Despite an alarming drop in revenue and contributions, the Young At Art (YAA) Children’s Museum kept paying large fees to its fundraising consultant. Since 2011, YAA lost nearly $600,000 in total revenue. These losses and fewer contributions forced YAA executive director Mindy Shrago to seek a new deal with Broward County Commissioners.
In 2013, Shrago came before the County Commission after YAA was unable to pay its $10 million bill. Broward County taxpayers bought the land and built the new museum space for YAA in Davie. “We have every intention of just being the best partner that we can be to the county and that’s the goal at this point, to just continue to work with them,” said Diane Weinbrum, a public relations and fundraising professional who works as a consultant for the museum. “We have every intention of honoring our financial commitment to Broward County.”
Six months later, Broward County Commissioners gave YAA an extra 29 years to pay its debt. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Young At Art would have until 2051 to pay off the taxpayers. Once again, Diane Weinbrum spoke on behalf of YAA.
“We’ve worked diligently with the county and have been a longtime partner with them,” said Diane Weinbrum, a consultant for the museum. “We will continue to fulfill our mission of providing inspiring, interactive experiences in which art is central to shaping young minds and enriching the lives of children and families in our community.”
Now, just two years later, County Commissioners are waiting for Young At Art Chairman David Di Pietro to submit another new plan.
Fundraiser Received Increasing Fees
As Diane Weinbrum talked about Young At Art being a “best partner” who would “diligently” pay off its financial commitments, the museum was increasing the fees it paid Weinbrum.
According to Federal IRS forms filed by Young At Art, Bradi, Inc (a company owned by Diane Weinbrum) was paid high fees even as the amount of money raised by Weinbrum dropped. For 2013, Bradi, Inc brought in $155,000 in contributions. Bradi, Inc was paid $32,990, more than 21% of the contributions.
A year later, Weinbrum brought in another $155,000 in contributions. Despite the same amount, Weinbrum’s fees increased; Bradi, Inc was paid $36,500, a 23% commission.
In 2015, Weinbrum brought in just $105,000 to Young At Art. Shockingly, Bradi, Inc received an even bigger commission. YAA paid Weinbrum $30,075, a 28% commission.
Other Museum Leader Paid Handsomely
Yesterday, REDBROWARD revealed YAA executive director Mindy Shrago received huge salary increases even while the museum revenues dropped. Young at Art’s 2013 Federal IRS Form 990 shows Shrago received a $140,387 yearly salary.
The 2014 Form 990 shows Shrago received a sizable salary increase. Shrago was paid $152,407 for a fifty hour work week. This was a $12,020 increase for the executive director of an ailing institution funded by Broward taxapayers.
In 2015, Shrago’s take home pay jumped to $157,828 dollars. While still seeking relief from the County, Shrago received a $5,421 raise.
Diane Weinbrum has not responded to a request for comment.