Tag Archives: Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Optics matter

According to the Charlotte Observer…

kn As head of the Boone-based Samaritan’s Purse, Graham earned more last year than any other leader of an international relief agency based in the United States. That includes eight with larger budgets, according to data compiled by Guidestar, a group that monitors nonprofits.

Graham, 57, and his two boards of directors pointed out that most of his 2008 compensation came not from increases in his salaries, which have remained flat in recent years, but from accelerated contributions to his retirement. Graham received no retirement his first five-plus years at Samaritan’s Purse and first year at the BGEA. The boards said they were playing catch-up and hoping to satisfy his goal of working for free when he reaches age 70.

In addition, Graham and the boards said, nearly half of what he received last year from BGEA – $300,000 – was deferred retirement money that had been committed and reported over three previous years. Under new IRS rules, which have affected other nonprofit CEOs, the money had to be reported as a lump sum in 2008, the year Graham became eligible for the money.

Even with that $300,000 – plus accrued interest – taken out, Graham’s compensation at BGEA rose 21 percent in 2008, from $250,000 to $303,000. The median increase for CEOs at the nation’s biggest charities in 2008 was 7 percent, according to an annual survey released last week by the Journal of Philanthropy.

Graham acknowledged last week that his compensation total "looks terrible" and that "people won’t understand it."

News of his pay hike comes only months after BGEA laid off more than 10 percent of its staff.

I am not really sure what to think about this.  On one hand, the dude is making $303,000 at a time when he had to lay off 10% of the BGEA staff which is a 21% raise over the previous year.  CEO of the ministry gets 21% raise while while staff get kicked to the curb.  It doesn’t look good.  Yes, Graham is rejecting some pension contributions (because while he is making $500,000+ a year between the two jobs, he can’t be expected to pay for his own retirement), waiting until the media gets wind, doesn’t scream smart leadership to me which is too bad because I think Franklin Graham has done a great job with Samaritan’s Purse but at the same time I think he should know better to accept that kind of salary.

As an aside, there is a ridiculous comparison in the article to the Salvation Army

Graham spokesman DeMoss pointed out that if BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse were to merge – an idea that’s never been seriously considered, he said – the resulting organization would be the 33rd largest nonprofit in the United States.

"So, there would be 32 nonprofits bigger," DeMoss said. "You could ask how one person could run the Salvation Army, which has a budget of more than $1 billion."

This isn’t about the Army but like many denominations there is more than one person who plays a roll in running it. via