The Most Overpaid and Underpaid Jewish Charity Chiefs

Salaries Aren't Just About Organization Size — They're About the Brand

Top 5 Overpaid: Marvin Hier, Matt Brooks, Morton Klein, Malcolm Hoenlein and Abraham Foxman are all overpaid, according to an independent analysis conducted by a statistics professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
PHOTOS, CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: GETTY IMAGES; COURTESY RJC; NAOMI ZEVELOFF; GETTY IMAGES; REUTERS
Top 5 Overpaid: Marvin Hier, Matt Brooks, Morton Klein, Malcolm Hoenlein and Abraham Foxman are all overpaid, according to an independent analysis conducted by a statistics professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

By Nathan Guttman

Published December 15, 2013, issue of December 20, 2013.
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In a statement sent to the Forward, RJC Chairman David Flaum added, “Matt is worth much more than his salary.”

With a salary of $400,815 last year, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman and CEO of the Presidents Conference, heads the smallest organization among the most overpaid. The Presidents Conference is an umbrella organization representing 52 national Jewish groups on policy issues relating to Israel. As such, it does not have a large operation of its own. It employed only four staff members in 2012 and spent $2 million.

Hoenlein and the group’s top lay leader, Robert Sugarman, did not respond to the Forward’s inquiries on this issue.

Hoenlein is one of the most powerful figures in the Jewish organizational world, and a former member of the Presidents Conference who would not be identified said this prominence explains his seemingly disproportionate compensation. Hoenlein’s salary comes from two sources: the Presidents Conference and its affiliated Conference of Presidents Fund, which shares the same board and professional staff but is free to raise funds beyond the dues paid by member organizations.

Top 5 Underpaid: According to an independent analysis, these Jewish executives could be making twice their salaries.
Photos, Clockwise from left: Emil Cohen, Nate Lavey, Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, AJU, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit
Top 5 Underpaid: According to an independent analysis, these Jewish executives could be making twice their salaries.

On the other end of the spectrum are the Jewish executives who, according to the Forward analysis, should be getting much more.

Jennifer Gorovitz, 48, was the first woman to head a large Jewish federation, and today she remains the only one. But breaking the glass ceiling as CEO of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco did not translate into an income equal to that of male federation leaders. Earning $311,000 for overseeing 117 employees and $134 million in expenses, Gorovitz is underpaid by 38% compared with the predicted salary in the Wharton analysis.

The San Francisco federation declined to comment.

Keshet, a group working for inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews, has grown briskly in recent years. Compensation for its executive director, Idit Klein, 41, has grown a bit slower.

In 2012, Klein was paid $71,483 for overseeing 12 employees and a $1.4 million budget. Toward the end of the year, however, the Keshet board decided to adjust her salary significantly, raising it to $119,000. “When we became aware of the fact that our organization is growing and we invested in programs and staff but not in salary, the board decided to update my salary,” Klein said.


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