How much money do Charlotte’s top nonprofits put back into their programs?

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When you donate to your charity, nonprofit or foundation of choice, do you wonder where, exactly, your money is going?

The Agenda took a look at some of Charlotte’s largest nonprofits to find out.

There are 40 nonprofits in Charlotte that earn an annual rating from Charity Navigator, which bases its scores on how efficient, transparent and sustainable the nonprofit is.

We examined those that brought in a baseline of $5 million and focused on where that money went and how much went back into their efforts.

Charity Navigator’s financial scoring is based heavily on what percentage of income goes to program expenses, or the actual work the nonprofit exists to do. The financial rating also takes into account how low the overhead costs are and whether the organization is raising money without spending too much to do so.

The transparency rating is based on things like whether the charity has independent board members, clear policies and provides access to financial data online.

Figures below are for the 2015 fiscal year (the most recent information available). The organizations are listed by revenue, with the largest coming first.

Foundation for the Carolinas ($382,454,798 in revenue)

Photo via Facebook

What does it do? The Foundation serves to strengthen communities through partnering with donors, civic leaders and nonprofits to meet charitable goals and inspire philanthropy. It’s one of the largest community foundations in the nation, with $2.2 billion worth of total assets owned and represented, $185 million worth of total gifts and $193 million worth of total grants as of 2017.

Overall score: 89.39 (three out of four stars)
Financial: 100
Transparency: 85. The foundation lost points for not posting financial statements online.

Here’s how their expenses broke down:

Programming: 97.8% ($374,040,792)
Fundraising: 0.3% ($11,473,643.90)
Administration: 1.8% ($6,884,186.36). The salary of President and CEO Michael Marsicano accounted for .17% of expenses at $525,756.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina ($83,725,522)


What does it do? Since 1981, Second Harvest has been working to eliminate hunger through the solicitation and distribution of food with a regional warehouse and individual branches to supply food and grocery items to other related charities. Every year, over 54 million pounds of food and household items are distributed to the 19 counties it serves (14 in North Carolina, 5 in South Carolina) – 75% of it is donated, 11% is purchased and 14% is provided by the government.

Overall score: 91.88 (four out four stars)
Financial: 96.75
Transparency: 89

Here’s how their expenses broke down:

Programming: 97.5% ($81,632,384)
Fundraising: 1.7% ($1,423,333.87)
Administration: 0.7% ($586,078.65). The salary of Kay Carter, Executive Director, accounted for 0.24% of expenses at $195,362.

YMCA of Greater Charlotte ($81,746,284)

Dowd YMCA Charlotte

What does it do? The Y’s mission is to “put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all” and it focuses heavily on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Close to 300,000 people throughout the greater Charlotte area are members at its 19 locations.

Overall rating: 88.74 (three out of four stars)
Financial: 88.50
Transparency: 89

Here’s how their expenses broke down:

Programming: 90% ($73,571,655.60)
Fundraising: 2.8% ($2,288,895.95)
Administration: 7% ($5,722,239.88). The salary of Andrew C. Calhoun, then-President, accounted for .54% at $438,131.

Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte ($15,868,773)


What does it do? The Christian-based charity has been creating a world where everyone has a roof over their head through volunteerism, advocacy, stewardship, innovation and partnership since 1983.

It’s also the group behind Charlotte’s ReStore operation, which has been recognized by Habitat International as being in the nation’s top three ReStores.

Overall score: 91.05 (four out of four stars)
Financial: 93.74
Transparency: 89

Here’s how their expenses broke down:

Programming: 91.6% ($14,535,796.10)
Fundraising: 4.3% ($682,357.24)
Administration: 4% ($634,750.92). The salary of Laura Belcher, President and CEO, accounted for .84% of expenses at $137,948.

Crisis Assistance Ministry ($15,462,690)

What does it do? The Ministry has looked to provide help to those in a financial crisis and move them toward self-sufficiency since 1975. They do this through volunteerism and donations of clothing, home goods and more.

Overall score: 89.39 (three out of four stars)
Financial: 85.54
Transparency: 96

Here’s how their expenses broke down:

Programming: 92.8% ($14,349,376.30)
Fundraising: 4.7% ($726,746.43)
Administration: 2.3% ($355,641.87). The salary of Carol Hardison, CEO, accounted for .93% of expenses at $141,920.

Bible Broadcasting Network of Charlotte ($13,503,064)

What does it do? The radio- and internet-based network has broadcast its ministry-focused programming, complete with daily prayer times, children’s programs, Bible study and family and personal guidance to 200 million people in fourteen countries since 1969.

Overall score: 73.66 (two out of four stars)
Financial: 95.79
Transparency: 63

Here’s how their expenses broke down:

Programming: 80.6% ($10,883,469.60)
Fundraising: 3.6% ($486,110.304)
Administration: 15.6% ($2,106,477.98). The salary of Lowell Davey, then-President, accounted for .93% of expenses at $105,462.

Discovery Place ($11,617,948)

Discovery Place Charlotte

What does it do? A system of four hands-on STEM museums throughout the greater Charlotte area (Discovery Place Science, Discovery Place Nature, Discovery Place Kids), Discovery Place offers educational outreach programs as well as professional development for teachers. Since 1981, they’ve aimed to change the way science, technology and nature are all explored.

