Council on Foundations Releases Comprehensive Report on Sector Salaries, Demographics

Thursday, February 1, 2018
Arlington, VA

Respondents to an annual survey on foundation salaries and demographics indicated that one in three foundation staff was between the ages of 50-64 last year, and one in four came from a racial or ethnic minority background.

The analysis, part of data collected annually in the Council on Foundations’ Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Report, has for three decades been an important tool for foundations to plan their annual budgets, benchmark their personnel practices and determine salary levels for staff.

A total of 970 grantmakers responded to the survey, 914 of which provided 2017 position and salary information on 9,730 full-time paid professional and administrative staff. The report includes detailed findings on position, salary, benefits, and demographic information from independent, family, community, operating, and public foundation employees as well as corporate grantmakers.

As in previous years, this year’s report also provides a glimpse of the work that must be done in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Now more than ever, philanthropy faces a profound challenge: to ensure that staff and leaders at all levels mirror not only the communities they serve and support but also the rich diversity of this nation,” said Council on Foundations President and CEO Vikki Spruill. “To be effective, the work of philanthropy is inextricably tied to the field’s success in attracting, developing and retaining a more inclusive generation of philanthropic professionals.”

Among the survey’s other findings:

  • Eleven percent of full-time staff were under the age of 30;
  • Women comprised 77 percent of full-time positions while racial/ethnic minorities accounted for 26 percent of full-time staff;
  • One percent of paid full-time staff were reported as having a disability;
  • The median full-time salary for 2017 was $79,000;
  • Foundations in Middle Atlantic, Pacific and New England divisions reported higher median salaries.

To read the report, visit


About the Council on Foundations

An active philanthropic network, the Council on Foundations (, founded in 1949, is a nonprofit leadership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. It provides the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance and sustain their ability to advance the common good. With members from all foundation types and sizes, the Council empowers professionals in philanthropy to meet today’s toughest challenges and advances a culture of charitable giving in the U.S. and globally.