Across the country, AIDS organizations are facing reductions in government and private funding for direct services to people with AIDS, and groups in Washington, DC, are making tough financial decisions as grants and contributions diminish.
In today's Washington Blade, veteran reporter Lou Chibbaro writes that the city's premier AIDS agency, the Whitman Walker Clinic, has sold its headquarters and is undergoing major restructuring, including by the end of the year phasing out its food bank.
The Blade further reports that the local AIDS food-delivery organization, despite its own budgetary shortfalls, will provide some aid to the clinic's patients:
Craig Shniderman, executive director of Food & Friends, the Washington area’s largest provider of food for homebound people with HIV and other diseases, said Food & Friends will step in to help clients displaced by the Whitman-Walker restructuring. But Shniderman said Food & Friends recently received a reduction in funding from the federal Ryan White CARE Act program, which will result in fewer resources for taking on new clients.Food and Friends, on its web site, recently announced their own reduction of meals and clients they will serve:
“This happens to be a bad confluence of events for the Whitman-Walker food bank to be closing at a time when we’re seeing our own financial challenges,” he said. “But we will certainly do everything possible.”
Through the careful management of our personnel-related expenditures, we anticipate saving approximately $85,000 by December 31. We also plan to reduce various administrative, and other non-salary, expenditures by $27,000. To this we will add reduced expenditures for client services totaling $223,000. It is this last category of expenditures that are the most troubling, though necessary. [Emphasis in original statement.]Interesting that the largest area to get cut at the agency, in the six-figure range, was client services, while personnel expenditures, received only a five-figure reduction.
I hope as Shniderman contemplates everything possible he can do to better assist people with AIDS in these dire times meet their food and nutritional needs, that he considers reducing his quite excessive compensation package. He is one of the nation's top-earners among AIDS executive directors.
The latest IRS 990 file for Food and Friends, for 2006, shows the agency had $6,782,922 in revenue, and that Shniderman's full compensation came to a whopping $334,551. That's some "non-profit" salary, wouldn't you say? See page 19 of the filing for more info.
Compare those figures with numbers in the 2006 IRS tax file for the Whitman Walker Clinic. It reported revenue of $22,377,792, while the executive director at the time. Roberta Geidner-Antoniotti, entire compensation was $169,792. Page 30 of this filing is where you'll find the source data.
On the surface, it's a real head-scratcher determining why a non-profit with a larger budget paid its top leader less than what an agency with a much smaller budget paid its executive director. It may be that Schniderman receives such an enormous salary because in addition to his executive director duties, he also puts in a lot of time fund-raising for his agency.
That may be, and there certainly could be many more reasons and justification why he should earn $334,551 in these belt-tightening times, and I'd like to hear from him and his agency if they will consider cutting his compensation and diverting the money to apples and tofu for AIDS patients.
So I called Lisa Bandera, the communications director for Food and Friends, spoke with her about my concerns. She promised to talk to her superiors and get back to me with answers, most likely early next week.
When I get a reply from Bandera and Food and Friends, I'll share it here.