WASHINGTON (AP) _ The midrange compensation for the leaders of 230 hospitals, universities, big charities and foundations was $209,914 last year, according to an annual survey of compensation levels in the world of nonprofit organizations.

The $209,914 figure was a median, which means that half of the executives earned more than that and half less.

The highest single earner on the list was Wayne Isom, chairman of the department of cardiothoracic surgery at Cornell University. He was paid $1,728,999, plus benefits worth $45,431.

Isom's pay eclipsed that of Cornell's president, Hunter R. Rawlings III, who earned $199,580 plus $137,175 in benefits and $26,400 in expenses.

The survey was conducted by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, a biweekly newspaper for the non-profit world. The information is taken from reports that non-profit organizations are legally required to file.

The Chronicle compared 1997 and 1996 compensation for 137 executives whose pay was reported for both years. It found that they saw an average increase in 1997 of 2.9 percent. The government says the cost of living increased 2.3 percent in 1997.

By the Chronicle's categories, here were the highest-paid leaders:

_Private foundations: Harold M. Williams, who was president of the J. Paul Getty Trust of Los Angeles: $619,621 in pay plus $345,856 worth of benefits and $11,588 for expenses. He has since left the foundation.

_Arts organizations: Leonard Slatkin, music director of the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington: $1,071,667 in pay plus $8,333 in benefits.

_Colleges and universities: Cornell's Isom, followed by James Grifo, professor of reproductive endocrinology at New York University: $1,616,879 plus $20,829 in benefits.

_Education groups: Richard M. Krasno, president of the Institute of International Education in New York: $258,753 plus $15,200 in benefits. He is no longer there.

_Environmental and animal-related groups: Matthew B. Connolly Jr., executive vice president, Ducks Unlimited of Memphis, Tenn.: $263,350 plus $11,566 in expenses. The value of the benefits he received, if any, was not available.

_Health charities: Robert J. Beall, CEO, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Bethesda, Md.: $337,390, plus $33,985 in benefits.

_Hospitals: John W. Rowe, president, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York City: $1,163,875 plus $216,250 in benefits.

_Human services groups: Paul Grogan, president, Local Initiatives Support Corp.: $323,429. The value of his benefits, if any, was not available. Sheryl Weinstein, the former chief financial director of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, received $545,767 in compensation for 10 months in 1997, but that included $300,000 in severance pay plus $112,700 in vacation pay.

_International relief and development groups: Peter D. Bell, president of CARE of Atlanta: $256,845 plus $28,853 in benefits. Philip Johnson, president of the CARE Foundation, received $395,140 in compensation plus $30,985 in benefits, but his compensation included $179,355 in early retirement payments, $120,943 in accrued vacation pay, $49,752 in pension contributions and $45,090 in consultant fees.

_Jewish federations: Stephen D. Solender, executive vice president United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York: $333,950 plus $18,942 in benefits and $3,303 in expenses.

_Libraries and museums: Yoel Levi, conductor of the symphony of the Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center of Atlanta: $537,817 plus $9,605 in benefits and $3,019 in expenses.

_Public affairs groups: Edwin J. Feulner Jr., CEO, Heritage Foundation of Washington: $437,050, including a $202,050 bonus, plus benefits of $51,163 and expenses of $3,164.

_Youth groups: Jere Ratcliffe, chief scout executive, Boy Scouts of America, Irving, Texas: $344,653 in compensation, including car allowance and life insurance premiums, plus $134,820 in benefits, which includes $125,655 in deferred retirement benefits.

_United Ways: Ralph Dickerson Jr., president, United Way of New York City: $286,299 plus $45,551 in benefits.

_Miscellaneous organizations: Richard D. Schultz, executive director, United States Olympic Committee, Colorado Springs, Colo.: $478,140 plus $110,000 in deferred compensation benefits.

_Public broadcasting: George Page, director of science programming, WNET-Educational Broadcasting Corp. of New York: $306,771 plus $44,653 in benefits.

_Religious groups that report finances publicly: Eugene B. Habecker, president, American Bible Society of New York: $180,000 plus $45,463 in benefits.

_Community foundations: Lorie A. Slutsky, president of the New York Community Trust: $338,000 plus $103,574 in benefits.

The surveyed non-profits were drawn from the Chronicle's annual list of organizations that raise the most in donations plus the 20 private foundations with the most assets. The survey does not cover some religious groups, which are not required to report their finances publicly. And it is possible, the Chronicle noted, that some smaller non-profits paid their leaders more than those on the list of the 400 largest.