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June 14, 2021
Top Compensation for Mass. Nonprofit Leaders Put at $701K

May 8, 2021 — While working in the Massachusetts nonprofit sector is widely regarded as an opportunity to do good, it can also pay well if you happen to lead a large organization, as the 25 highest paid nonprofit chief executives recently received, on average, $700,301 in annual compensation, according to a newly published listing.

Compensation ranged from a high of $1,160,647 for James Pauley, president and CEO of the National Fire Protection Association, to a low of $461,821 for James Morton, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Boston.

The ranking, published this week by the Boston Business Journal, was compiled from form 990 filings for Massachusetts-headquartered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, primarily for fiscal year 2019, with three of the 25 listings from fiscal year 2020. The list excluded universities and hospitals and their affiliated organizations, as well as 501(c)(6) business-advocacy organizations and charitable foundations/trusts.

Included on the listing were some of the most prominent Massachusetts nonprofits, located primarily in the Greater Boston area.

The top 10 were as follows:





Total Compensation


James Pauley

President and CEO

National Fire Protection Association



Louis Woolf

President and CEO

Hebrew Senior Life



Mark Volpe

Former president and CEO

Boston Symphony Orchestra



Dan Monroe

Former executive director

Peabody Essex Museum



Matthew Teitelbaum


Museum of Fine Arts, Boston



James Monroe

President and CEO

Road Scholar



James Poterba

President and CEO

National Bureau of Economic Research



Carter Luke

Former CEO

Mass. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals



Derek Feeley

Former president and CEO

Institute for Healthcare Improvement



Jonathan Abbott

President and CEO



The earnings highlighted in the listing contrast with average compensation across the Massachusetts sector.

In a report issued last September, Candid, an organization formed by GuideStar and the Foundation Center, average compensation for women CEO/executive directors in Massachusetts in 2018 was 88.5% of what their male peers received – $58,738, compared to $66,361 for men at organizations with an annual budget less than $500,000, which comprises the majority of all nonprofits in the state.

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

However, the gap increased for organizations with an annual budget between $1 million and $5 million, where women CEO/executive directors earned compensation totaling $130,268, or 79.5% of the $163,779 earned by men.

That gap mushroomed for organizations with an annual budget greater than $5 million: women CEO/executive directors on average received compensation of $271,700, or 60.5% of the $448,784 compensation given to male.

In 2017, according to TSNE MissionsWorks, average executive director pay for nonprofits in southern New England and Westchester County, New York, was for $158,649 for men and $119,622 for women.

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