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February 17, 2016


Where does $1 to the ASPCA go?

by Anne Paddock

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) works to ensure the safety and protection of animals through education, animal health services, anti-cruelty operations, community outreach, disaster/emergency services, and government relations. A 501 (c) (3), the ASPCA files an IRS Form 990 annually which provides financial information on the organization to the public.

The most recent IRS Form 990 (2014) reveals the following information:

The ASPCA raised $191 million of which $164 million (86%) came from contributions, grants, gifts, and campaigns while $15 million (8%) came from program service fees and $12 million (6%) from investment income, sale of assets, royalties, miscellaneous income, and fundraising events.

Functional expenses (net of depreciation) totaled $171.2 million (90% of revenue) spent as follows:

  • $62.5 million (33% of revenue) for salaries, pension, benefits, and payroll taxes;
  • $6 million (3% of revenue) for salaries, pension, benefits, payroll taxes, severance, and consulting to key employees
  • $26.9 million (14% of revenue) for advertising and promotion;
  • $22.2 million (12% of revenue) for office, IT, occupancy, insurance, repair and maintenance;
  • $15.1 million (8% of revenue) for operating supplies
  • $8.5 million (4% of revenue) for other expenses (no detail provided);
  • $5.9 million (3% of revenue) for legal, accounting, management, lobbying, professional fundraising, and investment fees;
  • $5.3 million (3% of revenue) for veterinary and medical services, and transport;
  • $4.6 million (2% of revenue) for travel, conferences, conventions, and meetings; and
  • $14.2 million (8% of revenue) for grants to other organizations. 1,288 grants were given to 844 organizations with 315 non-profits (501 (c) (3)’s)  receiving more than $5,000. These grants were primarily for spay/neuter, live release, anti-cruelty, intake reduction, relocation, and equine programs.

Details on the above include the following reported information:

The ASPCA has 953 employees. 128 staff receive in excess of $100,000 in compensation. 23 key executives were given $6 million in compensation (although $416,660 were severance payments to two former employees and $191,66 was for consulting services for the former President and CEO):

  1. Mathew Bershadker, President and CEO:  $538,057 (including a $100,000 bonus)
  2. Edwin Sayres, Former President and CEO:  $191,666 (for “consulting services” for 1 year; 5 equal payments)
  3. Steven Hansen, COO through 10/15/13:  $289,660 (severance package)
  4. Melissa Norden, Former SVP and Chief of Staff:  $127,000 (severance package)
  5. Elizabeth Estroff, SVP Communications:  $332,792
  6. Louise Murray, VP Animal Health:  $326,823
  7. Todd Hendricks, SVP Development and Marketing:  $321,236
  8. Jed Rogers, III DVM, SVP Animal Health Services:  $315,329
  9. Stephen Musso, EVP Capital Projects:  $313,501
  10. Julie Morris, SVP Community Outreach:  $307,542
  11. J’Mai Gayle, Director of Surgery:  $300,046
  12. Sarah Levin Goodstine, SVP Operations:  $280,207
  13. Nancy Perry, SVP Government Relations:  $269,238
  14. Arturo Rios, SVP HR through 10/31/14:  $268,133
  15. Randall Lockwood, SVP Forensic Sciences:  $263,293
  16. Stacy Wolf, SVP Cruelty:  $261,997
  17. Gail Buchwald, SVP Adoption Center:  $240,168
  18. Beverly Jones, SVP and CLO:  $229,207
  19. Wilhelmina Waldman, VP Philanthropy:  $222,368
  20. Elysia Howard, VP Marketing and Licensing:  $210,886
  21. Bert Troughton, SVP Strategy Management:  $210,129
  22. Mark Abrahams, SVP and CFO through 4/16/14:  $125,628
  23. Johanna Richman, SVP and CFO:  $91,081

If the above compensation packages totaling $6 million are deducted from the total amount spent on compensation for all employees ($68.5 million) then $62.5 million was spent on 930 employees which equates to an average of $67,204 per employee.

148 contractors were paid in excess of $100,000 with the five largest being:

  1. $15.6 million:  Eagle-Com, Inc.:  Media Broadcast
  2. $ 7.3 million:  True North, Inc.:  Media Placement
  3. $ 4.2 million:  Patton Kiehl:  Data Processing
  4. $ 2.7 million:  SMS Direct, Inc.:  Printing Services
  5. $ 2.1 million:  Forum Group Services, Inc.:  Staffing Agency

Three professional fundraisers were paid $2 million to raise $11.8 million through direct marketing, fundraising services, and membership appeals. In other words, for every dollar raised, 17 cents was paid to the fundraiser while 83 cents was given to the ASPCA.

