Perusing the IRS form 990’s for some autism organizations

18 Mar

How big are more outspoken autism organizations? How much do they support research? How much do they pay their executives? This became a big question about a year ago when it became public how much Autism Speaks pays their top people. Since the 2009 form 990 (IRS forms from non-profit organizations) are now public, I thought I’d take a quick look at some of the organizations out there. More importantly, we are in a tough financial time and charities get hit hard in recessions.

Autism Speaks

revenue: $45.5M down from $66.4M
Expenses: $43.6M down from $73.1M
Assets: $10.8M up from 8.9M

30 people listed as officers/directors.
14 people listed with salaries >$100k

Total salaries paid–$16.5M

Program services expenses:
$17,362,551 in research
$10,238,612 in awareness
$814,016 grants to families
$2,276,703 in other program service expenses

ratio of salary to program service expenses $16.5M/$30.7M=0.53

For those who want to know, Geraldine Dawson’s salary is $409,382. Very high, but also not as high as was reported last year. The previous year included many one-time expenses involved with her move to Autism Speaks.

Generation Rescue:

revenue: $641K down from $1,190k
expenses: $843k up from $745K
net assets $213k down from $445k

Stan Kurtz is now listed as “former” president. Salary: $129,167
Candace MacDonald: $100,000 in salary. Listed as president.

They spend about $19k on their website/year
biggest single expense (other than salary) is marketing, at $169k.


They spent $23k on research.

ratio of salary to program expenses: 364,686/729,340=0.50

The ratio of salary to program expenses is basically the same as for Autism Speaks.

National Autism Association (NAA)

revenue: $542K down from $595k
expenses: $696k up from $570K
net assets: $62K down from $216

no salaries for organization officers listed

15 people listed as officers/etc. (including Katie Wright, Dierdre Imus)

$434k in “building a solid foundation” for the NAA. Public awareness, etc.
$75k in crisis support–direct support to families in case of disasters, deaths, etc.

ratio of salary to program service expenses: 134,511/509,232=0.26

The ratio of salary to program services is much lower than for Generation Rescue or Autism Speaks.


revenue: $196K down from $24k
expenses: $126k down from $179K
net assets: $187K up from $117k

no salaries for organization officers listed
14 people listed as officers/members

$41K in research
$31k in website/PR
$23k for conferences
$15k to the Age of Autism
$29k to Thoughtful house

ratio of salary to program service expenses: 0/96,016=0.0

This is the only group with a zero ratio.

TACA (Talk About Curing Autism)

revenue: $841K up from $780k
expenses: $912k up from $847k
net assets: $477K down from $532k

4 people listed as board members/etc
One compensated, at $44k/year

$349,565. Meetings/conferences/seminars for parent education
$135,753. Print and electronic publications
$99,472. direct financial support to families

ratio of salary to program service expenses: 320,442/586,12 4=0.55

This is similar to Autism Speaks and Generation Rescue.

Checking a few figures.

First, it was claimed a while back that the National Autism Association had thousands of dues paying members. The lowest dues level for the NAA is $35/year. The amount of dues collected was $12,465. This suggests a maximum of 356 dues paying members.

Second, the $15k payment to the Age of Autism intrigued me. Age of Autism portrays itself as an autism organization in advocacy efforts. They are not, however, a charitable organization. The Age of Autism is a limited liability corporation registered to Dan Olmsted. Because of this, financial records are not public. But we can attempt an estimate with public information:

Age of Autism has 4 sponsors listed on their website. (SafeMinds, Generation Rescue, the National Autism Association and TACA). Assuming that all 4 are paying $15k per year, this would mean $60k/year from sponsors. In addition, they received advertising revenue. A link on the top of the Age of Autism blog takes you to where you can see advertising rates. AoA has two types of ads, leaderboard ads (at $10/day) and sidebar ads (varying from $25/week with no image to $250/week for a large ad with picture). They have no leaderboard right now, but 6 sidebar ads. Using an estimate average of $210/week based on the sizes I see (and the fact that this divides easily by 7), that gives $30/day per sidebar. I am assuming that the ads for the books are gratis. If they fill the leaderboard ad, AoA could be getting $190/day from advertisements. 365 days of that gives $69,350. Together with sponsorship, the Age of Autism is bringing in an estimated $129,350 a year. They have to pay for hosting, but they also get donations. They do not specify how the money is distributed.

3 Responses to “Perusing the IRS form 990’s for some autism organizations”

  1. Visitor March 18, 2011 at 08:45 #

    Another interesting statistic is that Age of Autism’s monthly visitor figures have approximately halved in number over the last year. They got a blip during Deer’s last expose of Wakefield, and then continued downwards.

  2. Rose March 19, 2011 at 02:21 #

    Harumphf…well, I remember somebody selling t-shirts to defray the cost of running a blog-hub! I’ve got one! 😉

    It’s like what I overheard one time when I and a fat friend pulled up to a chinese buffet: “Opportunists!” It hurt but it was funny.

    It’s kinda hard to act like you’re saving the world when you’re making a damn cushy living from it. It’s like Mother Teresa in minks and diamonds, singing “I Love Being a Girl”. Something doesn’t seem kosher.


  1. Autism Speaks – YouTube – Autism Speaks Puzzlebuilder: Mitchel Musso - April 25, 2011

    […] Perusing the IRS form 990′s for some autism organizations […]

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