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January 16, 2023


Executive Compensation at AARP (2020)

by Anne Paddock

AARP – the American Association of Retired Persons – is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization who offers a broad mission:  “to empower people to choose how they live as they age” but more specifically focuses on the issues and benefits of those 50 years and older.  With an estimated 38 million members who pay $9-$16 annually, AARP is one of the largest non-profit member-based organizations in the country.

Based in Washington, DC, AARP has 11 voting members in its governing body, 10 of whom are independent although the Form 990 (2020) lists 14,  9 of whom are female while 5 are male.

In 2020, AARP reported total revenue of $1.65 billion (compared to $1.75 billion in 2019 and $1.8 billion in 2018) with the largest sources of revenue from royalties ($1 billion), memberships dues ($301 million), investment income and gains ($164 million), and publication advertising revenue ($120 million), which means AARP is primarily engaged in obtaining revenue from royalties through the use of their name with the sale of insurance policies and other products sold to members.

Expenses totaled $1.6 billion with the largest expense reported to be compensation. 1,976 employees received  $372 million (or an average of $188,000).  1,261 (or about 64% of employees) received more than $100,000 in compensation.  The most highly compensated employees were reported to be:

  • $1,473,672:  Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO
  • $  815,171:  Nancy A LeaMond, EVP, Advocacy and Engagement
  • $  801,331:  Scott Frisch, EVP and COO
  • $  728,611:  Martha Boudreau, EVP and Chief, Communications and Marketing
  • $  600,636:  Kevin Donnellan, EVP and Chief of Staff
  • $  570,640:  David Morales, EVP and General Counsel
  • $  556,294:  Debra Whitman, EVP and Public Policy Officer
  • $  540,119:  Myrna Blyth, SVP and Editorial Director
  • $  538,460:  Kristin Dillon, SVP, States and Community Engagement
  • $  540,530:  Nancy Smith, EVP and Corporate Secretary
  • $  517,719:  Kevin B Higgins, VP, ITS
  • $  501,882:  Sami Hassanyeh, SVP, Digital Strategy and Membership
  • $  501,832:  Jean Cheng Setzfand, SVP, Programs
  • $  501,695:  John Hishta, SVP, Campaigns

The 14 most highly compensated employees received $9 million in compensation, which equates to an average of $650,000.  The most highly compensated employee was Jo Ann Jenkins who received $1.5 million in 2020 and nearly $8 million over the past 6 years:

  • 2020:  $1.5 million
  • 2019:  $1.4 million
  • 2018:  $1.3 million
  • 2017:  $1.4 million
  • 2016:  $1.1 million
  • 2015:  $1.0 million

AARP paid for first class or charter travel, travel for companions, gross up payments or made tax indemnification.  Specifically, AARP paid for first class travel for AARP board members, officers, and key employees when business class accommodations were not available for flights exceeding 5 hours (not hard to do with a connection), or when there is late night arrival, or medical reasons.  The CEO, President, and Board Chair were allowed to fly first class or business class on flights exceeding 90 minutes.

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

  • $78 million:  Mediacom Worldwide, of NY, NY for media
  • $49 million:  LSC Communications, of Chicago, IL for digital print services
  • $49 million:  RR Donnelly, of Chicago, IL for printing services
  • $28 million:  GMMB, Inc, of Washington, DC for communications
  • $26 million:  Facebook of Menlo Park, CA for services

At year-end, AARP reported net assets of $1.6 billion compared to $1.5 billion at the beginning of the year with the growth attributable to unspent revenue and unrealized gains on investments ($135 million) that were partially offset by a change (-$92 million) to adjust for pension and retirement plans.

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

Read more from Non-Profits
1 Comment Post a comment
  1. John Rasmussen
    Mar 9 2023

    The compensation is absolutely absurd. Cut all compensation by 20% and the CEO’s compensation by 33%. Anyone can manage this racket. The business model is simple: sell the membership mailing list

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