Salary inquiry is divisive – executive salaries in AIDS charities – Counterpoint – Column – Brief Article
AIDS has been my concern since 1981, first as chairman of the board of the AIDS Medical Foundation and later as chairman of American Foundation for AIDS Research. I have worked over the years with hundreds of people–some volunteers, like me, some paid staff–and in our depth of concern and our determination to fight AIDS, we were all alike. We allocated to each other governance or paid executive staff positions on the basis of personal need–or lack there-of–to make a living while doing our work. This, not level of commitment, was what has long distinguished people on the board from people on the staff of AMF and AmFAR.
Given the long-dismal level of federal funding for AIDS research, AmFAR’s ability to raise substantial funds and to award research grants (for a total, to date, of well over $144 million, given to more than 1,700 research teams) has required an expansion of our fund-raising outreach, an increase in our visibility in all sectors of society, an enhanced responsiveness to the public at large, and impeccable financial management for the foundation to pass muster in corporate boardrooms and with watchdog agencies. More qualifications, in addition to commitment to the cause, became necessary to the AmFAR’s chief of staff. We believe that we have found these highly valued qualities in the man who is currently our CEO and director of development.
It is sad that some members of the community feel that it is appropriate to attack AIDS organizations on a trivial issue in an attempt to divide us and to offer fodder to ideological enemies who are always only too willing to exploit division and dissent.
The very need to answer spurious charges causes us to be diverted–and gives and excuse to the public at large to be diverted–from the only business at hand; to fight AIDS as effectively as possible. In due time the American public will pass judgement on the contributions of all AIDS organizations, including AmFAR.
We confidently believe at AmFAR that we are on course in the pursuit of our mission: to help find, in a society respectful of everyone’s human rights, ever more effective treatments, a proactive vaccine, and, ultimately, a cure for HIV/AIDS.
Mathilde Krim, Ph.D., is cofounder and chairman of the board of American Foundation for AIDS Research.
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