Tag Archives: pierson grant

Young At Art Director’s Salary Made Huge Jump After Broward Taxpayers Paid For New Museum

Young At Art (YAA) executive director Mindy Shrago took home a bigger paycheck after Broward taxpayers built a new home for her children’s museum in Davie. Despite YAA losing nearly $600,000 dollars in revenue over the last five years, Shrago continues to collect her six-figure salary. According to public records, Shrago has received big salary raises even while she desperately tried to restructure the Davie museum’s financial deal with Broward County. But Federal tax records show, Shrago’s first big jump in salary came after her new “Taj Mahal” opened in 2012.

A review of YAA tax forms dating as far back as 2005 show Mindy Shrago always collected a six-figure paycheck. In 2005 and 2006, Shrago took home $100,000 dollars from her non-profit organization. The 2007 Form 990 shows Shrago’s pay increased to $121, 153 dollars, reflecting a $21,153 raise. From 2008 to 2011, records show Mindy Shrago was paid $125,000 per year for running the museum.

In May 2012, YAA moved from a modest strip mall in Davie to a new building County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger called the “Taj Mahal.” Shrago convinced Broward County Commissioners to purchase land in Davie and build a fancy new home for the museum. In exchange, YAA was to pay the County $1 million dollars a year over eleven years.

One year later, when YAA failed to pay, the County agreed to spread the payments over thirty-one years.

Young at Art’s 2013 Federal IRS Form 990 shows Shrago received a $140,387 yearly salary. A $15,387 increase from the year before. Shrago received this hefty raise even while claiming YAA could not pay taxpayers.

Even though YAA was still in the middle of a serious financial crisis, the 2014 tax form shows Shrago received another 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.

A year later, Shrago’s take home pay jumped to $157,828 dollars. While still seeking relief from the County, Shrago received a $5,421 raise.

It’s unclear if the YAA Board recommended these increases each year or whether they were part of Shrago’s contract.

One wonders if YAA chairman David Di Pietro has the courage to ask Mindy Shrago why she kept taking home more money even as revenues fell.

Broward Public Relations Firm Kept 64% Of Contributions To Young At Art

yaa-bannerAccording to forms filed with the IRS, Young At Art (YAA) children’s museum in Davie allowed a local public relations firm to keep more than 64 percent of contributions it helped to collect. The 2013 Federal Form 990 shows Pierson Grant public relations brought $60,000 in contributions to YAA. The form shows Pierson Grant kept $38, 662 as its fee for fundraising. Young At Art kept just $21,338 of the money raised by Pierson Grant.

Form 990 for 2014 and 2015 do not list any payments to Pierson Grant. The firm is currently listed on the YAA website as an “in-kind sponsor” of the museum. This exorbitant 64% fee is just the latest questionable financial practice by the taxpayer-supported children’s museum.

Previously, REDBROWARD reported Bradi, Inc, a fundraising company, was paid high commission fees even as the total donations collected fell.  In 2013, Bradi, Inc (owned by Diane Weinbrum) 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 raising the same amount, Weinbrum was paid $36,500, a 23% commission.

In 2015, Weinbrum only brought in $105,000 to the museum. For some unknown reason, Bradi, Inc received a 28% commission. YAA paid Weinbrum $30,075 for her work.

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.

All of these large salaries and fees were paid while Shrago and Weinbrum pleaded with the Broward County Commission to bailout the faltering children’s museum. YAA is currently seeking more changes to their deal with the County.

Did donors and patrons realize sizable portions of their contributions were paid to consultants and public relations flacks? Were there verbal or written contracts with these paid consultants? Did YAA board members approve of these payouts? Did YAA institute any cost-cutting measures while trying to get financial help from Broward taxpayers?

Broward taxpayers deserve answers. The County Commission needs to ask Shrago and YAA Chairman David Di Pietro about these financial issues as well as the hypersexualized nature of some YAA sponsored exhibits.