The ASPCA reported $233 million in total assets at year-end, of which $149 million (64%) were in liquid investments (cash, securities), $44 million (19%) were in land, buildings, and equipment, $21 million (9%) in beneficial interests in perpetual trusts, $15.8 million (7%) in accounts receivable, and $3.7 (1%) million in prepaid expenses.

Liabilities totalled $26.5 million, $14.1 million of which is deterrent rent, annuity obligations, and unfunded pension obligations.  $9.5 million are account payable while $2.9 million are grants payable.

Net assets totaled $206.6 million at year-end – up $8.7 million from $197.9 million from the previous year primarily because the ASPCA did not spend as much as they collected (which was mitigated by about $6 million in investment losses).

In summary, $1 in revenue was spent as follows:

$1.00:  Revenue

-$0.33: Salaries, benefits, pension, and payroll taxes to employees

-$0.03: Salaries, benefits, pension, payroll taxes, severance, and consulting fees to 23 key employees

-$0.14:  Advertising and promotion

-$0.12:  Office, IT, occupancy, insurance, repair and maintenance

-$0.08: Operating supplies

-$0.04: Other expenses

-$0.03: Legal, accounting, mgmnt, lobbying, professional fundraising, and investment fees

-$0.03:  Veterinary and medical services, and transport

-$0.02:  Travel, conferences, conventions, and meetings

-$0.82:  Subtotal Functional Expenses

 $0.18:  Amount Remaining

-$0.08: Grants to other organizations for spay/neuter, anti-cruelty, live release, etc. programs

$0.10:  Amount Unspent

The bottom line is that the ASPCA raised nearly $200 million dollars in 2014 and spent 90%. The organization is staff intensive because of the services provided (i.e. spay/neuter, education, veterinary services, etc) and yet more donations were left unspent (nearly $17 million in 2014) than were delivered in grants to other organizations ($14 million) providing these services. Given that the ASPCA has more than $200 million in net assets, these funds could have been put to use in other programs instead of being added to the fund balance. The $6 million in compensation provided to 23 key employees (of which more than $600,000 was for severance packages to two former employees and “consulting” services from the past President) and more than $500,000 to the President and CEO is notable  (although one key staff person is a veterinarian). And, finally 14 cents of every dollar being spent on advertising and promotion is nearly twice as much as is spent on grants to other non-profits providing spay/neuter, live release, equine, and anti-cruelty programs.

To review the complete ASPCA 2014 IRS Form 990, click here.

Update:  To read the analysis based on the ASPCA 2015 IRS Form 990, click here.

45 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thomas Coffman
    Sep 1 2017


  2. Gold Coast Equities Inc
    Dec 25 2017

    After all is said and done. What really goes to the Animals sure it’s much. Many other local Humain Societies that 85% plus really goes for help. I would never donate to a charity like this!

  3. Lloyd Dodson
    Dec 27 2017


  4. Matthew Oflaherty
    Dec 31 2017

    Is there any places to donate for animals in the same situation where the money actually goes to the animals?

  5. Madi V
    Jan 1 2018

    I wish more and more people are aware of this abuse of people’s kindness… It’s a shame that these people collect funds in the name of animals.. Why would a charity organization pay a CEO $600,000?

  6. Jan 2 2018

    Yes,there are several sanctuaries around the country including Farm Sanctuary and Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. You can also google sanctuaries in your geographic area and then look at the 990’s. Note that donations to sanctuaries are generally used for vets, staff, meds, food, and the property that houses them.

  7. Jean Starnes
    Jan 6 2018

    I have never given to the ASPCA because I’ve always heard for every one dollar given , only one cent is spent on the animals. While this is not true, I find it disgraceful that less than 21 % is spent on the actual REASON FOR THE ASPCA- the innocent, helpless animals! Greedy people and lack of restraint of how the contributions should spent is the reason I contribute to my local SPCA.

  8. Pennie Molls
    Jan 25 2018

    I will not donate again. You don’t need to pay $600,000. There must be qualified people that would do it for much less!

  9. Carmen
    Feb 7 2018

    I was making out my yearly donations. ASPCA is one. I decided to look you up on line. You can imagine my disappointment when I saw the huge insentives that were paid and what small percentage actually goes to the animals.
    I will not be donating again.
    You should be ashamed of yourself🐷

  10. Debra & Nick
    Feb 14 2018

    The rooster of these employees reads like a pro sports team. One commenter wrote that they should be ashamed of themselves. I doubt it. Cold hearted personal who use television to pull heart strings is a crime..I pray God bless the animals harmed by their deception., they are just as guilty as the dog fighters and puppy mill operators.

