Charity Navigator Says Independent Consultant Got Young At Art Review Wrong

Fourth In A Multi-Part Investigation

After enduring months of intimidation from Broward County officials, it’s no surprise Louise Stevens’ “independent review” of the Young At Art (YAA) children’s museum ended with a mistake-filled performance at a County Commission workshop. On May 5, 2015, Stevens reported her findings to Broward County Commissioners.  As REDBROWARD previously reported, Stevens disregarded her tried and true methods of independent review after a Broward County Libraries business administrator threatened her reputation.

Multiple sources confirm that Jeff Tottenhoff, a Broward Libraries business administrator, delivered a threat to Louise Stevens: issue a negative report about Young At Art or your reputation would be ruined.

Sources confirm Stevens told the YAA board about the threat. When reached by REDBROWARD, Stevens had no comment.

However another source confirmed the early morning meeting took place at the Salad Bowl, an eatery located near the main library in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

When contacted by REDBROWARD, Tottenhoff admitted he met Stevens at the Salad Bowl for breakfast. He said he “just wanted to meet” Stevens. Tottenhoff said any claims that he threatened Stevens’ career and reputation were “patently false.”

Despite the denials, Stevens short-circuited her investigative process. On May 5, Stevens appeared before the County Commission to discuss her final report. In a total deviation from Stevens’ normal operating procedures, the 104 page report was completed without input from YAA.


At the May 5th workshop, County Commissioner Mark Bogen asked Stevens about YAA’s fundraising capabilities. Commissioners were concerned about the museum’s ability to repay County loans. Bogen asked, “Louise, it says here, it says efficiency at raising funds is one of the worst–who says that?” Stevens stated she used the tools from the highly-respected Charity Navigator website.

According to its website, the non-profit Charity Navigator, “works to guide intelligent giving. [W]e aim to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace, in which givers and the charities they support work in tandem to overcome our nation’s and the world’s most persistent challenges.” Charity Navigator has been endorsed by numerous non-profits and news organizations like TIME, Forbes and Bill O’Reilly of FOX News.

In response to Commissioner Bogen, Stevens stated:

When you apply the measurement tools, the rubric, if you will, that Charity Navigator puts out–[YAA] come in at zero. And it’s a-it’s a–it’s a straightforward statistical evaluation that anyone can do. And it is literally the cost that they show on their Form 990 to the amount of funds raised. And it comes–straight off of the Form 990.

Bogen asked, “Okay. So it’s correct?”

“Yes.” said Louise Stevens.


YAA officials were shocked when Stevens claimed their Charity Navigator score was zero stars. YAA supporters were shocked when they applied the YAA numbers to the Charity Navigator formula; So shocked, they contacted officials at Charity Navigator.

REDBROWARD obtained emails from Tim Gamory, the acting Chief Operating Officer of Charity Navigator. Gamory wrote, “”Based on our current methodology, Young At Art would have a 4 star rating overall. Perfect Accountability and Transparency Score.”

In a response to Stevens’ final report, Young At Art claimed to find more errors.

So how did Louise Stevens get her facts so wrong?

According to Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry, Louise Stevens had been creating a “fictionalized” report all along.


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