There has been some controversy the last couple days surrounding the “Sick Kids Foundation”, a charity organization dedicated to supporting the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. The Toronto Star reported today that some of the canvassers who were raising money for the hospital foundation were based on pure commission, which can lead to shady sales tactics.
The other controversy that I find unbelievable is the salary of the top management of the Sick Kids Foundation. The President Michael O’Mahoney receives an annual salary of $612,000 a year, and his three Vice Presidents each earn $200,000 per year. Keep in mind that the Sick Kids Foundation merely raises money for the hospital; they don’t do anything else. Last year the foundation raised $73 million and they are projecting to earn $100 million this year. Since O’Mahoney took over the organization, fundraising costs have increased to 32 cents for every dollar, up from 23 cents per dollar according to the Toronto Star article.
O’Mahoney is an American who had experience in fundraising and was hired to help increase revenue. The Toronto Star article quotes Patsy Anderson, the foundation’s chair saying “We are paying him what we have to pay to have him here. He is a very, very good leader and he stretches and inspires (employees).”
To me, if you’re running a charity, you should be conscious about how much money you pay yourself; otherwise it defeats the purpose. I would never donate to a charity if I don’t think the President is “charitable”. O’Mahoney defends himself by saying his salary is comparable to that of American charities. He refers to the Los Angeles Children’s Foundation which pays its CEO $875,000 US. But even this is a bad comparison because the Los Angeles Children’s Foundation generates $457 Million in revenue, which is more than 6 times as much as O’Mahoney’s $72 Million in revenue. If anything, his salary should be one-sixth of 875,000 which would equate to approximately just under $146,000/year.
O’Mahoney earns more than the CEO of the Sick Kids Hospital Mary Jo Haddad who earns $565,374.20 per year with annual taxable benefits of $31,580. And has just a bit more responsibility on her plate, running an entire world-class hospital and saving children’s lives, while O’Mahoney’s responsibility is to merely raise money for the hospital.
CEO salaries have spiralled out of control in the US and in some Canadian companies as well. It has become ridiculous how much these executives are making, even when they are doing a poor job. I think O’Mahoney’s salary reflects this growing trend of overpaid executives. I think if O’Mahoney wants to make the big bucks he should be running a private company and not a charitable organization.