Even in the face of a sluggish economy, Houston's top charities appear to be in robust condition, according to a new study by Charity Navigator. The nation's largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities ranks Houston No. 1 in its charities' overall financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency.
The Houston area's 67 largest charities received a combined overall score of 58.52 in the eighth annual national study, which analyzed data in 30 metropolitan markets. The national score was 54.98.
Kansas City placed a close second, with a score of 58.35, trailed by St. Louis (58.16), Cincinnati (57.25) and Portland, Ore. (57.15).
Houston placed second in last year's study.
While program expenses were higher than the national average (85.4 percent in Houston compared to 81.7 percent nationally), administrative expenses were less (7.5 percent in Houston vs. 9.3 percent nationally), as were fundraising expenses (7.5 percent in Houston vs. 9.3 percent nationally).
CEO compensation was also greater in Houston at $158,930 vs. $137,780 nationally. The Houston figure was somewhere in the middle of the pack, below the amount executives earn in New York City ($197,792) and Miami ($196,375) but considerably more than salaries earned by their counterparts in Tampa/St. Petersburg ($101,558) and Nashville ($104,914).
The study also indicates that even during this challenging economic period, Houston charities are the fastest growing in the country. For more details about the study, click here.
“I think each of these cities’ nonprofit leaders and donors have something to be proud of,” Ken Berger, president and CEO of Charity Navigator, said in a press release, “whether it is Houston’s charities solid growth during a challenging economic period, Cincinnati’s charities commitment to protecting its donors’ privacy, or Colorado Springs’ charities admirable level of financial disclosure.
"This study revealed that, although there are differences among the various cities, the philanthropic spirit is alive and well throughout America.”