The Clay Foundation is without a doubt the largest private foundation in Charleston and gives a lot of money every year to many deserving charities and community groups who are trying to do good things for our City. Started by the late Lyell Clay in 1986 with money he made in the newspaper business, the foundation has been run since its inception by Charles Avampato, who was an accountant with the newspaper's publishing company and a relative of the Clay's by marriage. Mr. Avampato has become a recognizable name in the Valley largely because his name is on the Avampato Discovery Museum inside the Clay Center, but he is also well known because he controls the purse strings on the biggest purse in town when it comes to people and organizations looking for funding for community projects. Avampato is well thought of by those to whom he has doled out mucho denaro over the years.
Having a job like this must be rewarding. To see your name on a museum must be rewarding. To know you have had a hand in some large community projects that have made Charleston a better place to live must be rewarding. It must give him a good feeling to know he's done a lot for the community.
But the Mercedes dealership doesn't accept warm and fuzzies for payment. I guess that is why Avampato is rewarded handsomely in more tangible ways. How, you ask? How about $260 per hour? Rewarding enough?
According to IRS records, Avampato works 26 hours per week on average and in fiscal year ending 2006 was paid $296,000 in salary plus a retirement contribution of $44,000. $340,000 for 26 hours per week! That year was no fluke, either: His pay has steadily increased over the last few years, but it has been in the $300K range for the past 3 years at least.
For 26 hours per week.
Just think if he decided to go full time!