  11. scott kimmel
    Feb 19 2018

    i have never seen the amount of money being paid to a so called non profit agency. I thought the money was for the well being of the animals.The ceo, mathew bershadlker making over $500,000 is repulsive. elizabeth estroff making close to 330,000. todd hendricks the same. Not to mention the high amount of money to other paid employees and severance packages of other multiple former employees. A well established veterinarian who dedicated his life on helping people and their pets (family members) do not come close to making your salary. You prey on the people to donate and help the abused and neglected animals but more than 99.99% goes to salaries and understandably some expenses. Its sad knowing that you can sleep knowing that only less than a quarter on 1% even goes to the cause.

  12. Feb 19 2018

    Scott Kimmel: The salaries are high but to be fair, more than a quarter of 1% goes to the cause. Your point that more revenue should go to the cause is spot on.

  13. Feb 20 2018

    their always saying they need 3000 new donors every few weeks or so. they try to make you feel bad by showing the animals in bad conditions but are they staged? they offer you a t-shirt for donating but why don’t they use the money to help the animals instead of giving you a free gift. i love animals and have given homes to strays that have no home and give them a nice home full of love. shame on those greedy ceo’s.

  14. H H
    Mar 12 2018

    I have seen those T V ads for a long time …I finally decided to consider donating . I already do a monthly check of $ 200 to the local animal shelter but thought this ASPCA deserved some help also . Glad I saw this website ! No way I will send money to them now .

  15. Do not donate and also check out PETA and HSUS. The 3 which has the most exposure and pull on people’s heartstrings are scam artists.

  16. Linda
    Apr 13 2018

    I will Never send money to you again

  17. E Koppenhaver
    Apr 15 2018

    Appalling. Never again.

  18. Anita Winer
    Apr 15 2018

    Reading this article is very depressing given the funding they receive for REALLY helping abused animals. So who will monitor the ASPCA? We need to speak out against this apparent abuse of top heavy executives taking the share of Money donated for the purpose it reports to do.

  19. Apr 15 2018

    I agree with you. Donors need to speak up to bring about change.

  20. Harry Seebold
    Jun 21 2018

    I just watched one of their commercials and looked up where the donations go. This list is unreal! The people who work for this organization should be in jail for using animals & people’s emotions to line their pockets.
    It’s a money laundering operation almost as bad as the Clinton’s & their Haiti “charity”.
    There is a special place in hell for people who use other people’s generosity, humanity, and guilt to make themselves rich.
    It’s despicable!

  21. Bubba walker
    Jun 26 2018

    I love animals but you won’t be getting my donation. You have done nothing but line your pockets with it. Your bunch should moonlight as a TV preacher

  22. Ann
    Jun 29 2018

    i was thinking of leaving my estate to ASPCA, but not now, so sad, so wasteful, not enough for the animal care.

  23. Jun 30 2018

    Evil pwople collecting money to pay themselves excess monies while doing little to help animals they spend more on themselves than on the animals

  24. Michael Oertel
    Jul 6 2018

    Sad that so little of our monies truly goes to the needy animals. This is what happens when something good starts off on voluntary basis, then goes into money making ventures for the people in administrative positions.
    I will never give again to this organization or any others I cannot find where the money exceeds 15 percent for any admin. Fees.

  25. Donna koopmann
    Jul 6 2018

    Too bad I thought most of my hard earned donations went to care of the animals not super high salaries shame shame shame

  26. Linda Smith
    Jul 12 2018

    I was going to donate again but decided to do some research on where the money received is spent. After seeing so LITTLE goes to the animals I am not. I will not support the large salaries of some employees. The ASPCA should be ashamed! Advertising is misleading. Our money is not really going to the animals but rather someone’s pocket! No more donations from me!!

  27. Hewitt Strong
    Jul 13 2018

    L.M.F.A.O.!!!!!! Where do I send my resume to become a CEO for this place I love the pay I can go to work right now and I have more than the qualifications for it just don’t have to have any kind of worry about ripping people off I guess I think I could figure out how to get that way but I guess I could learn as I go along or have some of those Past Masters teach me LOL

  28. Steve Miller
    Jul 14 2018

    I would never give to these crooks.I always knew their weepy commercials were a scam.If you want to help the animals,go to your local humane society and donate your time or much needed supplies.

  29. Jeannette smith
    Jul 24 2018

    Would anyone like to start a charity to do what they say they do. We could advertise that we don’t pay our CEO 500,000 dollars and that the money is really going to the animals. Drive apace out of business. That would be a good idea.

