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September 3, 2020

Where Does $100 to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Go?

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. In addition, the organizations share many employees.

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).

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.

So, if you donated $100, how was the revenue spent? It depends if your donation was to the ADL or to the Foundation. If the donation was to the Foundation, then an average of 65% of total revenue (over the past five years, the Foundation has given 38%-85% of the revenue collected to ADL in the form of a grant) was awarded to the ADL with the remaining funds primarily used for compensation and office-related expenses of the foundation.

If your donation was directly to the ADL, then the revenue was primarily spent on on compensation and office-related expenses just for ADL (not the foundation) followed by travel and conferences, fees for services, and other expenses:

  • $41 million (55% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $14 million (19% of revenue):  Office-Related Expenses
  • $ 6 million (8% of revenue):  Other Expenses (no detail provided)
  • $ 5 million (7% of revenue):  Travel and Conferences
  • $ 4 million (5% of revenue):  Fees for Services
  • $ 1 million (1% of revenue):  Advertising and Promotion

As shown above, compensation was the highest expense for the ADL. 485 employees were compensated $41 million, which equates to an average compensation of $85,000.  90 employees (19%) received more than $100,000 in compensation with the most highly compensated employee, Jonathan A Greenblatt, the CEO and National Director receiving total compensation of $815,228 (half from ADL and half from the foundation).

Office-related expenses, primarily occupancy, information technology, and general office expenses, is the second highest expense at $14 million.  $6 million in other expenses are not detailed.  The $5 million in travel and conference fees includes first class or charter travel and travel for companions.  Within Fees for Services are nearly $3 million in fees with no detail provided.

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

$100:  Revenue

-$ 55:  Compensation

-$ 19:  Office-Related Expenses

-$  8:  Other Expenses

-$  7:  Travel and Conferences

-$  5:  Fees for Services

-$  1:  Advertising and Promotion

-$ 95:  Total Expenses

$  5:  Revenue Remaining:  To General Fund (to reduce the negative net assets)

As illustrated above, about $74 out of every $100 in revenue was spent on compensation and office-related expenses.  An additional $21 was spent on other expenses, travel, conferences, fees, and advertising.

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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