Wednesday, May 13, 2009

DC Ex: AIDS Group Losing Govt

Grant Because of Executive's Salary

(You'd be smiling too, if you were earning $382K. Craig Shniderman in a recent Blade photo. Credit: Henry Linser.)

Do you recall the Washington Blade's recent survey of compensation packages for gay and AIDS executives running our advocacy and direct-services organizations? Not easy to forget what was uncovered. The paper found that the salary paid to one local director was inching closer to the $400,000 mark:

Craig Shniderman, executive director of Food & Friends, which provides meals and nutritional services for homebound people with HIV/AIDS in the Washington, D.C. area, had the highest salary among the heads of the nation’s most prominent LGBT advocacy groups and groups that provide AIDS-related services in Los Angeles, New York and D.C.

A survey of the compensation paid to heads of 30 LGBT and AIDS organizations, conducted by the Washington Blade, shows that Shniderman had a total salary and benefits package of $382,200 in 2008, the latest period for which the organizations’ salary and annual revenue data could be obtained for a completed fiscal year.

Well, the public relations nightmare for Food and Friends, got a little worse in the past few days. That's because a DC suburb is cutting back on their grant to the group, all due to the outrageous sky-high level of pay for greedy Shniderman.

Let's look at the story from today's Washington Examiner, about the decision made by the suburban government, and the reaction from Food and Friends:

The Montgomery County Council is withholding funding for a local charity in an effort to send a message that the charity pays its director too much money.

The council voted to remove $55,000 in county funding for Food & Friends, a D.C. nonprofit that delivers meals to people living with HIV/AIDS and cancer, because its executive director, Craig Shniderman, made $357,447 in salary and benefits in 2007.
“This situation appears abusive,” said Councilman George Leventhal, D-at large, who spearheaded the effort to remove funding for Food & Friends.

According to Internal Revenue Service records, Food & Friends’ budget was more than $9.7 million in 2007. In 2006, the organization’s budget was $7.5 million and it paid Shniderman $334,551, tax records show.

What a minute here. The Examiner should have Googled "Craig Shniderman, salary, Food and Friends," and learned that the Blade reported this executive's pay was actually $382,200 for the most recent fiscal year. Okay, details on his current pay aside, it's still good to see the Montgomery County officials taking action.

“What we have here is the recommendation that 8,000 specialized meals and nutrition counseling will not be funded by the Montgomery County government on the strength of Mr. Leventhal’s personal objection to compensation determined after careful study by the board of directors of Food & Friends,” Robert Hall III, president of the board of directors at the charity, wrote the council in an e-mail.

Leventhal said he recognized that Food & Friends was entitled to set its own compensation levels, but said he wanted to “send a clear signal” that Shniderman’s pay was unacceptably high.

“They can keep paying him, but we’re not going to contract with them,” he said. ...

Oh, hogwash to what the nonprofit's board president says. The problem is not an elected official upset with Schniderman's salary; the relevant issue, in this economy is one HIV executive's big take home pay.

Thank you, Mr. Leventhal, for doing the right thing and sending a much-needed message to Schniderman and his board.

Will the people running Food and Friends ever develop some shame over how much Schniderman earns? Only if they keep getting bad press and donors object to how much of their donation is not making it to ill people in need of hot food.

No comments: