That Nonprofit CEO Makes What?

When a natural disaster strikes, as they have over the last few days and weeks, those of us wanting to help often search for where to donate. This is often when nonprofit agencies get the most recognition and scrutiny.  Money is tight for a lot of us, so if we choose to give of our funds we want to be certain that money is getting to cause or people we’re seeking to help.  Real talk, that’s not always the case whether it’s a nationally recognized organization such as the Red Cross, think Haiti, 6 billion donated and only 6 houses (NPR’s take | Red Cross’ take).  When stories such as these come out, the conversation on how much the CEOs of these agencies earns becomes an offshoot.  It’s also not just disaster that bring about the pay discussion. Based on my Facebook feed, the issue of nonprofit upper management salaries comes up about every 6 months. Usually, it’s based on a meme of salaries of some of the biggest nonprofits in the country (Snopes take on the meme).

Sure enough, several days ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and someone I followed posted about the fact that Goodwill had hired a new regional CEO in her area. She went on to state the person taking the job was leaving a company where he made $500. Naturally, the consensus was that he would be making that or more when he joins Goodwill.  She questioned why/how/if a nonprofit should pay such large salary and if that money should be going to a greater cause such as hurricane relief.

Full disclosure, I have worked for a small local nonprofit for 6 years.

Now, that being said, I worked in corporate america before choosing to leave for my current job. In my case, that meant a decrease in salary. I took the job because I wanted to help others and felt this particular job would allow me the flexibility I needed as a mom of an 8 month old. However, my professional goals and aspirations didn’t change because I chose to work for a nonprofit.

When these questions about nonprofit CEO salaries come up, I often want to know what do those questioning think a decent salary would be for these national and sometimes global agencies? Let’s consider a local Goodwill branch in my area: Goodwill Upstate/Midlands. They have about 40 stores spanning several counties. Take into account workers you see on the sales floor, managers, those in stock, those who drive trucks to pick up donated items, staff accountants, human resources, etc.  That’s just the stores, Goodwill also offers educations services. So, consider the staff for that.  Nonprofits are businesses they need to be competitive to attract the best people to reduce turnover, attract donors/partners and keep the doors open.

Now, if you are the person in charge of running ALL of that, how much would you want to make?


Consider you’re at the top of the totem poll so whatever you cap yourself at, you are also capping everyone else under you. So, if the CEO should only make $50k, then what is the store manager, accountant, human resource worker or sales clerk making?

Creating an agency to help people doesn’t mean you don’t want to make a living or that you don’t want what you’ve created to grow and expand. My husband knows someone who gives to a certain nonprofit because the CEO only makes $13,000 a year and not what she considers exorbitant amounts of bigger agencies. Ummm ok! A few things. This nonprofit must be extremely small which is just fine, but it should add to perspective. This person is a one man band and is running this alone. This person must have another job as a supplement, has a trust fund he’s just dipping into or is constantly making a choice between food and housing.  If she just wants to give to smaller agencies that’s great, but to give because of what the CEO makes doesn’t sit well with me. How about instead of focusing on CEO pay, you focus on how much of every dollar you give actually goes to the cause? How about researching success stories or stories showing how lives or situations have changed due to the agency? The CEO making less money doesn’t equal a well run organization that’s making the most of your donations.

Making decisions for workers and making sure they are successful and an agency is successful takes a lot of work. It can be just as much work if not more than the corporate realm because you also have to search for donors for your cause. As a nonprofit you don’t pass a lot of your costs to your customers as other businesses do.  Now, should nonprofits have to do what they say they are going to do and account for the money that is donated to them? ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY! Hell yes! Hold their feet to the fire, those are YOUR coins!

Bottomline is nonprofit workers are skilled, highly trained and educated. We just chose to take our talents to the nonprofit world. The same opportunities for growth, pay increase, etc. are expected. Not all nonprofits are equal and when it comes to salaries size, funding and how the agency is run both come into play. However, if a nonprofit is able to pay big bucks, still stay on its mission and account for money given, then I say “show me the money”.  Nonprofit doesn’t mean “we don’t see money”. It means, we want to help and still get our coins while we do it. Both can be done and that’s ok.

