Friday, June 28, 2013
Arlington, VA

The Council on Foundations released its 2012 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report, one of most comprehensive compilations of data on U.S. foundations' staff composition and compensation. This is the Council's annual release, and, as in all prior years, the report equips foundation leaders with critical information to attract and develop resourceful and innovative personnel who further enhance philanthropic organizations' ability to advance the common good. 

"The Council on Foundations' mission is to provide the leadership, opportunity, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance, and sustain their ability to advance the common good," said President and CEO Vikki N. Spruill. "This report, which the Council proudly offers to its members, is one of several critical tools we provide that enhances philanthropic organizations' effectiveness by attracting the most talented staff in the nonprofit sector. By helping to ensure our sector's leaders build a strong philanthropic talent pool, Council members can focus more time on serving communities and creating more innovative solutions for challenges, today and in the future.

"The Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report is an annual initiative of the Council conducted in partnership with the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, regional associations, and the Foundation Center," she continued. "The success of this initiative wouldn't be possible without the collaborative partnership with these organizations."

The findings in the report are based on responses to an online survey of 893 grantmakers, which reported salaries for a total of 7,614 full-time employees. The respondents included a diverse array of philanthropic organizations representing a total of $196 billion in assets and $12.1 billion in giving in 2012. Key findings and trends include:

  • A larger share of respondents increased staff salaries in 2012 than expected. The median implemented or planned increase remained 3 percent. Since 2008, median staff salaries have risen 11 percent before inflation.
  • Among the 34 positions the survey tracked, CEOs and program officers accounted for the largest share of reported salaries (11 percent and 10 percent, respectively).
  • Women comprise the majority of staff at grantmakers, filling 76 percent of all staff and 56 percent of CEO positions. Minorities comprised 27 percent of all reported full-time staff.
  • Ninety-six percent of respondents offered voluntary benefits to full-time staff. Among all respondents, the median total cost of staff benefits (required and voluntary) as a percentage of total salaries (payroll) was 26 percent. Ninety percent of these grantmakers provided retirement benefits.
  • Eighty-two percent (89 percent of respondents offering voluntary benefits) provided medical benefits to their full-time employees.
  • Approximately half of the survey's respondents covered the full cost of single-coverage medical benefits.

This is just a small sampling of the data included in the report. Go to for more details or e-mail for additional information.


The Council on Foundations (, formed in 1949, is a nonprofit membership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. Members of the Council include more than 1,700 independent, operating, community, public and company-sponsored foundations, and corporate giving programs in the United States and abroad. The Council's mission is to provide the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance, and sustain their ability to advance the common good.