50 hours per week.

The latest tax documents show he made $95,300 in 2015.

That’s less than five percent of the nonprofit’s spending.

"I think it's a fair reward for the work we've accomplished," he said of his salary. "In 2012, when I started, there was 5 of us. Today there's almost 30."

Hornacek says Together pulls tax form 990’s from other nonprofits to help determine salary and benefit limits.

It also looks at the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands survey.

Hindery says this survey is helpful to show what other nonprofit leaders make depending on certain factors.

"Experience of the person, size of the organization, budget size, number of employees, how complicated the work is that they do."

Tax documents from 2015 show that Hindery makes $109,000, which is almost 23 percent of the nonprofits total expenses.

"To bring someone in that can run the organization in a way that needs to be run, well you get what you pay for," she said.

FOX 42 also looked at Heartland Family Service.

President and CEO John Jeanetta makes $189,000 from 2014 tax documents.

That’s less than one percent of the nonprofits spending, which was more than 23 million dollars.

Jeanetta was not available for comment but the chief financial officer of Heartland Family Service sent the following statement, in part:

“Part of the process includes a comparison to other, local nonprofits of similar size and budget with comparable CEO responsibilities, to remain competitive.”

The Visiting Nurse Association helps provide in home healthcare.

It paid President and CEO James Summerfelt close to $280,000 in 2014, which is about 1.5 percent of the group's expenses.

Summerfelt sent a statement saying, in part:

"VNA/ESN’s leadership works with program managers and the human resource team to ensure staff level compensation is competitive with in the market rates in their field."

Open Door Mission spent almost $28 million giving shelter to the homeless in 2014.

Of that, $270,000 went to the President and CEO Candace Gregory. That is 1 percent of the total expenses.

The board of director’s chairman for Open Door Mission says there are 106 employees who help feed the homeless more than 2,000 meals per day.

He sent fox 42 a statement saying, in part:

"This is a reasonable process, taking into consideration the skills, talents, education, and experiences, with the knowledge of each employee being compensated."

Hindery says it’s up to the board of directors to figure out a salary for charity leaders and that board members should not be paid.

However, they must be able to justify the salary that taxpayers pay for.

Nonprofit experts say to research each charity and check out websites likes Charity Navigator or Guidestar before you decide to donate.

The IRS can look into any nonprofit to make sure it’s following the right policy for a group that is tax-exempt.

Full statement from NAM regarding Anne Hindery's salary:

Dear Maria,

Anne Hindery forwarded your inquiry to our attention. I currently serve as the President of the Board of NAM. NAM wants to be a resource for all nonprofits to go to for help and guidance. Among other services, nonprofits seek NAM’s assistance to strengthen themselves organizationally. Attraction, recruitment, and retention of talented candidates and eventually employees is critical for all nonprofits, including NAM. As such, NAM wants to provide solid advice as well as to model an appropriate process to follow when determining compensation for executive leadership.

In determining CEO Anne Hindery’s compensation package, the NAM Board of Directors first created a human resources task force. The human resources task force reviewed and revised the CEO’s job description to ensure that it accurately reflected Anne’s role and responsibilities. Once this was completed, the full Board of Directors provided any and all organizations including both for-profit and nonprofit entities that they believed were of similar size, makeup, and/or purpose of NAM. The human resources task force then more closely studied whether each organization provided was a fair comparable based off such factors, but not limited to, budget size, number of employees, mission, and location. The full board was then able to raise concerns or suggest changes before the list was approved.

With a list of comparable organizations, the human resources task force then researched how much each Executive Director/CEO was compensated and whether his/her responsibilities were similar to NAM’s CEO. From this research, the human resources task force was able to determine a range of salaries/benefits packages. Again, the full board voted and ultimately approved that the range was appropriate based off objective facts and data available through research completed by the human resources task force. The human resources task force then made a recommendation regarding Anne’s compensation package within the proposed range based off NAM’s financial health and program effectiveness. In addition, when proposing Anne’s compensation package, the human resources task force considered 360 reviews completed by NAM staff, individual board member evaluations of Anne, input about Anne’s performance from key stakeholders, and other information specifically related to Anne as the CEO. From this process, Anne’s compensation package was approved by the full board of directors.

Throughout the process, Anne was kept informed. At times, she was allowed to offer her input when the board requested specific information. Nonetheless, the process was entirely led by and managed by the board of directors and specifically the human resources task force it created.

Please let me know if you have additional questions. I can be reached tomorrow on my cell phone at 402-707-3979 or this email address. One thing to note with the timeline of this story, I will have completed my six years of Board service to NAM. As you may be finding, a best practice among community benefit organizations is to institute term limits for board members. I end my tour of service next Thursday.

Warm regards,

Anne Meysenburg

NAM Board of Directors, Board President

Full statement from Open Door Mission regarding Candace Gregory's salary:

The Open Door Mission Board of Directors and Senior Leadership Team exercise care and diligence in setting compensation and benefits to its top leader and all of its employees. This is a reasonable process, taking into consideration the skills, talents, education, and experiences, with the knowledge of each employee being compensated. Annually, we perform a salary comparison utilizing the Nonprofit Salary and Benefit Survey of the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, Association of Gospel Rescue Missions Compensation Survey, and the Compensation Survey Report for Christian Organizations by the Compensation Resources.

The Open Door Mission is a $24 million dollar organization. Daily, we offer 816 safe shelter beds, feed the hungry 2,000 + hot nutritious meals and empower more than 570 working poor families to remain in their own homes. This would not be possible without the 106 employees, 14,000+ volunteers and the generous support of the community. We are privileged to report that 90 percent of every donation goes directly to program services for hungry and homeless people in our community.

The Open Door Mission is opening its doors wider than ever before to the hungry and homeless, 24/7/365, to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Perry Poyner, Board of Directors Chairman – Open Door Mission and Lydia House

Dr. Candace L. Gregory, President/CEO – Open Door Mission and Lydia House

Full statement from Visiting Nurse Association of the Midlands regarding James Summerfelt's salary:

VNA/ESN’s board of directors determines the CEO compensation based off market analysis, other leadership compensation levels are determined by the CEO within the framework of competitive market rates in their field. VNA/ESN’s leadership works with program managers and the human resource team to ensure staff level compensation is competitive with in the market rates in their field.

Full statement from Heartland Family Service regarding John Jeanetta's salary:

Thank you for your call. Per our conversation, the board of directors determines the salary of the CEO in executive session. Part of the process includes a comparison to other, local nonprofits of similar size and budget with comparable CEO responsibilities, to remain competitive.

Heartland Family Service uses salary survey data from the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities to benchmark every other year for other members of the leadership team.

Best,

Amy

Amy Carolus

Chief Financial Officer



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