5 Takeaways: Disciplining My 6 Year Old

A couple of days after RJ was born, we had his first doctor’s appointment. They weighed him and he’d loss a few ounces. For a newborn who was only 6lbs 11oz, this was a concern. The doctor told me to nurse then give him formula as a supplement until my milk came in. The first time I did this and he looked up at me “milk drunk”,  I thought “I got this”. In the years that followed there was the switch from bottles to sippy cups, potty training, first day of daycare. We were slaying all day. Then, my child turned 6 1/2.  The stage where he dislikes everything that wasn’t his idea or exactly what he envisioned. The stage where nothing is fair. The stage where not getting his way results in epic shouting matches and meltdowns. The stage where his dad and I are about to lose our f’ing minds!  I’ve been learning from our mistakes, reading tips from experts and gotten some advice that I think is helping.  Here are my 5 takeaways from disciplining my 6 year old. 

My child is not me and I’m not my mom

I’ve always had this idea of parenting the way I was parented, with a few minor tweaks here or there.  I think I turned out ok. I had a good balance of being able to talk to my mom and still understand she wasn’t one of my little friends. Somewhere along the line in my memories of my childhood I forgot that though I feared my mom,  I didn’t always listen to her.  She was very stern. I knew not to be disrespectful in her presence, but I think that just made me sneaky. This was an art I would practice heavily in my teenage years.  I always thought that when I had kids of my own, I would instill that level of fear. You know, the look that would make them cease and desist whatever awful behavior they were doing. Well, apparently my look needs work because RJ doesn’t have that fear, at least not to the extent I did. It’s not for lack of me being stern because I am admittedly the “bad cop” in our house. He just isn’t built that way.  He doesn’t react to things the same way I did and I don’t have the same presence as my mom.  Who would have thought, my child would have his own personality and not just be a clone of me?


This parenting sh*t is hard

I’d love to say I’ve been praying and using what I’ve learned in the books from The Art of Listening post and RJ just became a parent obeying child. I’d also love to say we’re no longer experiencing some of the behavior that started this. That’s not the case. We have BAD days and I’ve shed lots of tears, because I felt I should have answers that I just didn’t have.  I’ve questioned our parenting. Mainly because for the most part RJ only exhibits his extreme behavior with us. Part of me is grateful because that means he knows how to behave and therefore, we have done something right and at least he knows how to act in the streets. Part of me feels ashamed because as his mom, I should have a better handle.  How can my child behave with others and not me?  I was talking to my god-sister recently about how our upbringing put a lot of pressure on moms to “control” their kids. Growing up we always heard children should be seen and not heard. It seemed anything short of a child who is obedient in all situations was a failure. “Oh, it’s shame, they can’t control that child.” I spend a lot of energy making sure RJ doesn’t bother other people when we’re out or even visiting friends and family.  I believe kids shouldn’t take part in grown conversations and there are times when kids should be quiet. However, my child has thoughts and opinions that should be taken into consideration. He wants to be heard just like us adults. I’m realizing some of those standards I grew up with don’t allow for wiggle room and for kids to be kids.  I’m learning is to parent the child I have in whatever way works best for us.

Spanking doesn’t work for my child

We’ve tried spanking RJ with our hands and discovered it’s not a good form of discipline for him.  It doesn’t result in the behavior we’re seeking from him and it doesn’t give us a leg to stand on when we tell him not hit others. Mainly, don’t like how it makes me feel. I want him to have a sense of fear of me and Ralph in that he’ll think twice about misbehaving because he doesn’t want to disappoint us. However, I don’t want him to be AFRAID of us. So, spanking is out for us.


My husband and I have to be on the same page

My husband and I were raised differently and it plays out in our parenting styles. He kind of leans towards the idea of being friends with RJ. He doesn’t really want RJ to be mad at him so he will cave before me. Often times this makes me the “no” person and therefore the bad guy. Lately, as we’ve been trying to nip some of RJ’s behavior in the bud, we’ve had get on the same page quick! These kids aren’t playing any games. A united front is the only way we will survive.

We have tons of random stickers around the house so I’m just using up what I have. These are from BOB books.

