With incentives, UNC fundraising chief’s pay could rival chancellor’s

By Todd Cohen

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Thanks to a deal proposed by Chancellor Carol Folt and approved this summer by the board of trustees, annual pay for David Routh, the incoming fundraising chief at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, could total $494,000, or only $26,000 less than Folt’s own salary.

The annual salary for Routh, who was named Thursday and begins his job October 14 as vice chancellor for development, will total $395,000.

And if he meets goals Folt sets, Routh also could get incentive pay totaling up to 25 percent of his base pay, or nearly $99,000, bringing his annual pay to nearly $494,000.

Folt’s annual salary is $520,000, compared to $432,600 for her predecessor, Holden Thorp, UNC says.

The stakes are high for both Folt and Routh: A comprehensive fundraising campaign at UNC-CH that at one time was expected to total $3 billion has been on hold for years.

Plans to launch the campaign initially were delayed by the collapse of the economy five years ago.

They were delayed again in the spring of 2012 by the board of trustees, which reportedly rejected plans for the campaign submitted by Thorp and Matt Kupec, the former vice chancellor for advancement, saying the plans needed more work.

This summer, during the search for the new vice chancellor, the UNC-CH board of trustees approved a proposal by Folt to provide the incentive pay.

That move prompted speculation that Folt, former interim president at Dartmouth who became UNC chancellor on July 1, was courting a candidate who already was paid $500,000 or more, or wanted to be paid that amount.

Routh, a 1982 graduate of UNC-CH, has been serving as managing director for U.S. Trust/Bank of America Private Wealth Management in Raleigh and is a former director of gift planning at the university.

Thorp resigned in September 2012 in the face of a scandal involving Kupec, who had resigned days earlier after 21 years as the school’s fundraising chief.

Kupec’s annual salary totaled $349,800, UNC says.

The annual salary for Julia Sprunt Grumbles, a former corporate vice president at Turner Broadcasting who served for a year as interim vice chancellor for advancement before stepping down in early September, was $295,000.

Thorp named Grumbles to the post after he resigned but before he stepped down in June. He now is provost at Washington University in St. Louis.

3 responses

  1. David Routh is a wonderful selection and will do an excellent job. He is a person of great integrity, proven leadership, and amazing ability. He knows and loves the university. As an alum of the Kenan-Flagler Business School (MBA’90), wife of an alum, mother of a current student (2016), I am very happy for UNC!
    As a nonprofit leader, I am very disappointed in the decision by the trustees to allow incentive-based compensation for the development function. This is contrary to all best practices and may open the university up for criticism by disgruntled heirs. At the least, there should be significant disclosures to the potential donors that their gift could be part of a formula that will affect compensation of the leader of the advancement work of the university.
    Trustees, and David, please rethink this decision!

  2. Mary is absolutely correct. David is an great choice for the position and will do much to rebuild the tattered reputation of our alma mater. I am a non-profit leader, as well, and I am also bothered by the incentive based compensation. It is contrary to all the best practices that we follow. It is another potential flash point!

  3. I am a new member of the Chapel Hill community and a professional fundraiser for a student organization on the UNC campus. I met Mr. Routh only once and I have never forgotten his authenticity and sincerity. At the time, I was completely unaware of his deep connection to UNC, his career or anything relative to his future position. That said, I think he was a great choice for the job. The compensation structure for leadership positions in fundraising has began to shift in recent years, and incentive pay has become far more commonplace in high level leadership functions at large institutions like hospitals and universities, although not as widely reported as this decision. Best of luck to Mr. Routh and Chancellor Folt on the road to a much-needed campaign for Carolina.

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