Non-Jewish Charities Typically Pay Their Leaders Less Than Jewish Organizations

A First Ever Comparison Reveals Interesting Gaps


A Different Gap: Addison Barry Rand leads the AARP, John Jenkins leads the University of Notre Dame. CEOs of Jewish charities in the salary survey are better paid than their non-Jewish counterparts.
Kurt Hoffman
A Different Gap: Addison Barry Rand leads the AARP, John Jenkins leads the University of Notre Dame. CEOs of Jewish charities in the salary survey are better paid than their non-Jewish counterparts.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Think the top Jewish not-for-profit executives in the Forward’s 2013 salary survey are overpaid? Their colleagues at non-Jewish charitable institutions might agree with you.

According to an independent analysis of the Forward’s annual survey of national Jewish not-for-profits, Jewish executives are paid more generously than executives of comparable non-Jewish charities.

The analysis examined 63 Jewish charities and 16 comparable non-Jewish charities. After controlling for size, the non-Jewish groups were found to pay their male CEOs roughly 80% of what the Jewish groups paid their male CEOs. That discounted salary is closer to what the women who head Jewish not-for-profits earn.

Take, for instance, Miami’s United Way and the city’s Jewish federation. The two groups have plenty in common. Both raise money to spend on health care and disaster relief; both distribute tens of millions a year inside and outside Miami-Dade County. Their offices are just 10 minutes apart by car.

They differ, however, in how they pay their CEOs. While United Way of Miami-Dade is bigger than the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and spent $11 million more than the federation in 2012, it paid its CEO more than $50,000 less. At the federation, Jacob Solomon took home $460,676, while at United Way, Harve Mogul earned $408,698.

Neither group responded to a request for comment.

“[T]hese non-Jewish organizations are systematically paying their executives less than Jewish organizations would,” wrote Abraham Wyner, a professor of statistics at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, in his analysis of the Forward’s salary survey. Wyner emphasized that these findings are “not supposed to be publishable research” and describe only the organizations the Forward surveyed. They cannot be applied broadly to all Jewish and non-Jewish charities.

They do help contextualize, however, the Forward’s annual list on the compensation of Jewish charity executives. Wyner’s analysis of the Jewish not-for-profits allowed him to predict a salary based on the size of each organization. Thirteen of the 16 executives of the non-Jewish groups surveyed would have earned more had they worked for a Jewish organization, according to Wyner’s formula.

The results suggest that the executives at the non-Jewish charities “are relatively underpaid (or rather, that Jewish CEOs are relatively overpaid) once we control for size,” Wyner wrote.

The Jewish organizations surveyed are the same federations and national organizations that have been included in the Forward’s annual report on executive compensation since it was first published in 2009, plus some new additions. The Forward has not previously included non-Jewish groups in its annual survey.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.