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July 18, 2022

Executive Compensation at the National Urban League (2020)

by Anne Paddock

The National Urban League (NUL) is a nonpartisan civil rights organization that advocates on behalf of African Americans for economic and social injustice and against racial discrimination. A non-profit, tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) headquartered in New York but with an office in Washington, DC, NUL has 90 affiliates serving 300 communities in 36 states and the District of Columbia.

There are 42 voting members (trustees) of the governing body, 41 of whom are independent.  The Form 990 (2020) lists 47 trustees (due to timing differences, 35 (75%) of whom are male; 12 (25%) of whom are female.

Key facts about NUL include:

The NUL has raised about $50 million annually for years with about $20 million coming from government grants.  But, things changed in 2020 when the NUL recognized $251 million in revenue, most of which came  from contributions, gifts, and grants.  This was a windfall for NUL, which appears to coincide with the Black Lives Matter movement and the George Floyd protests and support, shoring up net assets which totaled $240 million at year-end (compared to $43 million at the beginning of the year).

Expenses totaled $52 million with the two largest expenses being grants ($21 million) and compensation ($13 million).

108 employees received $13 million in compensation which equates to an average compensation of $124,000. However, only 36 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation with the most 6 highly compensated employees listed below:

  • $1,192,775:  Marc H Morial, President and CEO
  • $  315,757:  Dennis Serrette, SVP,Development
  • $  305,805:  Wanda Jackson, SVP, Talent Management
  • $  280,474:  Herman Lessard, SVP, Affiliate Services
  • $  281,334:  Harold Smith, SVP, Education and Youth Development
  • $  267,343:  Nicolaine Lazarre, SVP, General Counsel

The above 6 employees received nearly $3 million, which equates to an average compensation of $500,000.  However, only one employee received more than $500,000 and that was the President and CE, Marc H Morial who received nearly $1.2 million in compensation. Over the past five (5) years, Marc H Morial received more than $5 million in compensation:

  • $1,192,775:  2020
  • $  961,141:  2019
  • $1,177,156:  2018
  • $1,091,806:  2017
  • $  900,187:  2016

4 out of the 6 (67%) most highly compensated employees are male while 2 (33%) are female.

NUL paid for first class or charter travel and companion travel. The President and CEO’s spouse traveled first class for any of the league’s out of town events. How can flying first class ever be justified for a tax-exempt, non-profit?

14 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 5 most highly compensated listed below:

  • $495,000:  Community Counseling Service Co. LLC of Philadelphia, PA for fundraising services
  • $250,000:  The Nucleus Group, of Lithonia, GA for media planning and buying services
  • $230,972:  Patterson, Belknap, Webb, and Tyler, of New York, NY for legal services
  • $186,425:  Mitchell and Titus, of New York, NY for auditing services
  • $171,818:  Collaborative Promo Solutions, of Bethesda, MD for promotional services

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

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