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August 16, 2020


Executive Compensation at Young Life

by Anne Paddock

Young Life is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) based in Colorado Springs, CO that is engaged in “introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith” through weekly club meetings, small group bible studies, nationwide camping programs, short-term missions, and student exchange programs. Consequently, Young Life is a staff intensive organization with nearly 5,882 employees in 2019.

In 2019, Young Life raised $403 million, most of which came from contributions, gifts, and grants ($337 million) and camping and field ministries ($75 million). Expenses totaled $351 million (not including $20 million in depreciation), with the largest expense being compensation ($230 million).

5,882 employees received $230 million in compensation which equates to an average compensation of $39,100.  127 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 10 most highly compensated employees reported to be:

  • $458,318:  Newton Crenshaw, President and CEO
  • $335,845:  John Wagner, SVP, Global Cities Initiative
  • $257,853:  Joshua Powell, Metro Director I
  • $253,767:  Brent Cunningham, SVP
  • $253,370:  Wiley Scott, SVP
  • $248,699:  John M Caldwell,  EVP, International Ministeries
  • $213,099:  Steve Thompson, COO
  • $190,689: Paul Sherrill, VP/Secretary
  • $171,307:  Dave Briggs, Treasurer 
  • $167,325:  Scott Brill, CFO

The 10 most highly compensated employees received $2.3 million.

The 10 most highly compensated employees are male. Not one female is among the most highly compensated, which is quite hard to believe. The Form 990 does not address why there are no females among the most highly compensated employees.  There are 24 trustees on the board, 19 (79%) of whom are male, while 5 (21%) are female.

Young Life paid for companion travel.  Specifically, travel for companion is available to all staff when needed for ministry or fundraising purposes.

Young Life provided a housing allowance or a residence for personal use. Specifically, ministerial housing allowances are available to all ordained staff performing sacerdotal functions. The CEO, among other qualifying officers and highest compensated employees received a housing allowance during the year. These allowances were treated as a non-taxable benefit, which means the total compensation is higher than listed above.

Young Life paid for health or social clue dues or initiation fees. Specifically, a $250 benefit for a health club is offered as a taxable benefit to all full-time staff.

24 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation. The five highest compensated were:

  • $1.8 million:  William D Tibbitt DBA WD Consulting of Colorado Springs, CO for construction consulting
  • $1.3 million:  Earl Arnold DBA Kingdom Tour and Travel of San Antonio, TX for bus charters
  • $0.6 million:  Sandestin Investments, LLC of Miramar Beach, FL for resort operations
  • $0.5 million:  Lundy Excavating of Bueno Vista, CO for excavating
  • $0.3 million:  Tyler A York DBA as York Brothers Excavation of Bend, OR for excavating

To read the IRS Form 990 (2018 for the year ending September 30, 2019), click here.

1 Comment
  1. viewsfromunderthebus
    Aug 16 2020

    I would love to see an analysis of the percentage of female highly-paid employees in Christian non-profits. My hunch is it’s poor.

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