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January 20, 2023

Executive Compensation at AARP (2021)

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 2021, AARP reported total revenue of $2 billion (compared to $1.65 billion in 2020, $1.75 billion in 2019 and $1.8 billion in 2018) with the largest sources of revenue from royalties ($1.1 billion), memberships dues ($296 million), investment income and gains ($425 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. 2,023 employees received  $383 million (or an average of $189,000).  1,307 (or about 65% of employees) received more than $100,000 in compensation.  The most highly compensated employees were reported to be:

  • $2,708,809:  Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO
  • $  838,248:  Nancy A LeaMond, EVP, Advocacy and Engagement
  • $  847,947:  Scott Frisch, EVP and COO
  • $  771,647:  Martha Boudreau, EVP and Chief, Communications and Marketing
  • $  628,886:  Kevin Donnellan, EVP and Chief of Staff
  • $  595,637:  David Morales, EVP and General Counsel
  • $  590,738:  Debra Whitman, EVP and Public Policy Officer
  • $  573,017:  Myrna Blyth, SVP and Editorial Director
  • $  565,886:  Nancy Smith, EVP and Corporate Secretary
  • $  561,404:  Kristin Dillon, SVP, States and Community Engagement
  • $  525,190:  Sami Hassanyeh, SVP, Digital Strategy and Membership
  • $  523,216:  John Hishta, SVP, Campaigns
  • $  507,548:  Edna Kane-Williams, EVP and Chief Diversity Officer
  • $  503,958:  William Sweeny, SVP, Gov’t Affairs
  • $  492,837:  Karen Mercer, SVP and Treasurer

The 15 most highly compensated employees received $11 million in compensation, which equates to an average of $750,000.  The most highly compensated employee was Jo Ann Jenkins who received $2.7 million in 2021 and nearly $11 million over the past 7 years:

  • 2021:  $2.7 million
  • 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.

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

  • $87 million:  Mediacom Worldwide, of NY, NY for media
  • $48 million:  LSC Communications, of Chicago, IL for digital print services
  • $47 million:  RR Donnelly, of Chicago, IL for printing services
  • $43 million:  GMMB, Inc, of Washington, DC for communications
  • $32 million:  Facebook of Menlo Park, CA for services

At year-end, AARP reported net assets of $2.2 billion compared to $1.6 billion at the beginning of the year with the growth attributable to unspent revenue ($357 million) and unrealized gains on investments ($103 million), and changes in assets ($159 million) to adjust for pension and retirement plans.

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

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