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October 30, 2022


Executive Compensation at Disabled American Veterans (DAV) 2021

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.

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 2021, DAV reported total revenue of $171 million, most of which came from contributions.  Expenses totaled  $138 million (not including $2 million in depreciation) in 2021 with the two largest expenses reported to be compensation ($53 million) and office-related expenses ($53 million).

661 employees received $53 million in compensation which equates to an average compensation of  $80,000 in 2021 (compared to 654 employees who received an average compensation of $83,000 in 2020).  64 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation with the most highly compensated employees reported be:

  • $591,176:  J Marc Burgess, National Adjutant, CEO, and Secretary
  • $575,733:  Edward R Reese,  Executive Director, National Headquarters
  • $522,452:  Barry A Jesinoski, Executive Director, National Headquarters
  • $422,185:  Anita Blum, Comptroller
  • $359,903:  Peter Dickinson, Senior Executive Advisor
  • $318,659:  Brian Cowart, Sr Chief Development Officer
  • $310,483:  James Marszałek, National Service Director
  • $293,791:  Daniel Clare, Chief Communications and Outreach

As illustrated above, the 8 most highly compensated employees received $3.4 million in compensation with the most highly compensated employee reported to be J Marc Burgess, who received $591,176 in 2021 (compared to $603,396 in 2020 and $585,906 in 2019).

DAV reported paying for first class or charter travel, travel for companions, and providing discretionary spending accounts (See the Form 990, Schedule J, Part III, Supplemental Information for more detail).

In 2021, Steven Whitehead, the National Commander received $225,000 as a national expense allowance for lodging, meals, and other expenses.

48 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 5 most highly compensated reported to be:

  • $1,983,452:  Crosby Marketing Communications, of Annapolis, Maryland
  • $  986,104:  Creative Direct Response, of Lanham, Maryland 
  • $  769,852:  Chisholm Chisholm and Kilpatrick, of Providence, Rhode Island
  • $  738,430:  Direct Donor Television, of Lanham, Maryland
  • $  539,900:  Fuse Fundraising Group, of Reston, Virginia

All of the above were compensated for “professional” services, most of which appear to be related to fundraising.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2021), click here.

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Y
    Feb 25 2023

    I will never donate to this organization with such a large compensation to its upper management.
    After many years of donating to this organization I decided I needed an old pair of shoes for a Halloween mannequin. I found a very old pair with $16 price. I asked since they were so old would they take way less. No was the answer. So I never donated again.

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