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March 4, 2022

How Revenue Is Spent at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) (2020)

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.

There are 17 members (directors) of the governing body of the ADL, 16 of whom are independent. The most recent Form 990 (2020) lists 12 directors, 8 (67%) of whom are male; 4 (33%) of whom are female (note: the Form 990 does not report gender; determinations were made based on name and google searches).

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

In 2020, ADL reported total revenue of $91 million (compared to $92 million in 2019), of which $12 million came from the foundation. The remaining revenue primarily came from contributions, gifts, and grants. Expenses for ADL totaled $70 million. Net assets were $16 million (compared to $4 million at the beginning of the year) because the organization spent less than they raised,, even after a $9 million adjustment to net assets (explained as a book-tax difference)

The Foundation reported total revenue of $36 million (compared to $23 million in 2019 and $18 million in 2018), of which $12 million was granted to ADL (note: the foundation has consistently granted $12 million annually to the ADL). Most revenue came from contributions, gifts, and grants. Expenses totaled $18 million with $6 million spent primarily on compensation for the employees and office-related expenses.

The Foundation started the year with $113 million in net assets but ended the year with $136 million because they spent less than they raised and because of net unrealized gains on investments.  Of the 41 trustees listed on the Form 990, 33 (80%) are male while 8 (20%) are female.

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 60% of total revenue (over the past six years, the Foundation has given 33%-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, and the remainder added to the general fund.

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 (with the remainder – $21 million or 23% added to the general fund):

  • $47 million (52% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $12 million (13% of revenue):  Office-Related Expenses
  • $ 9 million (10% of revenue):  Other Expenses (no detail provided)
  • $ 1 million (1% of revenue):  Travel and Conferences
  • $ 1 million (1% of revenue):  Fees for Services

As shown above, compensation was the highest expense for the ADL. 439 employees were compensated $47 million, which equates to an average compensation of $107,000 (Note:  The Foundation also spent nearly $4 million on compensation on the employees for ADL – the Foundation reports having 0 employees – which means $51 million in compensation was received by the 439 employees, or an average of $116,000).

139 employees (32%) 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 $948,380 (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 $12 million.  $6 million in other expenses are not detailed.  The $1 million in travel and conference fees includes first class or charter travel and travel for companions.  Fees for Services on the Form 990, Statement IX, Functional Expenses totals $600,000 (rounded to $1 million above) yet the Form 990, Part VII reports 10 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 5 most highly compensated reported to have received $1 million so there appears to be an inconsistency.

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

$100:  Revenue

-$ 52:  Compensation

-$ 13:  Office-Related Expenses

-$ 10:  Other Expenses

-$  1:  Travel and Conferences

-$  1:  Fees for Services

-$ 77:  Total Expenses

$  23:  Revenue Remaining:  To General Fund

As illustrated above, ADL spent $77 out of every $100 in revenue.  $65 out of every $100 in revenue was spent on compensation and office-related expenses.  An additional $12 was spent on other expenses, travel, conferences, and fees.  $23 out of every $100  in revenue received – or a total of $21 million – was added to the general fund.

It is important to point out ADL received a $7.4 million loan for the paycheck protection program to pay for “payroll, rent and utilities (even though ADL raised $91 million in 2020 and spent $70 million, leaving $21 million to be added to the general fund).  In May, 2021, ADL applied for forgiveness of the loan and was grated forgiveness in July, 2021.  Why did a tax-exempt non-profit organization that spent $21 million less than they raised AND has $16 million in net assets receive $7.4 million from the government via a loan they didn’t need and then have it forgiven?

To read the IRS Form 990 (2020) for ADL, click here.

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