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September 22, 2017


Executive Salaries at the American Heart Association

by Anne Paddock

The American Heart Association (AHA) is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) that primarily relies on public and government funds for funding and is therefore required to submit an IRS Form 990 – the tax return that provides details about the organization including how much revenue was raised and spent, the amount the organization has in net fund assets, and the compensation packages of the executives.

In 2015 (which reflects the year beginning July 1, 2015 and ending June 30, 2016), the AHA reports the organization raised $830 million, most of which came from contributions, gifts, grants, and sales of inventory.  Expenses totaled $800 million (not including depreciation) so the organization was able to save the unspent revenue thereby increasing the net fund balance to $889 million at year-end.

The AHA reported having 4,378 employees of which 445 received more than $100,000 in total compensation. $337.7 million (or 41% of revenue) was reported as total compensation expense.

The most highly compensated 13  employees were:

$1,912,542:  Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer

$  669,346:  Rose Marie Robertson, Chief Science and Medical Officer

$  618,432:  Sunder Joshi, , Chief Administrative Officer

$  617,892:  Kathleen Rogers, EVP Affiliate

$  610,230:  Midge Epstein, EVP Affiliate

$  602,572:  Meighan Girgus, Chief Marketing and Programs Officer

$  596,980:  Leslie Upton, Chief Operating Officer

$  586,685:  David Markiewicz, EVP Affiliate

$  564,642:  Kevin Harker, EVP Affiliate

$  501,254:  John J Meiners, Chief of Mission Aligned Businesses

$  472,535:  Nicole Sapio, EVP Affiliate

$  362,809:  Lynne Darrouzet, EVP Corporate Secretary, General Counsel

$  327,455:  Cynthia Roberts, Chief Financial Officer

As listed above, $8.5 million was paid to 13 staff members.  

The IRS Form 990 (2015) also reports the following:

A membership to a local fitness center is provided to senior management members Nancy Brown, Sunder Joshi, John Meiners, Meghan Girgus, and Leslie Upton. These benefits are treated as taxable income.

A non-qualified retirement restoration plan is provided to certain members of senior management (while other employees of the AHA are eligible to participate in the qualified retirement plan). Because the qualified retirement plan is capped, the senior management are allowed to make contributions based on the amount the participant would have been allowed to receive if the qualified plan was not capped. Midge Epstein received $21,543 and Rose Marie Robertson received $24,608.

Senior management participates in an incentive plan where members are awarded a portion of their salary (up to 70%) if goals are reached. The goals are unspecified but appear to be related to reaching fundraising goals and not a reduction in heart disease (note:  heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States). In 2016, the following amounts “will be paid in 2016:” $367,201 to Nancy Brown, $43,575 to Sunder Joshi, $47250 to Rose Marie Robertson, $41,489 to Leslie Upton, and $42,840 to Meighan Girgus.

The Board of AHA has a retention agreement with Nancy Brown “to allow for leadership stability, a satisfactory degree of succession planning, and in recognition of external market pressures for executive talent.” In 2015, a payment of $640,000 was provided to Nancy Brown and is reflected in her total compensation. A separate amount: $569,523 in compensation was reported as deferred on a prior 990.

In summary, the AHA raised more than $800 million last year and has almost $900 million in net fund assets; compensated their top chief executive nearly $2 million a year, paid $6.5 million to a dozen other senior staff, provided senior management with a non-qualified retirement restoration plan, provided some senior members with a fitness membership, provided a generous incentive plan, and gave the chief executive a “retention agreement” (although I doubt she is going anywhere with the sweet deal she has).

  1. TJ Hopeman
    Jul 21 2020

    This is not even the half of it. I worked there and the waste of money among the most senior executives is disgusting. They are a “click” and the comment above is correct, none of them leave and no one holds them accountable. They protect each other and their salaries above all else. Not only do they pressure donors (and companies) to continue to raise even more money to support their compensation but then they fire the local fundraising staffs and blame them when quotas are not hit. They have no board oversight so, yes, heart disease stays as the number one killer of Americans because of this kind of incompetency. These numbers do not even account for the highly paid staff at the affiliates listed. On top of the overpaid (and unproductive) EVPs they have a slew of others. The structure s set up to keep cronies in positions and paid VERY WELL. I can not believe 60 minutes or some other news organization has not investigated the waste of donations. SICKENING

  2. Jon Conkey
    Feb 2 2020

    Looked them up today, after being hit up for a hard sell donation at Flying J/Pilot. I wanted to see the salaries of the AHA leaders. Well, 2 million for Nancy Brown, 600k each for a dozen more, ans as many at 1/2 million per year. These creeps are hitting poor American citizens up for donation money to fund their high salaries and so called “charity work” disgusting losers the lot of them.

  3. Kathleen Balkwill
    Jan 10 2020

    Sham sham they are so greedy. Have a hard time giving a dime.

  4. Fred Jacobs
    Jan 19 2019

    Disgusting! That’s no charity, and these people should be ashamed of themselves.

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