Overall score: 94.07 (four out of four stars)
Financial: 97.5
Transparency: 92

Here’s how their expenses broke down:

Program Expenses: 85.2% ($9,898,491.70)
Program Expenses Growth: 9.3% ($1,080,469.16)
Fundraising Expenses: 2.4% ($278,830.75)
Administrative Expenses: 12.2% ($1,417,389.66). The salary of Catherine Wilson Horne, President & CEO, accounted for 1.5% of expenses at $234,266.

Arts & Science Council ($10,939,906)

What does it do? As the “Office of Cultural Resources” for Charlotte and six surrounding towns, they provide advocacy, cultural education and planning, fundraising, grant making, public art and workshops for the community to ensure Culture For All.

Overall score: 89.35 (three out of four stars)
Financial: 85.48
Transparency: 96

Here’s how their expenses broke down:

Programming: 84.8% ($9,277,040.29)
Fundraising: 8.3% ($908,012.20)
Administration: 6.7% ($732,973.70). The salary of Robert E. Bush, Jr., President, accounted for 1.4% of expenses at $206,995.

Charlotte Symphony Orchestra ($9,183,660)

via Charlotte Symphony

What does it do? Since 1932, the Symphony – the largest arts employer in the region – has believed in the idea of music playing a key role in connecting and unifying the community. Their core programming runs September through May, though you’ll also find them around the holidays and all over the city year round.

Overall score: 77.76 (two out of four stars)
Financial: 70.93
Transparency: 88

Here’s how their expenses broke down:

Programming: 78.7% ($7,227,540.42)
Fundraising: 6.1% ($560,203.26)
Administration: 15% ($1,377,549). The salary of Robert Stickler, then-CEO, accounted for 2.02% of expenses at $190,759 while the salary of Christopher Warren-Green, Music Director, accounted for 2.36% at $223,172.

Swim Across America ($6,380,175)

What does it do? The community of swimmers hosts benefit swims all over the country to raise money for cancer research and clinical trials.

Overall score: 79.35 (two out of four stars) 
Transparency: 96

Here’s how their expenses broke down:

Programming: 71.3% ($4,549,064.78)
Fundraising: 15.4% ($982,546.95)
Administration: 13.1% ($835,802.93). The salary of Janel McArdle, former President and CEO, accounted for 3.4% of expenses at $230,000. President and CEO Robert Butcher was not compensated in 2015.

The Mint Museum ($6,255,609)

Mint Museum

What does it do? Both the Uptown and Randolph locations are dedicated to collecting, conserving and exhibiting pieces of art from all over the world while stimulating the community’s senses.

Overall score: 88.83 (three out of four stars)
Financial: 86.38
Transparency: 92

Here’s how their expenses broke down:

Programming: 74.1% ($4,635,406.27)
Fundraising Expenses: 8.9% ($556,749.20)
Administrative Expenses: 16.8% ($1,050,942.31). The salary of Kathleen Jameson, Executive Director, accounted for 1.75% of expenses at $189,630.

Charlotte Rescue Mission ($6,144,434)

Charlotte Rescue Mission

What does it do? The Christian-based residential recovery system offers help to those struggling with addiction and poverty with the goal of giving them back to society as productive and self-sufficient individuals. They work to help patients find sobriety, employment and stable housing while restoring relationships.

Overall score: 90.84 (four out of four stars)
Financial: 87.05
Transparency: 100

Here’s how their expenses broke down:

Programming: 74.8% ($4,596,036.63)
Fundraising: 15.5% ($952,387.27)
Administration: 9.6% ($589,865.66). The salary of Anthony Marciano II, Executive Director, accounted for 1.89% of expenses at $113,869.

Charlotte Ballet ($6,119,583)

charlotte ballet

Photo courtesy of the Charlotte Ballet

What is it? The company of 28 professional dancers show the city bold works through their five performance series during the season (October-April) and has become recognized nationally for its educational and community programs.

Overall score: 94.64 (four out of four stars)
Financial: 97.12
Transparency: 93

Here’s how their expenses broke down:

Programming: 84.3% ($5,158,808.47)
Fundraising: 4.9% ($299,859.57)
Administration: 10.6% ($648,675.80). The salary of Doug Singleton, Executive Director, accounted for 2.8% of expenses at $167,284 and the salary of Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, then-President and Art Director accounted for 3.03% at $181,270.

Communities in Schools ($6,107,042)

What does it do? The Charlotte chapter of the network helps students find academic success by providing support, a one-on-one relationship with an adult and more when they partner with local corporations, human service agencies and volunteers to prevent school dropout, ready students for college and help teenage mothers. They provide service to 6,500+ students in certain CMS schools.

Overall score: 90.58 (four out of four stars)
Financial: 87.30
Transparency: 96

Here’s how their expenses broke down:

Programming: 84.3% ($5,148,236.41)
Fundraising: 6.2% ($378,636.60)
Administration: 9.4% ($574,061.95). The salary of Molly Shaw, Executive Director, accounted for 1.88% of expenses at $109,888.

Urban Ministry Center ($5,288,462)

What does it do? The Center has reached out to Charlotte’s homeless population with programs like Room at the Inn, Project Sandwich and more since 1944. They’d like to see homelessness eventually defeated.

Overall score: 96.66 (four out of four stars)
Financial: 97.5
Transparency: 96

Here’s how their expenses broke down:

Programming: 91.9% ($4,860,096.58)
Fundraising: 2.6% ($137,500.01)
Administration: 5.3% ($280,288.48). The salary of Dale Mullennix, Executive Director, accounted for 2.36% at $125,000.

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Kylie Moore
Writer doubling as a travel, wine, and Oxford Comma enthusiast.