Dollars & Sense

Do These Gay Rights Leaders Deserve So Much (Or So Little) Cash?


Running a gay rights or aid organization is a noble assignment. It’s also a plush gig. In return for being the public face and chief strategist for various activism and outreach organizations, the leaders are rewarded with cash. Handsomely. Just how attractive are these top posts of supposed non-profits?

Well, allow us to show you. In a blistering report, the Washington Blade compiled the compensation for leading gay rights and AIDS organizations. The method: Querying the organizations to voluntarily submit pay information, plus checking with charity watchdog firms Guidestar and Charity Navigator. Some of these pay stubs may surprise you; others not so much.

Does the president of a non-profit really deserve to earn more than 10 teachers combined? You tell us. But keep this in mind: Just because an organization is a charity or non-profit doesn’t mean it can slack. These groups must remain competitive. Without the right talent leading the team, fundraising suffers, which means their ability to do good suffers too. Good people cost money. But how much is too much?

We’d especially love to hear from people who actually donate money to these organizations. Are you comfortable with how much the leaders of the organizations you fund are receiving?

  Organization What It Does Compensation (Salary + Benefits) Annual Budget
Craig Shniderman
Food & Friends “provides meals and nutritional services for homebound people with HIV/AIDS in the Washington, D.C. area” $382,200 $7.9 million
Joe Solmonese
Human Rights Campaign “the nation’s largest LGBT political advocacy group” $338,400 (2009’s salary will be cut 10 percent to $302,200) $41.4 million
Lorri Jean
Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center “provides HIV/AIDS-related services as well as a host of social and recreational services for the LGBT community” $327,000 $48.5 million
Neil Giuliano
GLAAD “dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation” $270,000 (2009’s salary will be cut $20,000 to $251,034; Giuliano is stepping down) $7 million
Chuck Wolfe
The Victory Fund “Provides financial and campaign support to gay and lesbian political candidates.” $220,000 $5.2 million
Geoff Kors
Equality California “the statewide group that coordinated the unsuccessful effort to oppose an anti-gay marriage amendment” $171,000 $24.5 million
Donald Blanchon
Whitman-Walker Clinic D.C.’s “largest AIDS service provider for the LGBT community and other city residents in the Washington area” $170,000 (salary) $21.5 million
Mara Keisling
National Center for Transgender Equality “Social justice organization dedicated to advancing the equality of transgender people through advocacy, collaboration and empowerment” $82,321 $454,770
Greg Varnum
National Youth Advocacy Coalition “the leading national social justice and capacity building organization working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and LGBTQ youth-serving professionals” $62,000 (down from 2007’s $92,240) $600,000
Jon Hoadley
National Stonewall Democrats “a grassroots network connecting LGBT Democratic activists … for social change within our movement and within our party” $59,500 $650,000
Dyana Mason
Equality Virginia “a statewide, non-partisan lobbying, outreach and education organization seeking equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Virginians” $59,000 (her successor will earn $79,000) $700,000

Lead Photo: Flickr/jlgsongs

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