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September 1, 2020

Executive Compensation at the ADL (2018)

by Anne Paddock

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 established in 1913 in the District of Columbia to defend “democratic ideals and eliminate anti-Semitism and bigotry in the United States and around the world, while providing knowledgeable leadership on a national level for the American Jewish community.”

Based in New York City, the ADL has staff in 26 offices nationwide. It is important to point out the ADL really consists of two entities:  the ADL and the Anti-Defamation League Foundation (Foundation) – both of whom operate out of the same office in New York City.  The Foundation helps support the mission of the ADL by providing funds and by managing the endowment and assets held by the Foundation. 

Key information about ADL and the Foundation are summarized as follows:

In 2018, ADL reported total revenue of $75 million, of which $12 million came from the foundation. The remaining revenue primarily came from contributions, gifts, and grants. Expenses for ADL totaled $71 million (not including $1.5 million in depreciation). Net assets were a negative $3.5 million at year-end (the foundation holds investments). Of the 16 directors, 12 (67%) are male while 4 (33%) are female.

The Foundation reported total revenue of $18 million in 2018, of which $12 million was given to ADL. Most revenue came from contributions, gifts, and grants. Expenses totaled $19 million with $7 million spent primarily on compensation for the employees and office-related expenses.  The foundation started the year with $106 million in net assets but ended the year with $96 million because of net unrealized losses on investments.  Of the 40 trustees, 33 (83%) are male while 7 (17%) are female.

For both organizations, the largest expense is compensation for their employees, many of whom are shared.

The ADL has 485 employees (about 100 more than 2 years prior in 2016) who were compensated $41 million in 2018 (an average compensation of $85,000), according to the Form 990 submitted to the IRS. However, it is important to note the Foundation had $4 million in compensation expenses (they also reported having the same 485 employees) so total compensation appears to be $45 million for the 485 employees, which makes the average compensation $93,000.

90 employees received more than $100,000 in total compensation with the 16 most highly compensated employees listed below:

  • $815,228:  Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO/National Director ($407,613 from the Foundation)
  • $456,712:  Fred Bloch, SVP Growth ($182,684 from the Foundation)
  • $371,963:  Brittan K Heller, Director Technology and Society
  • $320,182:  Linda Zisk, Senior Director ($160,090 from the Foundation)
  • $306,754:  Michael A Kellman, CFO thru 4/18; Sr Adv from 4/18 ($125,100 from the Foundation)
  • $304,491:  Evan Bernstein, Regional Director
  • $290,536:  Rafael Portnoy, SVP Technology ($72,634 from the Foundation)
  • $288,156:  Betsaida Alcantara, VP Communications and Digital ($35,520 from the Foundation)
  • $287,160:  Steven Carl Sheinberg, Gen Counsel and SVP Privacy ($143,579 from the Foundation)
  • $276,285:  David S Waren, VP Reg Ops and Adv
  • $269,401:  Emily D Bromberg, Chief of Staff ($40,410 from the Foundation)
  • $262,694:  Thomas W Ruderman, SVP Talent and Knowledge
  • $259,454:  George Selim, SVP Programs
  • $254,475:  Abraham H Foxman, National Director Emeritus ($86,600 from the Foundation)
  • $253,290:  Amy A Blumkin, VP Brand and Marketing ($63,322 from the Foundation)
  • $186,780:  Clifford Schechter, ADL Internal Consultant (was Senior Advisor to the CEO)

As illustrated above, 11 of the 16 (69%) most highly compensated employees are male, while 5 (31%) are female. The Form 990 reports that certain payments were made to some employees listed above (appears to be the former CFO,Michael Kellman and Clifford Schechter who was the Senior Advisor to the CEO) pursuant to separation agreements, which are confidential.

The IRS Form 990 also reports the following information:

  • The ADL and the Foundation paid for first class or charter travel.
  • The ADLand the Foundation paid for travel for companions.
  • In 2012, ADL and the Foundation finalized a supplemental executive retirement plan (SERP) benefit for Abraham H Foxman.  This retirement benefit is paid out over time. $81,275 was paid during the year ending December 31, 2018 and the remaining benefit is included i the long-term pension obligations on ADL’s balance sheet. It is also important to note ADL has a $24 million liability for long term pension obligations on its balance sheet, which is one of the reasons ADL is in a negative net asset position (-$3 million).

46 independent contractors of ADL received more than $100,000 in compensation. The five most highly compensated were:

  • $772,418:  New York Gold Shield of Brooklyn, NY for security
  • $770,000:  Purpose Campaign LLC of Manhattan, NY for advocacy
  • $484,747:  Starfish Company of Manhattan, NY for branding
  • $420,638:  606 Cleaning Services of Manhattan, NY for maintenance
  • $359,282:  Tremont Construction of Boston, MA for maintenance


The ADL and the Foundation are two separate non-profit organizations that are related (ADL is the sole member of the Foundation) and based in New York City at the same address.  Although the Foundation helps support ADL by providing revenue, the Foundation is also focused on managing the $100 million (approximately) in assets.

The ADL has a $24 million liability for long term pension obligations on its balance sheet, which is one of the reasons ADL is in a negative net asset position (-$3 million). This could be eliminated if ADL reduced its operating expenses in the future or obtained additional funds from the Foundation.

Approximately 500 people are employed at the ADL and Foundation (both entities report having 485 employees but they appear to share employees.  Total compensation for these 485 employees was $45 million, which equates to an average compensation of $93,000.  The most highly compensated employee is the President and CEO of ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt who received $815,228 in compensation.

That nearly 70% or more of the most highly compensated employees at both organizations are male is worth noting, although this is an improvement since 2016, when 80% of the most highly compensated employees were male. In addition, both organizations paid for first class or charter travel and travel for companions which is often inconsistent with how revenue should be spent at a non-profit.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2018) for ADL, click here.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2018) for the Foundation, click here.

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