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Is THIS Earning “Goodwill”?

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 7:49 am - December 21, 2005.
Filed under: Post 9-11 America

The head of the Portland, Oregon chapter of the charitable organization, Goodwill, will take a 24 percent pay cut. Why? His $835,000 pay and benefits package had become a “distraction” to the organization following an audit showing his pay was significantly out of line with other heads of charities.

Significantly? I’d say! But you all might be surprised as to how well-off the heads of non-profits are these days. I remember about five years ago there was a ripple of a scandal with reports that the heads of AIDS-related non-profits were making a pretty penny. But it seemed to get lost in the drone of other news, so I’m sure there is still some skimming going on.

Time was that you went to a non-profit to work out of the goodness of your heart and to give something back to the community. I don’t expect people who head non-profits to starve or not make a decent living. But I have to say that I question the personal morality of anyone who thinks that making $500,000 at a non-profit is okay. Just think of those TV ads telling you that $1.50 will buy a family in Africa food for a month. That’s a lot of food the head of Goodwill could have been sending to Africa.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)



  1. Interesting that this is finally making the news, even nationally. The grumbling about “Greedwill” (as it’s affectionately known here) has been going on for some time.

    Really makes you wonder what “not-for-profit” is supposed to mean, doesn’t it?

    Comment by Asher - Dreams Into Lightning — December 21, 2005 @ 9:39 am - December 21, 2005

  2. The salary that the CEO of a non-profit makes is determined by market forces, not altruism. What’s the deal Bruce, are you anti-business? Allowing everything to be controlled by the market is the GOP way. Whats good for business is always good for America, right? Lets hope the GOP leadership doesn’t read your post Bruce, they might revoke your membership.

    Comment by Patrick (Gryph) — December 21, 2005 @ 1:09 pm - December 21, 2005

  3. I am a Republican and mostly pro-business and this subject angered me. Come on; if there is one corner of our economy that does not need to pattern itself on the values of Wall Street, it is the non-profit sector. I think that people should absolutely compare what percentage of their charitable conrtributions benefit the intended recipients and give only to those charities that are in the top tier (90% or better).

    Comment by Scott — December 21, 2005 @ 6:01 pm - December 21, 2005

  4. There certainly is nothing wrong with making a decent living working for a non-profit organization. But it shouldn’t be something people do to get rich.

    Comment by Lori Heine — December 21, 2005 @ 7:07 pm - December 21, 2005

  5. For profit companies pay a CEO what they pay *only* when that CEO produces more income for the business. Market forces definately apply.

    A not-for-profit has to measure the CEO’s worth a bit differently. Is the CEO able to bring in enough more in donations and conserve more by good business practices to warrent the salary, or would paying someone else much less result in equal donations and equal efficiency? And who figures that out?

    I don’t mind that those working for non-profits make money because it takes money to get the best people. How does that salary compare to for-profit organizations of the same size? Still, it does seem like *way* too much money… I mean, that’s riddiculous. It would make far *far* more sense to have local operations and no national organization at all.

    And yes… can you imagine just how far $800,000.00 would *go*?

    Comment by Synova — December 22, 2005 @ 12:25 am - December 22, 2005

  6. They are impacted by market forces. People decide whether to donate money to them, and PR like this can potentially hurt that. It certainly makes me less inclined to donate to them over some other charity. I want as much of my donations to benefit recipients as possible and the charity needs to convince me they’re trying to achieve that goal. That’s the product they’re producing. I don’t care where my money goes when I buy something for my own benefit, at least not for the most part. If I think a company is particularly unscrupulous or engaging in something bad, I may choose not to be a customer. But generally I leave it up to the company to figure out how to provide a competitive product and price.

    Comment by Dale in L.A. — December 22, 2005 @ 6:23 pm - December 22, 2005

  7. I would take issue with the concept that for profit companies pay upper management the excess profits which the CEO helped generate. We have seen countless examples of very lavishly compensated upper management who have been abysmal failures in their jobs yet still make fortunes–many times even being paid huge severances just to go away! I realize that market forces determine excutive pay, but poor performance never seems to carry any penalty.

    But back to the matter at hand; this particular issue is quite galling. How many truck loads of donated and refurbished “gently” used household goods does it take to get to $835,000 anyway? While I read that this gentleman increased his Goodwill office’s revenue significantly, I cannot see that kind of salary. When people read things like this, they become more cynical and less inclined to give in the future. As with the Ministry, people should be “called” into charitable service and not be enriched by it.

    Comment by Scott — December 22, 2005 @ 7:05 pm - December 22, 2005

  8. So glad to see this getting some attention.

    Years and years ago, I worked as development assistant for a small private, non-profit (for shit pay, but that’s not the point, of why I did it or this comment). In that capacity attended a variety of workshops and training sessions. It was always amazing to see the differences in attitude and (going by their dress and cars, etc.) between most non-profit agencies and the true biggies; for example, Goodwill, Boy Scouts, Red Cross, etc. (Interestingly, the local United Way that ran these sessions was one of the very first to become embroiled in scandal a few years back.)

    Now I serve as president of the board of a different small non-profit, and while this area of the U.S. doesn’t seem to have as much money to burn, or the inclination to do so, there are still some very discernable differences among agencies. Good capitalist though I am, problems do seem to arise the larger that a non-profit gets, and the more comes to resemble a corporation.

    Comment by reader_iam — December 23, 2005 @ 12:50 pm - December 23, 2005

  9. Liberal Compassion in Action: Democrat Landlord Jacks Up Rent on Homeless Sheltet, Because the Guy Who Runs it Is Republican

    Comment by V the K — December 23, 2005 @ 12:59 pm - December 23, 2005

  10. Sheltet s/b Shelter

    Comment by V the K — December 23, 2005 @ 1:00 pm - December 23, 2005

  11. Hey, paying this guy 800 grand is one way to make damn sure the organization doesn’t accidentally make a profit.


    Comment by John C. Randolph — December 24, 2005 @ 10:51 am - December 24, 2005

  12. I remember that palace of a donation center Goodwill built itself in SE Portland, over near Union, excuse me, MLKJr Blvd. This was about 10 or so years ago.

    $300 a piece stainless steel light fixtures to do the job that could be done with ones priced at 1/4 to 1/5 that much, fancy offices, and the whole bit. This, for a charity?

    Meantime, Sally-Ann, just up the street near a car dealers, had a somewhat run-down facility. But they also had classrooms, places for peope to stay, and get help. The thrift store was only a part of it.

    Comment by the friendly grizzly — December 24, 2005 @ 7:58 pm - December 24, 2005

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