My child’s love of winning is our solution

I was talking to a coworker about being fresh out of ideas on how to deal with RJ’s behavior. She suggested a behavior chart.  RJ is huge sports and he likes visuals.  He likes working towards a goal he can see rather than just an arbitrary end goal I’ve created in my head. Plus, he’s familiar with behavior related points from Class Dojo at school. I created a chart with behaviors I’d like to work on as well as some aspects of our morning/evening routine. Then, I came up with rewards for reaching certain goals.  We are about 2 1/2 weeks in, it’s not an overnight success, but he’s engaged and hasn’t dismissed it. *Yes, I had to add shower to his chart, because he views washing as an interruption to whatever he’s doing.

Does how you imagined disciplining your kids would be match your reality? Do you discipline your kids the way you were disciplined? If so, do you think it’s working? 

9 Years In This Space

I logged into my blog today and awaiting me was a Happy Anniversary notification from WordPress! August 27, 2008 I wrote my very first post on what was then “”.  More than the name has changed since then. This blog began as way to keep our family, who don’t live in the area, informed on our goings on. We were still several years from parenthood, so I wrote a lot about our dogs.



This platform has allowed me share our lives and growing pains. There are two things I appreciate most about my small part of the internet. The first is that this is a diary of my life and my family. Though, in recent years, the entries have been sparse.  The second is the awesome ladies I’ve come to know over the years. Some whom I’ve even had the pleasure to meet in real life.

This year, I plan to show up in this space more.  As I type that I’m side-eyeing myself. Ya’ll know I haven’t done anything here in a month.  Truth is life has been coming at me fast and when that happens, I tend to retreat and sulk. Logging in and being reminded that this has been my space to document my struggles, challenges and triumphs was just what I needed.  For the majority of my married life and all of my life as a parent, this has been where I’ve come to share and release. In this space that I’ve created, I want to speak my truth, put it out there and hope it resonates with someone else. If it doesn’t, I want to be fine with that because sometimes just putting it out there is enough. As I head towards year 10, my goal is to speak in this space more often if for nothing more than to be able to go back and appreciate my growth or learn from my mistakes.








The Art of Listening

Photo by Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash

I’ve always been good at taking time for myself. I’m all about a girls trip, buying myself something I want just because or just getting in “me” time whenever I see fit.  For the last year or so, I’ve been trying to focus more on how to be still with my inner thoughts. As I get older and continue to search for direction, I feel a growing need to not only really think about what I want but to also hone in and listen to the answers.  I spend a lot of time  praying for things and asking for guidance, but I’m not sure I’ve perfected how to listen for the answers or decipher what I truly want and need.

When I can’t figure things out, my first go to is research, research, research. I volunteer to spend an hour a week in our church’s Adoration Chapel. During my devotional hours, I’ve discovered books that provide guidance on the process of preparing my self for prayer so that I’m most clear and free from distraction. Over that last year or so I’ve come across 4 books that have provided me with those infamous “aha” moments Auntie O is always talking about. I loved these books because they’re centered around listening to your gut and doing what will allow you to live and enjoy your life, authentically.  That is such an Oprah way of wording it, but it’s true.  I’ve found the search for a deeper understanding of self and perfecting the art of listening to what God or the universe is trying to tell me is a process. I’m the type of person who needs a toolkit to help me figure this out. It’s not an easy process for me, but one that I’m finding increasingly necessary on my journey. The other aspect I’m working on is consistency. Now, this is the hardest for me. I’ll be the first to admit, I suck at consistency. See also,  my exercise life and the last few years with this blog!  Look, I’m a work in progress, but aren’t we all?

Here are the four books that have been extremely helpful for me:

“Four Signs of Being a Dynamic Catholic” by Matthew Kelly – Provides an outline for preparing yourself for prayer and establishing consistency.

“Into the Deep” by Dan Burke – Helps create a deeper more meaningful prayer life.

“The Power of Silence” by Robert Cardinal Sarah – Focuses on blocking out external and internal noise so you can hear God.

“What I know for Sure” by Oprah Winfrey – Through her life lessons, you learn how to be true to yourself in all aspects of life.


*Just So You Know: The first 3 books are Catholic-based. However, if you struggle with the process of intentional prayer or strive for a deeper more connected prayer life, as I do, I think you can find them full of great nuggets of information. I didn’t find them to be preachy or centered on conversion. I’m not about that life, you do you. I’m still in reading “The Power of Silence” so if it goes left at the end, my bad!


