Thursday, November 21, 2013

Who's the Highest Paid AIDS Executive at $430K in Compensation?


Every year, when the hot-meals AIDS nonprofit Food and Friends has filed its latest IRS 990, I receive a friendly note from their board secretary Mike Bento informing me the tax filing is now on their site and he also includes a PDF version for me. I much appreciate this favor and highly praise Food and Friends for posting seven years of 990s on their site. Compare that transparency with Freedom to Marry, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the LA Gay & Lesbian Community Center, three groups that refuse to share any 990s on their sites.

However, such transparency does nothing to negate the outrageously high amount of pay at the Washington, DC, area nonprofit.

The 2012 filing for Food and Friends shows that executive director Craig Shniderman, pictured, was compensated $430,000 for his services and the revenue was pegged at $7.9 million. As far as I can determine, after looking at the 990s for other AIDS service and research organizations, Shniderman's compensation makes him the highest paid AIDS executive director in America.

Compare his $430,000 pay with what Kevin Frost the executive director at AmFAR, the AIDS research nonprofit, is compensated. For the same time period, Frost received $415,000 and AmFAR's revenue was $27.1 million, according to their latest 990 on their site.

I asked Mike Bento for further explanation about Shniderman's compensation and he replied:

We do a five year contract with Craig in which we set a compensation level and increases based on a market study that looks at comparable non profits by size, budget, staff, and volunteers – that looks in the DC area, and at similar AIDS service orgs nationwide.  So we’d look at Gods Love, but probably not at AmFar.  We’d look at Whitman Walker (if they disclosed…..) but not as much at HRC for instance.

In 2011, Craig voluntarily didn’t take the 4% increase he was contracted for because the economy was tight and we weren’t able to give the rest of the staff a 4% increase.  In 2012 as things improved and we were able to budget increases for the entire staff Craig did come back up near the contract, but because of his voluntary give-backs, is still under the total comp level the contract authorized. 

Bottom line, it’s a lot of money.  He’s a highly paid executive.  He’s also a very high performing executive.  Name me another AIDS org ED that you’d recommend we trade him for?   

I’m only sort of kidding with that.  We look around the country, see folks struggling, see how they’ve disengaged from the gay community, and see them moving away from serving people living with AIDS, and we are pretty proud of that we’ve stayed true to our roots, to our community, and to our clients.

My bottom line is that the executive director of Food and Friends is making too much money, his compensation could be cut and the money redirected to improve and expand hot-meals and other nutritional needs for people living with AIDS and other clients of the organization.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

You ought to look at the compensation of the CEO of Desert AIDS Project in Palm Springs - about $250K vs their $16 mill budget. Approx same salary as now departed CEO of GMHC with a vastly higher budget.

Michael Petrelis said...

It amazes and saddens me that there is always enough money to pay the executives, the fundraising folks and various consultants and staffers, but lots of people with AIDS need drugs, food, assistance with paying the rent, etc.

Have you ever heard of an AIDS director not getting paid or having trouble paying the rent or not enough money for health needs?

Anonymous said...

I stopped giving to this organization years ago when I researched F&F's 990s and found out about this outlandish compensation. Back then, it was in the 200K range. That's simply too much for an AIDS-related charity and I give my money elsewhere. There's hundreds of qualified candidates in this city who would happily do this job (and just as well I might add) for hundreds of thousands of dollars less that could be used to serve the community. The "success" of F&F's fundraising seems to be simply be a result of an aggressive and expensive massive mail marketing campaign that read like political party letters. It's been years now and I still get donation request letters from this organization. They go straight in the trash.

Michael Petrelis said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for sharing that info. We all have a role to play in bringing transparency not only to Food and Friends, but all AIDS service organizations.

Anonymous said...

IAVI is another example of a "non-profit" with execs with ridiculous huge salaries. And on top of those hefty salaries, they get bonuses even when the organization have been struggling to stay afloat.
Form 990s are public but nobody cares to read them.

Michael Petrelis said...

Hi Anonymous, You are right. The compensation at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative for the executives is quite high. The most recent 990, for 2011, shows they ran $18M deficits in 2011 and 2010. Where in the 990 do I locate the info about the bonuses?

Anonymous said...

Bonuses are listed in Form 990 2011 page 45.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please help me find 990 for NMAC (National Minority AIDS Coalition)? I searched and searched and can't access. Might have to pay visit to Fdn Ctr Library. But if Mike could help, that'd be fantastic. Tks!