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October 26, 2021
Study: Pay for Women Nonprofit CEOs Still Lags Pay for Men

September 20, 2021 — A newly published study of nonprofit CEO compensation documents a persistent gender pay gap—in which female CEOs nationally make less than their male counterpoints at organizations of all sizes—a situation which reflects a similar, and also ongoing, disparity in Massachusetts.

According to the study, completed by Candid, a nonprofit formed two years ago by the merger of the Foundation Center and GuideStar, the median compensation of female CEOs was lower than that of male CEOs at organizations of all sizes.

However, the gender gap is slowly declining, with all budget bands showing a decrease in pay gap since 2005. The report also notes that women represent the majority of CEOs at smaller organizations with annual budgets of $2.5 million or less.

Candid’s report found that 501(c)(3) organizations in the Northeast have the highest median executive compensation at $137K, compared to other regions.

In particular, it noted that median executive compensation at Massachusetts nonprofits is $143,000 per year.

Last fall’s Candid compensation report found that average compensation for women CEO/executive directors of Massachusetts nonprofits was 88.5% of what their male peers received – $58,738, compared to $66,361for men at organizations with an annual budget less than $500,000, which comprises the majority of all nonprofits in the state.

For Massachusetts nonprofit organizations with an annual budget between $500,000 and $1 million, the report found that women earned $93,566, or 87.7% of the $106,732 earned by men.

Other major findings from the newly released Candid study include the following:

  • Median executive compensation has grown steadily over the last five years. This year’s report found that most of the trends observed in 2018 continued in 2019, including steady growth in median executive compensation. This has risen gradually, year-over-year, from $106,000 in 2015 to $121,000 in 2019. Executive compensation refers to all 14 job categories tracked in the report.

  • Median compensation for CEOs decreased for all but the highest and lowest budget bands from 2018 to 2019. Median compensation for CEOs increased only at small organizations with budgets $250,000 and under and at large organizations with budgets of $50M and greater.

  • Science and health organizations have the highest overall median executive compensation, while religious institutions continue to have the lowest. As has been the case for some time, science and health organizations have the highest overall median executive compensation at $196,000, while religious institutions ($65,000), animal-related organizations ($86,000), and the arts ($92,000) continue to have some of the lowest overall executive compensation.
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