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September 30, 2022


Executive Compensation at the Heritage Foundation (2020)

by Anne Paddock

The Heritage Foundation (Heritage) is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization staffed by conservative “experts” who provide advice on political, economic, social, and financial problems in the United States.

Based in Washington, DC, Heritage is governed by 22 voting members (trustees) of the governing body (Board of Trustees), 19 of whom are independent. 17 of the 22 (77%) are male while 5 of the 22 (23%) are female.

Heritage raises about $100 million annually, has historically spent less (usually about 70%) and has consequently accumulated $332 million in net assets by the end of 2020.

In 2020, Heritage raised $119 million (compared to $123 million in 2019 and  $81 million in 2018), most of which came from contributions, gifts, and grants ($66 million) and gains on the sale of assets ($51 million).  Expenses totaled $79 million (including $3 million in depreciation) with the largest expenses reported to be compensation ($40 million), office-related expenses ($19 million), and other fees paid to non-employees ($12 million) which is primarily consulting and professional fundraising fees.

388 received $40 million in compensation which equates to an average compensation of $103,000 (compared to 528 employees who received an average of $73,000 in 2019) so the organization has less employees than in the previous two years but is paying them more.  107 (compared to 106 in 2019 and 91 in 2018) employees received more than $100,000 with the 21 most highly compensated employees reported to be:

  • $995,708:  Kay Coles James, President
  • $517,906:  Kim Holmes, EVP
  • $341,148:  James Carafano, VP, Davis Inst for Nat’l Security
  • $336,987:  Robert Bluey,  VP, Communications
  • $336,158:  Jack Spencer, VP, Institute for Economic Freedom
  • $331,563:  John Malcolm, VP, Inst for Constitutional Gov’t
  • $330,535:  Wesley Dyck,  VP, Personnel
  • $326,882:  Carsten Walter, Sr Director, Dev and Ops
  • $317,961:  Bridgett Wagner, VP, Policy Promotion
  • $316,323:  Becky Norton Dunlop, Ron Reagon Dist Fellow
  • $315,462:  Genevieve Wood, Director, Donor Comm and Spokesperson
  • $315,323:  Miguel M Gonzalez, Senior Fellow
  • $314,318:  John Backiel, VP Finance and Accounting
  • $311,210:  Eric Korsvall, VP, Operations
  • $305,921:  Paul Winfree, Director, Thomas A Roe Institute
  • $300,833:  Andrew McIndoe, VP, Development
  • $297,749:  Angela Sailor, VP, The Feulner Institute
  • $289,573:  Thomas Binion, VP, Government Relations
  • $278,806:  Charmaine Yoest, VP, Institute for Fam, Comm, and Opp
  • $275,506:  Christopher Byrnes, General Counsel and Secretary
  • $192,464:  Edwin J Feulner, Trustee

7 of the 21 (33%) most highly compensated employees are female while 14 of the 21 (67%) are male.

The 21 most highly compensated employees received $7 million in compensation. The most highly compensated employee was Kay Coles James, the President who received nearly $1 million in compensation in 2020, and has received $2.5 million in compensation over the past 3 years:

  • 2020:  $995,708
  • 2019:  $956,394
  • 2018:  $532,265

Heritage paid for first class or charter travel and travel for companions. To read more about this expense, please refer to the Form 990 (2020), Schedule J, Part III Supplemental Information.

42 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 5 highest reported to be:

  • $7.4 million:  Bognet Construction Associates, of Vienna, VA for construction
  • $1.5 million:  Merkle Response Services, of Hagerstown, MD for mailings management
  • $1.4 million: Conrad Direct, of Cresskill, NJ for mailing management
  • $1.0 million:  Next After, of Plano, Texas for mailing management
  • $0.7 million:  Odell Simms and Lynch, of Vienna, VA for consultants on direct mail

As illustrated above, Heritage spent significantly (nearly $5 just above) on direct mailing using outside vendors.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. e oesterreich
    Mar 17 2023

    I agree with comments of Patrick Duncan above. Big salaries for organization always asking for more money from members .Will not support millionaires with my meager retirement income. Remove me from membership
    Edwin Oesterreich-East Leroy MI

  2. Patrick Duncan
    Mar 6 2023

    Please remove me from your mailing list. I’m a disabled Veteran. With those salaries you’re paying. I don’t need to send you my donations. I’ll give to those who need it more. Wow, those salaries are ridiculous for a organization.
    You can cut cost by reducing mailing. I got too much mail. But remove me.
    1689 Park Dr., Benton Harbor, Mo. 49022

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