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February 26, 2020

Where Does $100 to the Americas Society (AS) Go?

by Anne Paddock

The Americas Society is a non-profit tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) headquartered on Park Avenue on the Upper East Side in New York City, NY. Described as an organization dedicated to education, dialogue and debate on economic, social, and political issues that affect the Americas (United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean), the Americas Society appears to be a cultural center.

So what does that really mean? It means the Americas Society organizes exhibitions, readings, interviews, speeches, concerts, performances, reports, and more at its headquarters, which is a building on the National Register of Historical Places. And, AS also publishes REVIEW Magazine (an English language journal of literature from Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean), and Americas Quarterly (a policy journal) with the assistance of Council of Americas, another non-profit, tax-exempt organization, that just happens to be headquartered at the same address.

In 2017, the Americas Society reported total revenue of $15.5 million (more than double of the year before when AS reports total revenue of $6.7 million), most of which came from contributions, gifts, and grants.

Expenses were $6.3 million and can be viewed two ways:  by broad general category (i.e. grants, program services, fundraising, management and general expenses) or by specific line item expense (i.e. compensation, office-related expenses, fees for services, grants, etc). Both are beneficial with the latter approach providing more detail on how revenue was spent.

Expenses by Broad General Category

The $6.3 million in expenses were categorized as follows:

  • $4.2 million (27% of revenue):  Program Services
  • $ .9 million (6% of revenue):  Management and General Expenses
  • $ .7 million (5% of revenue):  Fundraising
  • $ .4 million (3% of revenue):  Grants

Using the above information, every $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100:  Revenue

-$ 27:  Program Services

-$  6:  Management and General Expenses

-$  5:  Fundraising

-$  3:  Grants

-$ 41:  Total Expenses

 $ 59:  Unspent Revenue:  To General Fund

Most notable is the amount of UNSPENT revenue. $59 out of every $100 was not spent. In total dollars, $9 million in revenue was not spent. Added to nearly $4 million in unrealized gains on investments, the net fund assets (or what some people refer to as the endowment) grew from $42 million at the beginning of the year to $55 million at the end of the year. So, if you gave $100, most of that donation went to the endowment.

Expenses by Specific Line Item Category

The $6.3 million in expenses were categorized as follows:

  • $3.2 million (21% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $ .9 million (6% of revenue):  Travel/Conferences/Meetings
  • $ .8 million (5% of revenue):  Office-related Expenses
  • $ .7 million (4% of revenue):  Fees for Services
  • $ .4 million (3% of revenue):  Grants
  • $ .3 million (2% of revenue):  Other Expenses

Compensation is the highest expense for the Americas Society. 106 employees received $3.2 million in compensation with equates to an average compensation of $30,200.  11 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation with the President and CEO, Susan L Segal compensated $508,229. In addition, Susan L Segal received $273,569 from an organization called Council of the Americas (a non-profit tax exempt 501 (c) (6)) – a small organization that raised $8 million in 2017, spent about $8 million and had about $3 million in net fund assets and that operates out of the same office as the Americas Society.  In summation, Susan L Segal received $781,792 in total compensation from these two organizations.

Grants – a grant of nearly $400,000 was provided to a North American entity outside the United States for earthquake relief.

Fees for Services include investment fees ($200,000), legal and accounting ($100,000) and other fees ($400,000) with no detail provided.

Using the above information, every $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100:  Revenue

-$ 21:  Compensation

-$  6:  Travel/Conferences, and Meetings

-$  5:  Office-related Expenses

-$  4:  Fees for Services

-$  2:  Other Expenses

-$ 38: Subtotal Compensation, Travel, Conferences, Office, Fees, and Other Expenses

$ 62:  Remaining Revenue

-$  3:  Grants

$ 59:  Unspent Revenue:  To General Fund

As illustrated above, AS spent $38 out of every $100 to support the organization and $3 out of every $100 for a grant to an organization in North America (no other detail provided).

In summary, the Americas Society operates out of an office on Park Avenue on the Upper East Side in New York City. Also at the same office address is the Council of the Americas, another non-profit.  The President and CEO of the American Society is also the President and CEO of the Council of the Americas and was compensated nearly $800,000 by these two small organizations.

In 2017, the Americas Society raised more than $15 million, spent $6 million to pay compensation and organization expenses, leaving $9 million allocated to the endowment.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2017) for AS, click here.

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