I received a comment from reader Judilyn about charities and how false and outdated the information I passed on was. SHE CHECKED WITH SNOPES, which is what I should have done. Trusted friends can just as mistakenly pass on bad information as I did to you, my readers.
So, I'm eating crow and here is the correct information:
The e-mail I copied into my blog yesterday has been circulating since 2005, out of date, and dead wrong in some cases.http://snopes.com/politics/business/charities.asp#66aO066DXtt4XREs.99
The following efficiency information is derived from the Charity Navigator web site, the GuideStar web site and Forbes magazine's November 2009 special report
on the 200 Largest U.S. Charities. Salary information is taken from
Schedule J (Compensation Information) of the various charities' IRS Form
990 filings, an annual reporting return that certain federally
tax-exempt organizations must file with the IRS which provides
information on the filing organization's mission, programs, and
finances. (In the context of this article, the term "efficiency" refers
to the percentage of total budget/expenses that each listed organization
spends on providing charitable programs and services, while the term
"compensation" or "pay" includes salary, one-time payments, and deferred
- UNICEF: The e-mail is not specific about which executive is being referred to here, as UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund) is a global organization with offices in 190 countries. We're assuming the reference is to the President and CEO of the United States Fund for UNICEF, Caryl M. Stern, whose last reported total yearly compensation was $472,891, not $1,200,000. Both Charity Navigator and Forbes rate this organization's efficiency at 91%, far greater than the 14% claimed in the e-mail cited. In response to the claim that UNICEF's CEO receives "a Royal Royce for his exclusive use where ever he goes," UNICEF told us that "There is no Rolls Royce or company car provided for any staff member at UNICEF or the U.S. Fund, including the President and CEO of the U.S. Fund or UNICEF’s Executive Director.
- American Red Cross: The information presented above is outdated (as of October 2010), as Marsha J. Evans resigned her position as CEO of the American Red Cross in 2005. The current President and CEO of the American Red Cross (since 2008) is Gail J. McGovern, whose total yearly compensation for 2010 was about $1,037,000 (considerably higher than the $651,957 figure mentioned in the email) and for 2011 was about $561,000. Charity Navigator and Forbes both rate this organization's efficiency at 92%, much higher than the 39% figure claimed in the e-mail.
- United Way: The United Way is another charitable organization that operates on both global and local levels. We're assuming the e-mail references the President and CEO of United Way Worldwide, Brian A. Gallagher, whose last reported total yearly compensation was $717,076 (including a base salary of $415,613, which is a bit higher than the $375,000 figure reported in the email.). Charity Navigator rates this organization's efficiency at 89%, while Forbes rates it at 85%, both much higher than the 51% efficiency claimed in the e-mail.
- Salvation Army: The information presented in the email is outdated, as W. Todd Bassett stepped down as National Commander of The Salvation Army in April 2006; the current National Commander of the Salvation Army (since 2010) is William A. Roberts. The Salvation Army is not required to file a Form 990 with the IRS because it is primarily a religious organization, but according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Roberts' last reported total annual compensation was $126,920, much higher than the $13,000 reported above. Forbes rates this organization's efficiency at 82%, a fair bit lower than the 93% figure claimed in the e-mail.
- Goodwill: Goodwill Industries International is not a business that takes in donated items and resells them for a profit. It is a not-for-profit organization that provides job training, employment placement services and other community-based programs for people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges. Goodwill raises money for their programs through a chain of thrift stores which also operate as non-profits.The CEO of Goodwill Industries International is not Mark Curran, nor does he make $2.3 million a year. The current President and CEO of Goodwill is Jim Gibbons, who in 2011 received a total reported compensation of $725,000.
- March of Dimes: Charity Navigator rates the March of Dimes' efficiency at 64.6%, a fair bit lower than most of the charities mentioned here, but much higher than the 10% figure claimed in the e-mail example quoted in the email.
- St. Jude Children's Research Hospital: Charity Navigator rates the efficiency of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital at 70.3%, considerably lower than the 100% figure claimed in the email.
- Ronald McDonald Houses: Ronald McDonald House charities operate at local levels in dozens of different metropolitan areas in the U.S. with varying levels of efficiency. Charity Navigator rates the efficiency of the parent organization at 89.5%.
- Lions Club International: Charity Navigator rates the efficiency of the Lions Clubs International Foundation at 83.9%.
There you have it, folks. Mea culpa for not checking a reliable source. And, it is smart to check charity navigator for any organization you are not sure about.
Here is the snopes address if you want to check others: