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Philanthropy CEOs Keep Pay

While economy tanks and staffers get laid off

Michael Weiss
June 12, 2009

Jewish philanthropies have been cutting back and laying off staff in response to the economic bust and Bernie Madoff’s graft. But executives of those philanthropies have barely seen dents in their six-figure salaries, according to a report by Anthony Weiss in today’s Forward. Bigshots’ salary cuts ranged from none at all to a whopping 10 percent. (You can skip ahead to a handy chart naming names.) A 10 percent cut hardly means an enormous change in lifestyle for someone making $400,000 a year. Richard Joel, president of Yeshiva University (which, admittedly, was hit hardest by Madoff), has the most to lose, PR-wise, by this article. Not only did Yeshiva lay off 60 people last year, but his handsome $676,004 salary suffered not in the least. However, he was wise not to talk to the Forward. United Jewish Communities CEO was less smart: “I think sometimes people are making those decisions [to cut salaries] for not the right reason,” he argued, “because it appears to be the right thing to do from a political perspective.” Not appearing “political” means Rieger pocketed $555,000 (plus a $150,000 stipend for expenses) in the 2006-07 tax year, while 31 UJC staffers, who each earned a fraction of that amount, lined up for unemployment. How principled.

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