Two-Thirds of Small Foundations Led by Women but Pay Gap Persists

Two-Thirds of Small Foundations Led by Women but Pay Gap Persists

Two-thirds of the leaders at leanly staffed foundations in the U.S. are women, yet women in leadership roles earn, on average, 84 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn, a report from Exponent Philanthropy finds.

Based on survey responses from three hundred and thirty of the funder association's members, the 2018 Foundation Operations and Management Report found that 77 percent of respondents have paid staff, with nearly two-thirds of them having just one or two employees. The report also found that while 66 percent of the full-time CEOs at organizations responding to the survey were women, on average they earned $127,039, compared with $150,712 for men, while the median base salary for women CEOs was $120,500, compared with $150,000 for men. The median salary level for all full-time CEOs was highest in the Northeast ($147,000), followed by the South ($133,817), the West ($124,601), and the Midwest ($115,374).

"Philanthropy is one of the few sectors dominated by women, but unfortunately the gender pay gap exists similar to other sectors," said Exponent Philanthropy CEO Henry L. Berman. "We believe it is important to build awareness of the gender pay gap so that foundation boards can address it and correct it."

This year's report also included data about the race/ethnicity of staff and boards and found that 33 percent of leanly staffed foundations reported having an employee of color; 39 percent reported having non-white representation on their boards, with non-family foundations (45 percent) more likely than family foundations to have board members of color (35 percent); and nearly one in five (19 percent) reported having a non-white board president or chair.

In addition, the survey found that 32 percent of respondents reported making grants in support of advocacy efforts in 2017, up from 27 percent in 2016, and that 79 percent made general operating grants, up from 77 percent.

"New Report Shows Women Dominate Leadership of Leanly Staffed Foundations Yet Gender Pay Gap Persists." Exponent Philanthropy Press Release 02/14/2018. "2018 Foundation Operations and Management Report." Exponent Philanthropy Press Release 02/14/2018.