Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation criticized for high CEO salary

The foundation devoted to the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial was criticized by a charity watchdog for the high pay of its chief executive and the little money it spends on the cause it promotes.

The Martin Luther King, Jr., National Memorial Foundation was listed at number four of Charity Navigator’s top ten list of charities that pay their CEOs the most and devote less than 60 percent of their funding to the cause they support.

However, by Thursday afternoon, the foundation was removed from the list after Charity Navigator says the foundation supplied additional financial information that upgraded its status.

The foundation’s president and chief executive Harry Johnson makes more than $277,000 per year.

“I think that's very wrong, because people donating their money to help whatever foundation that they're working with--not to pay somebody just sitting behind a desk,” said Shirley Lyons of Cleveland, Ohio, who was visiting the memorial Thursday.

“If that's what they ended up paying him, it's here now,” countered Sandra Novak of Portland, Ore.

Charity Navigator encourages donors to consider how a charity serves its community and brings about long-term change.