Do you have a prayer or mediation ritual? Do you think you’ve perfected the art of blocking out the world’s noise and listening to what God or the universe is trying to tell you?

5 Takeaways: 2 Weeks Kidfree


Once the plan to have RJ stay in NY with his grandparents was set, I was a little nervous about how it would pan out.  He’s stayed away from home with family for a few days in the past, but this was 2 weeks. What would those weeks be like for him? What would they be like for us? He’s been back home for a week now, and I’ve had time to process 5 takeaways from 2 weeks without my child.


I worried, but not the way I thought

I missed RJ a lot, but I didn’t spend the time calling him every second or endlessly worrying about him.  I did worry, but it was just hoping he was enjoying himself and not driving his grandparents crazy.   We were 700 miles and 12 hours away from NY just going to get him was not an option.  Factor in that his stay got off to a rocky start and we I had a right to be a little nervous. The original plan was for him to split his two weeks between Hubby’s mom and dad’s homes.  Well, the first night at Hubby’s mom, didn’t go as planned. It was all good until that evening when they were getting ready to go to bed. She has cats, four to be exact, and RJ was extremely concerned about where the cats would sleep. That turned into an all out panic about the cats. We tried, for 30 minutes on the phone, to get him to calm down and at least spend the night, but to no avail. We went and got him. He stayed with Ralph’s dad and step-mom for the entire two weeks.  Luckily, after that slight hiccup he was fine and had a blast with Grandpa and Grandma.


I had to get use to being home alone with my husband

At first,  I didn’t know how to act with just the two of us in the house.  I mean my god-sister was staying with us for a day or two, but she mostly stayed in her room watching Netflix.  Suddenly being home alone with my spouse after years of young child being in the mix was different.  Yes, we have alone time on date nights or when we take trips with just the two of us, but that’s different. In those instances, you’re focused on other things. On a date, it’s the meal, movie or whatever activity is planned. On a vacation, it’s the new place, sights and sounds we’re taking in.  At home, you’re just home, looking at each other. Yes, there are “other” things, but I’m sorry I couldn’t  do those “other” things  every free minute of the day for 14 days straight! We had to find our groove again and remember what we were like before we became a family of 3.  It was great practice for years down the road when RJ leaves and it’s just us again.  Kids can’t be a buffer forever. Knowing how to live with and enjoy your spouse is important.

The joy of random date nights

If you didn’t know, we don’t have family who live in our city.  So, typically, if we want to go out we hire a sitter.  We do have friends who would likely take RJ for a few hours. However, they have their own kids and for sanity sake, we don’t like adding our kid to their mix.  Since we use sitters, we have to plan when we want to go out.  I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed the two of us being able to go out on a whim and at no extra cost to us.  Hubby and I agree making more time for just the two of us is a must.  I guess I’ll be getting off of the coins more frequently!


The break from Mommy mode

If you’re a mom, you understand Mommy mode. The never ending cycle of  drop offs, pick ups, questions, answers, play dates, study time etc. Tirelessly trying to create a space where they don’t grow up to be too sheltered, too carefree or sociopaths! You know, balance! It can be exhausting. I’ve took our break to relax as  much as possible. When Mommy mode crept in and I started to wonder, if he was eating way too much sugar, was he driving them crazy, was he homesick, or what his hair looked like, I stopped myself, exhaled and picked up a book or a glass of wine. As long as he wasn’t calling crying or hurt, he was just fine and it was ok for me to be as well.


The perfect time to purge toys

My child has TONS of toys he doesn’t play with or that I’m not even sure he remembers he has. They have taken over his room and our living room. I’ve purchased numerous bins to make the collection more organized and less visible. However, it seems, the more bins I buy, the more toys come into our home.  So, I used his time away to drastically reduce his collection.  It was tough because my husband is a hoarder. Things I marked to toss, he argued needed to stay.  When it was all said and done I took two bags of toys to Goodwill.


We didn’t just survive the two week separation, I think each of us thrived in our own way.  Two weeks was just enough time for us enjoying being apart without missing each other terribly. Now to start planning for next year!