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April 9, 2022

Executive Compensation at Disabled American Veterans (DAV) 2020

by Anne Paddock

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization is a 501 (c) (4) – a social welfare organization – that was created by Congress in 1920 to assist disabled military veterans and their families.  Based in Cold Spring, Kentucky, DAV provides services nationwide to disabled veterans through staff, national service offices and more than 1,200 local chapters.

There are 7 voting members (directors) on the governing body, 6 of whom are independent.  All of the directors are male.

With more than a million members (who pay $0-$300 for a lifetime of assistance and benefits), DAV is the largest disabled veteran assistance organization in the country. In 2020, DAV reported total revenue of $154 million although only $9 million (about 6% of revenue) came from membership fees. Expenses totaled $131 million (not including $2 million in depreciation) in 2020 with the largest expense reported to be compensation ($54 million or 35% of revenue).

654 employees received $54 million in compensation which equates to an average compensation of $83,000 in 2020. 56 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 8 most highly compensated reported to be:

  • $603,396:  J Marc Burgress, National Adjutant, CEO, Secretary
  • $546,689:  Edward R Reese, Executive Director, National HQ
  • $506,545:  Barry A Jesinoski, Executive Director, National LHQ
  • $430,572:  Susan Loth, Sr Chief Development Officer
  • $413,538:  Anita Blum, Comptroller
  • $358,880:  Brian Cowart, Chief Development Officer
  • $306,763:  James Marszalek, National Service Director
  • $295,037:  Christopher Clay, General Counsel

The 8 most highly compensated employees received $3.4 million in compensation.  6 of the 8 (75%) most highly compensated employees are male while 2 of the 8 (25%) are female.

DAV paid for first class and travel for companions.   See the Form 990, Schedule J, Part III, Supplemental Information for detail on these expenses.

During their one-year non-successive term, DAV pays the National Commander an “annual expense allowance” in a amount approved by the Board. In 2020, DAV paid Stephen Whitehead, the National Commander $225,000.  

39 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation. The five most highly compensated were reported to be:

  • $2,240,074:  Crosby Marketing Communications, of Annapolis, MD for “professional”
  • $  893,332:  Mindset Direct LLC, of Reston, VA for “professional”
  • $  781,896:  Champlin Architecture, of Cincinnati, OH for “professional”
  • $  734,577:  Creative Direct Response, of Bowie, MD for “professional”
  • $  444,957:  Chisholm Chisholm Kirkpatrick, LTD, of Providence, RI for “professional”

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

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