This excerpt of an article by E. Thomas Wood was originally published by The City Paper in Nashville and can be viewed here.
Four of the nonprofits we examined showed signs of a disconnect between leadership compensation and the outcomes that their CEOs have delivered:
Mercy Ministries of America
In 2006-08, founder Nancy Alcorn enjoyed the largest average annual increase on a three-year basis of any major local charity chief that The City Paper evaluated: 14.3 percent a year.
Mercy Ministries offers a residential treatment program for at-risk teenage girls and young women. An Australian offshoot was shut down in 2008 amid government investigations and accusations of cult-like treatment. Nashville’s Mercy operation also faced accusations of serious maltreatment.
How to explain…
Spokeswoman Christy Singleton pointed out that changes in Internal Revenue Service tax forms affected the reporting of Alcorn’s compensation. She said that income from Alcorn’s books and speeches goes to Mercy Ministries. She asserted that Mercy Ministries of America was “completely separate” from the Australian operation: “They did not have any legal link at all to the U.S. organization.”
But for years, the Mercy America website promoted the Australian program as “a place that is safe, full of hope, forgiveness and grace” and offered a brochure featuring a photo of Alcorn.
Her message there concluded: “Please pray about how you can help the work of Mercy Ministries Australia today.”
Singleton also said that the Nashville Scene treated Mercy unfairly in a 2008 exposé on its local operations.