Data Tracker

Nonprofit CEO salaries keep getting higher. See the region’s 50 highest-paid

The 10 highest-paid nonprofit CEOs in the Sacramento Region

The best-paid CEOs of Sacramento-area nonprofits are generally leaders in the banking or health industries. Patrick Fry of Sutter Health earned the most.
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The best-paid CEOs of Sacramento-area nonprofits are generally leaders in the banking or health industries. Patrick Fry of Sutter Health earned the most.

A growing number of Sacramento nonprofit leaders are drawing big salaries.

About 50 Sacramento-area CEOs earn more than $300,000 annually in total compensation, according to a Bee review of the latest tax filings.

The list of well-compensated nonprofit executives is dominated by those in the health care industry, credit union leaders and those working for large professional associations. There are also a few CEOs at organizations focused on education and poverty relief that make that much.

Each year, the list gets bigger. Twenty of the 50 top-paying local nonprofits paid their CEOs at least 50 percent more in 2015 than during 2010. All but eight of the 50 top-paying nonprofits increased CEO pay faster than the rate of inflation between 2010 and 2015.

The highest-paid nonprofit CEO in the region in 2015 was Sutter Health’s Patrick Fry, who earned about $7.5 million in pay and benefits. Fry retired in early 2016.

Next was James Jordan III, CEO of Schools Financial Credit Union, who earned $5.7 million. Jordan retired at the end of 2015 and earned substantial payouts related to leaving the credit union, tax filings indicate. The retirement payout “was accumulated over two-and-a-half decades. That’s why it looks so large,” said schools spokeswoman Cathy Grimes.

Outside the health care and credit union sectors, the highest-paid local nonprofit CEO was Stephen Berberich of the California Independent System Operator Corporation, who earned $1.2 million in pay and benefits. The California ISO oversees operation of the state’s electricity grid. Berberich was followed by Allan Zaremberg of the California Chamber of Commerce, who earned $872,000, and Michael Ziegler of Pride Industries, which provides aid to the disabled. Ziegler earned about $792,000.

CEO pay generally correlates with the amount of revenue generated by a nonprofit: The more revenue, the higher the pay. Sutter Health, for instance, generates more than $1 billion in revenue each year. The Bee’s analysis focused solely on the roughly 250 local nonprofits generating more than $4 million in revenue each year. Most nonprofits don’t produce that much revenue – and their CEOs don’t earn nearly as much.

Data Tracker is a regular feature that breaks down the numbers behind today’s news. Explore more trends at sacbee.com/datatracker.

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