Friday, April 04, 2008

Charitable Giving is Rewarding. Very Rewarding.

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!


SagaciousHillbilly said...

The Clay Foundation: Giving lots of money to people with lots of money doing things for other people with lots of money.

MountainLaurel said...

I am SO in the wrong field. Why didn't anyone tell me there were jobs where you could make $260/hr working part time, when I've had salaried jobs that were less than minimum wage when you consider the hours necessary?

jackson said...

Charles: You don't know what you are talking about...a little info is dangerous you know. Mr. Avampato is not married into the Clay family. (Married 40+ yrs to his college gal from PA). His 26 hrs you listed doesn't include the eve hrs, weekend hrs, meetings etc. with various cos. Why not tell the world how much money YOU have contributed to the Kan. Vly. with all your undoubted wealth earned as a cynic. Your hateful comments about Mr. Avampato and the Clay Foundation can only cause hurt and damage to the Kan. Vly (especially when you are not telling the whole truth). Good for you - hurting others - by telling half truths about someone you don't even know and about a co you are not involved with. Waste space on another victim please.

Charles said...

I heard with my own ears Lyell Clay introduce Mr, Avampato as his cousin by marriage. I do not know the exact relationship; perhaps it was an inside joke.

As for the 26 hours per week, that is what the Clay Foundation reports on its federal tax return. Most foundation presidents report working 40+ hours.

I'm not accusing Mr. Avampato of any wrongdoing, I am simply reporting the facts. He is a very nice man and is rightfully well thougth of in the community.
The foundation is a private organization and can do whatever it pleases wth its money. In light of the Bob Grahman incident, though, it seems to lack parity: People went ballistic that he made similar money handing Wyoming County's senior services program which actually has a similar sized budget. The obvious difference is public money vs. private, which should make a difference, but how much of a difference is worth debating. At least I think so.

Chris James said...


I had always thought that "AVAMPATO" was some sort of acronym.

job said...