Worldwide, there’s a growth trend among non-profit organizations. Most are focused on the environment, human rights, social services or education, but the nonprofit sector is highly diverse. Many people associate non-profits with charitable organizations and even though charities do make up a visible aspect of the sector, there are many other types of nonprofit organization.

By definition, organizations in the non-profit sector have a purpose that is something other than making a profit – which is to achieve a goal or a mission. A large number of these organizations use their revenues and distribute it to the organization’s shareholders as compensation. Sometimes, the compensations are so high it might seem hard to justify them.

On the other side, strong leadership is very important for a non-profit and it can greatly affect the number of people in need that can be addressed by the non-profit, so many try to defend the non-profit chairman’s salaries. Below we bring you the list of the highest-paid people in the non-profit sector: 

1. David Swensen


David Swensen is the chief investment officer for Yale University. David has received $4.3 million a year in compensation according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy and the Forbes magazine. Mr. Swensen is responsible for managing and investing the Yale University’s endowment assets and investment funds, which total $23.9 billion.

2. David Silvers 


Dr. David Silvers, a Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Columbia University, earns more than $3.7 million a year, putting him almost at the top of our list of highest-paid employees of nonprofits nationwide.

3. Laurance Hoagland Jr.


Laurance Hoagland Jr. is the Chief Investment Officer of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation with a salary of $2.5 million. The Hewlett Foundation has multiple goals: advancing education, reducing global poverty, limiting the risk of climate change, improving reproductive health rights and many others. 

4. John Seffrin 


John Seffrin earned $2.1 million as the former CEO of the American Cancer Society. John is also serving at the White House on the public health advisory group. The American Cancer Society is the world’s largest voluntary health organization fighting cancer.

5. Roxanne Spillett


According to Huffington Post, Roxanne Spillet, president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, earns $1.8 million at an organization with expenses exceeding $130 million. Boys & Girls Clubs of America is a US-based organization of local chapters which provide after-school programs for young people.

6. Emily K. Rafferty


Emily Rafferty, president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, earns nearly $1.5 million according to CNN Money. The Met was founded in 1870 to encourage the study and application of fine arts. 

7. David Mobbs


The highest paid chief executive of a non-profit in the United Kingdom was David Mobbs of Nuffield Health who earned around $982,000 according to Civil Society. Nuffield Health is the largest non-profit healthcare provider in the United Kingdom.