A letter published on the Dec. 4 Editorial page contained some excellent suggestions for Christmas gift-giving, including a recommendation to reflect the spirit and message of Jesus.
However, some of the information, presumably gleaned from the internet without verification, was largely inaccurate and/or out of date. I have consulted a reliable fact-checking site, www.snopes.com, under the topic, “Charitable Compensation,” and found the following: The President and CEO of the American Red Cross Gail McGovern receives a salary for 2012 of $561,000 not $951,957. The President and CEO of United Way (worldwide) Brian Gallagher’s base salary is $415,613 not $675,000. UNICEF’s CEO Caryl Stern’s last reported compensation is $472,891 not $1.9 million, and UNICEF reports that “no Rolls Royce or company car is proved for any staff member.” The last reported compensation of the National Commander of the Salvation Army William A. Roberts was $126,920 much higher than the $13,000 figure in the Phoenix letter.
Finally, a 2011 addendum to the original message stated that the National Commanders of the American Legion, VFW, DAV, Military Order of Purple Hearts, and Vietnam Veterans Association, receive no salary.
According to the most recent available Form 9990 filings, all of these statements are false and or misleading in large part because the National Commanders are not necessarily the top business executive of these organizations. Readers can consult snopes to see that compensation actually ranges between $103,71 and $329,868, often divided among more than one person.
The important point is accuracy of reporting. This is especially important when it involves some of our most cherished and charitable organizations.