Third Sector at Large

Demands to curb top pay in US? It's a Greek tragedy

The occasional flak that charity chief executives in the UK have to endure over their pay is nothing compared with across the pond.

US senators recently jibbed at federal grants for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America because of the million-dollar pay packet of chief executive Roxanne Spillett. ("I can't talk about it," Spillett whispered tearfully to reporters). Now the New York Times reports that, in its recent budget, New Jersey has put a cap on pay for bosses of non-profit organisations taking state contracts. Couldn't happen over here, of course - we don't have any million-dollar charity salaries, which translates as £640,000. Or do we?

- Still in the US: NCVO boss Sir Stuart Etherington is spending his August break at a non-profit leaders seminar at the Aspen Institute in Colorado. The programme includes a spot of acting in scenes from the Sophocles tragedy Antigone: so will he take the role of Creon, rigid exponent of state power? Or will it be idealistic Antigone, who defies Creon by giving her rebel brother a decent burial and is sentenced to a nasty death?

- Tony Blair, Stephen Hawking, Elton John - the great and the good, and others, have all appeared in The Simpsons. But TV's greatest yellow family is about to host a different kind of celebrity. Muhammad Yunus, Bangladeshi microfinance guru and Nobel Peace Prize winner, guests in an episode to be broadcast in October. Homer managed to get into a fight with Stephen Hawking, so what treatment will be meted out to Yunus, aged 70? We shall see.

- Slowly but surely the Charity Commission is getting around to ticking off organisations perceived as being too politically partisan during the election - or well before it in the case of Atlantic Bridge, which was told last week to stop being a Tory front. One more (unnamed) charity has received the dreaded 'advice and guidance', bringing the total to six. So all we're waiting for now is Tomorrow's People, which took a starring role in the Conservative manifesto, and the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative, alleged to have lent data to the Labour election drive.

- Euphemisms for cuts, part two: "They're not cuts; they're savings," says Whitehall press officer. "What's the difference?" asks Third Sector. "Er, savings sounds better," comes the answer. Now you're talking!

- Mathew Little is away. Contact Third Sector at


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