GiveWell executive compensation

This page reviews GiveWell’s executive compensation for its two co-executive directors, Holden Karnofsky and Elie Hassenfeld.

Holden and Elie’s salary have continued to increase. From 2008–2014, their salary doubled from $60,000 to $120,000 according to GiveWell’s Form 990.

According to Charity Navigator’s 2014 Charity CEO Compensation Study (page 3):

Higher CEO Compensation: Northeast ($148,250), Mid-Atlantic ($141,907) and Pacific West ($125,000)

Holden and Elie’s salary was $120k in 2014 (the same year the study was conducted), and they’re in the “Pacific West” region, so this is below median. However, according to their finance spreadsheet, their salary has continued to increase since 2014 (even despite lack of inflation(?)).

At the June 2015 GiveWell board meeting, Holden and Elie proposed a salary increase from $130,000 to $150,000 (which was approved).

At the June 2016 GiveWell board meeting, Holden and Elie proposed a salary increase from $150,000 to $175,000, which was approved.

At the June 2017 GiveWell board meeting, Elie proposed a salary increase from $175,000 to $200,000. The proposal was approved. Holden left GiveWell for the Open Philanthropy Project (which finally became legally independent), so the increase was only for Elie. I’m not sure what Holden’s salary at Open Phil is (Glassdoor lists $194k–$207k for Executive Director, but I don’t know how it would have gotten this information; see also my question).

At the June 2018 GiveWell board meeting, Elie proposed a salary increase for himself from $200,000 to $250,000, which was unanimously approved by the Board. The details of the salary increase request are in Attachment J, which was not made publicly available.

See also