Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Is it possible for a gay leader to be paid too much money? I asked myself this question after reading not just the latest IRS 990 tax return for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, but also the previous five years worth of their returns and learned exactly how much money the executive director, Joan Garry, has been compensated for her services.

Here's the breakdown of Garry's total pay package over the past six years:







Add up her salary over the years and the total comes to $1,016,253. (Nice pocket change, yes?)

Frankly, I'm used to seeing such high compensation of an executive director at some AIDS service organizations, which have much larger budgets than GLAAD, but Garry's annual salary is over the top, considering the group's yearly budget.

Let's put GLAAD's budget and compensation for its leader in some perspective. In 2003 GLAAD's total revenue was $6,193,332 and Garry made $228,417.

The San Francisco AIDS Foundation, in 2003, reported total revenue of $24,824,726, and the organization's executive director, Pat Christen, full compensation package come to $208,717. So although the foundation's budget was much larger than GLAAD's, the executive director's pay wasn't.

Maybe it's unfair to compare GLAAD to the SF AIDS Foundation, since the former deals with social and media issues, while the latter is concerned with complicated medical and HIV related matters.

So I looked at the most current IRS 990 tax return for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, to get a sense of their revenue and salary level for their leader, Kweisi Mfumi.

During 2002, the NAACP's revenue was $36,311,726, much more substantial than either GLAAD's or that of the SF AIDS Foundation.

Yet the salary for the NAACP's Mfumi wasn't all that high, in fact, it seems rather low, given the large budget of his organization. Mfumi was compensated $259,751.

With all these figures in mind, I'd say GLAAD's Garry is overcompensated, and a tad greedy. More than a million bucks for Garry's service to the gay and lesbian movement over six years is troubling and hopefully of concern to GLAAD's donors.

Wanna verify these numbers? All you need do is visit www.guidestar.org, take two minutes to register, then read all the IRS 990 forms cited here.

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