Press Release

New Report on U.S. Foundations' Salary and Benefits

Council on Foundations Releases Annual Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report

New research by the Council on Foundations released today provides important benchmarking data on the salary, compensation, and demographics of U.S. foundations. The 2015 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report is the largest and most comprehensive report on foundation staff composition and compensation in 2015.

The report found that racial and ethnic minorities continue to be underrepresented at all staffing levels and that significant gender and age gaps exist within the philanthropic sector.

“The Council has been surveying the philanthropic sector annually for almost 30 years, and this benchmark data provides us with compelling information about ongoing challenges philanthropy faces, especially in addressing our diversity, equity, and inclusion shortcomings,” said Council on Foundations President and CEO Vikki Spruill. “This publication makes the internal workings of foundations and corporate giving programs more accessible, and we hope that this transparency will inform important discussions about the future of foundations and the field more broadly.”

The 2015 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report provides position, salary, benefits, and demographic information on independent, family, community, and public foundation employees as well as corporate grantmakers. The findings in the report are based on responses to an online survey of 951 grantmakers, which reported salaries for a total of 9,142 full-time paid professional and administrative staff members.

Key findings and trends:

  • Overall, staffing demographics did not shift significantly from 2014 levels.
  • Almost two fifths (37 percent) of full-time staff were 50 to 64 years old.
  • The majority (59 percent) of foundation CEOs fell in the 50 to 64 age bracket.
  • About 6 percent of full-time staff were at or above the retirement age of 65.
  • Approximately 11 percent of full-time staff were under 30.
  • Overall, women represented 88 percent of administrative staff, 77 percent of program officers, 57 percent of CEOs, and 41 percent of board of directors.
  • Among the largest grantmakers, women represented fewer than one half of CEOs.
  • Racial and ethnic minorities comprise 8 percent of CEOs, 16 percent of board members, and 24 percent of reported full-time staff.
  • Operating foundations and the largest grantmakers with assets greater than $2 billion have a greater reported percentage of positions filled by racial or ethnic minorities compared to others.
  • Six percent of respondents indicated at least one staff member with disabilities.
  • One percent of paid, full-time staff were reported as having a disability.

The following infographics may be used with source acknowledgement:

Median Salary of Foundation CEOs is $166,000

Median Salary of Foundation Program Officers is $85,000

Median Salary of Full-Time Foundation Staff is $76,905

Almost 50% of foundations reported no staff departures in 2014.

Only 25% of foundation CEOs were promoted from within their orgnaizations.

40% of grantmaker CEOs have held their current position for 10 years or more.



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.

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