Report: Houston YMCA CEO one of the highest-paid charity execs in the country

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by Courtney Zubowski / 11 News

khou.com

Posted on August 25, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 25 at 5:20 PM

HOUSTON -- The man who heads the YMCA of Greater Houston is the highest-paid administrator of any non-profit human services organization in the country, according to a consumer watchdog group.

Charity Navigator, a non-profit organization that evaluates charities, reviewed about 3,000 charities across the country.

The report revealed that most leaders in charge of the charities made a median salary of $150,000 in 2008.

According to the report, Clark Baker, the President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Houston, made $661,634.

Many members at the YMCA in the 1300 block of Augusta were just learning about the report Tuesday evening.

“That’s a lot,” said YMCA member Vivian Savage. “But, again, I don’t know what he does. I don’t know what his responsibilities are.”

The YMCA of Greater Houston released a statement Tuesday:

The YMCA of Greater Houston is the third-largest YMCA in the country, growing faster than any YMCA over the last 10 years, and has a qualified and experienced CEO to lead our complex and intricate 125 year-old organization. For the last eight years we have received the highest rating by Charity Navigator, an independent charity evaluator. This rating shows that the YMCA of Greater Houston exceeds industry standards and outperforms most nonprofits.


The YMCA of Greater Houston serves 700,000 people a year and has a roughly $105 million operating budget. When you break down the number, Baker is making 0.60 percent of all expenses.

11 News checked several other Houston charities and found their CEOs making a higher percentage of their expenses.

Still, some members think Baker's salary is too high.      

“Other non-profit organizations are closer to $150,000, $200,000,” said YMCA member Amanda Hobbs. “I think even that’s a lot of money, but I think that’s more realistic than $700,000. That seems obscene.”

According to YMCA Board Chair Will Williams, Baker’s salary was reviewed by consultants and Williams says it’s in line with other charities.

But Charity Navigator also reports that Baker wasn't the only executive bringing in big money at the YMCA.  In fact, 14 of the organization's officers earned more than $150,000 in total pay in 2008.  Seven of those earned more than $200,000, and three -- including Baker -- earned more than $300,000.

A spokesperson for the YMCA of Greater Houston said Baker's salary comes from revenue and not donations.

Baker was not available for comment Tuesday evening.

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