  30. Allen Whittaker
    Aug 9 2018

    And you want me to contribute to a worthy cause?? While the damn CEO makes over a half million a year? You people are batdhit crazy. The poor animals are suffering while you live the life of luxury. He could donate 400 thousand of his salary and still make good money. Its crooks like you that make people quit giving.

  31. Tracey
    Aug 14 2018

    ASPCA is losing donations because of these crazy salaries… shame on you for not using more of the money for these poor animals instead of greedy CEO’s

  32. Joe George
    Aug 15 2018

    You people get on tv begging for money showing all these sad faces. While y’all asses sit up there gat a big wallets.y’all are all sorry as hell

  33. Kevin Drew
    Aug 19 2018

    Why do CEO and staff need to make so much if someone can’t live comfortably with 75,000 yearly they have priority messed up ….

  34. Sheila Bibler
    Aug 20 2018

    These facts are too hard to even comprehend. And worse yet are the spokespersons who have to be aware of them as well. They disgust me beyond words. What fakes!

    Give to your local shelter in spite of these blatant crooks. God bless these abused animals, for they truly have no voice. And love and care for your own with a double and triple dose of TLC.

  35. Aug 21 2018

    Sheila: Thank you. Your comments and recommendations are spot on.

  36. Kevin J Stolz
    Oct 1 2018

    WOOOOW, Some INSANE Salaries. I was going to start giving again. I’ll give to A No Kill shelter.

  37. don
    Oct 4 2018

    And the animals are still Hungary and in need, while everybody else gets fat on big salaries .

  38. Dori O
    Oct 11 2018

    I had heard that the ASPCA didn’t really care for animals but I wasn’t sure it was accurate. This is an eye opener. I volunteer for and donate to a golden retriever rescue organization and donate to our local Humane Society and San Antonio Pets Alive. There are enough animals in need locally that I prefer to keep it close to home.

  39. Oct 11 2018

    You know, I think they do care but often times these organizations grow and people have their jobs with salaries, benefits, etc. and it becomes bureaucratic and more about growing the organization which costs in terms of buildings, support, benefits, etc. I think you are spot on about keeping it local and I tell people this all the time. Giving local, especially to a small organization that struggles to use every dollar wisely means donor dollars go further.

  40. Bonnie S. Thrasher-Thomas
    Oct 12 2018

    It is disgusting what you so called animal lovers and guardians take away from the animals in your filthy, greedy, dispicable, worthless lives. There is no way any of you deserve the salaries that you have given yourselves. The feet on the ground workers are the only ones that deserve a decent salary which you greedy jerks in charge make sure they don’t get. I’m totally disgusted with all of you in upper management,! Vile human beings you are and I hope Karma gets you soon!!!! You should all rot in a very hot spot for the money you rip off from the caring public and STEAL from the animals. DISGUSTING

  41. Mickey Stampes
    Nov 1 2018

    I know without a doubt that Henry Bergh would not have agreed with the amount of money that his organization is pocketing instead of putting towards the animals that desperately need it. It is such a disappointment for those of us who want to feel like we can contribute towards a cause that we passionate about. Finding out that our money is going towards a $500,000 salary instead of to the livestock that are being slaughtered and the dogs who are sleeping on the street. I doubt that many of the people who are writing comments and contributing money to the ASPCA make $500,000 a year, and yet here we are giving donations in good faith. Shame on you and the saying “Karma is a bitch” comes to mind. Maybe in your next life you come back as one of the poor animals that you’re cheating.

  42. Steve Spear
    Nov 7 2018

    I made a one-time donation of $25 last year to the ASPCA. My receipt said that it would be monthly. When I called to have the mistake corrected, I was told that the problem was fixed. It was not. Thinking that the ASPCA was a good organization, I allowed the monthly contributions to continue. But I never eceived a receipt for any of these additional donations, and when I cancelled my credit card the ASPCA did not contact me to let me know the next monthly contribution did not go through (as any legitimate organization would do). The moral,of the story? Do not donate to the ASPCA.

  43. Teresa
    Nov 17 2018

    I too am shocked and disappointed with how the ASPCA handles its organization and the funding it receives. Believe me I understand that a high salary and title are impressive; however, when these ego centric facts are more important than the organization’s mission statement, philosophy, and reasons for operation, then truly all you’ve got is the exact definition of greed. Greed at the expense of animal safety …. UNACCEPTABLE!

  44. Scott
    Nov 28 2018

    I use to give every month until I found out what they really do wit almost all the money. Never again will I give money to the ASPCA!

  45. Jan Johnson
    Nov 29 2018

    Not surprised at all, just really disappointed. All of the poor animals that so desperately need the simple basics of food and shelter, are being exploited by those who only want to make a $.
    So very sad.

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