Layoffs Continue At Brand-Name Nonprofits

January 16, 2017       Mark Hrywna      

The discontinuation of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) will mean the loss of 22 jobs at the Clinton Foundation, effective April 15. It is the third well-known nonprofit to announce layoffs during the past two weeks.

The foundation filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) with the New York State Department of Labor on Thursday indicating 22 layoffs as a result of the discontinuation of the CGI. The initiative is one of several parts to the Clinton Foundation, which last year reported 528 individuals employed during calendar year 2015, according to its Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990.

The end of the annual conference was among a host of changes announced by the foundation in August as Hillary Clinton was running for president but the only one that would occur regardless whether she had won. Hillary stepped down from the foundation’s board in April 2015 before announcing her candidacy but husband William and daughter Chelsea continue to serve on the board.

As of 2015, 540 million people in more than 180 were benefiting from the more than 3,400 commitments made by members of the CGI community, including commitments addressing the Nepal earthquake and Ebola epidemic, investing in America’s infrastructure, and combating international elephant poaching, Clinton Foundation President Donna Shalala said in an annual letter to supporters.

According to the Clinton Foundation’s Form 990 for the fiscal year ending 2015, the Clinton Global Initiative reported program expenses of $25.7 million and program revenue of $1.1 million. Overall, the foundation reported total revenue of $116 million last year against total expenses of $98.8 million.

Clinton Global Initiative CEO Robert S. Harrison earned total compensation of $261,417, including base compensation of $223,065. Eric Braverman, who preceded Shalala as foundation president during an 18-month tenure, received a $330,000 severance payment, according to the latest annual tax form.

The Clinton Foundation isn’t the only large nonprofit that recently announced layoffs. A year after a reorganization that eliminated 60 positions, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (CWF) last week revealed another round of eliminations despite rising revenues overall and from admissions.

Approximately 40 positions were cut this year, affecting the interpretation and communications departments, according to a report in the Williamsburg Yorktown Daily. The layoffs applied to employees in various locations of the Education, Research and Historic Interpretation and Strategic Communications divisions. A spokesman for CWF did not return messages seeking comment by presstime.

Last year’s cuts were with the Leaning Ventures Division and the Division of Research and Historical Interpretation, affecting 2 percent of its 2,560 employees. The changes were meant to “refocus on educational initiatives, which will put more emphasis on the Historic Area and its costumed interpreters and other front-line educators, and require the elimination of staff largely ‘higher up the chain of command’ as well as in the Hospitality Division to free up the necessary financial resources for the change.”

Total revenue has been climbing for CWF in recent years, up by $10 million each of the past two years, to $159 million in 2015, according to recent tax filings. As recently as 2012, total revenue was $115 million, including a $20-million shortfall. CWF has since reported three consecutive years of revenues outpacing expenses, including by $20 million last year.

The layoffs come in spite of a number of revenue streams growing in recent years. Admissions revenue has been up steadily, reaching $19 million last year. Contributions and grants also have risen, from $27 million in 2012 to almost $40 million last year. Investment income was up by $10 million, to $71 million last year.

On the expense side, “other employee benefits” was one noticeable category that saw a sharp increase, jumping from $6 million to more than $11 million in 2015, according to CWF’s Form 990. “Other salaries and wages” also were up, from $46.4 million to $48.5 million last year.

The organization reported a total of 2,031 individuals employed during calendar year 2015, according to its most recent IRS Form 990.

In Texas, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, ranked the top in the country by U.S. News and World Report, cut staffing by about 5 percent, a reduction of nearly 1,000 workers. Ronald DePinho, president of the center, announced the cuts, citing a recommendation from the center’s Shared Governance Committee.

“I can assure you, during the last several months, and more recently during the decision-making process, great effort and compassion have gone into exploring all options to make sustainable changes and to avoid impacting our treasured colleagues,” DePinho said via the announcement. “Great improvements have been made through this committed effort, but more must be done in our overall strategy to align expenses to revenues.”

Escalating healthcare costs, reduction in reimbursements and expanding needs for an aging population have necessitated moves to improve patient care while reducing costs of delivery, DePinho said. Electronic record systems have been pursued to streamline care and eliminate unnecessary testing and other services. While years of planning and increased staffing helped the center launch its system in March, further optimization is necessary in order to realize productivity gains, he said.

Media outlets have reported that the system, in addition to other factors such as healthcare costs and reimbursements, led to a loss of more than $100 million from September through November. It has also been reported that the center has nearly $3 billion in reserves. The cuts will reportedly save the hospital $120 million.

Sought for additional comment on the nature of the cuts and the center’s finances, a spokesperson provided a statement echoing many of DePinho’s points. “MD Anderson’s position as the world’s most impactful cancer center is built on the excellence of our people, so this is a sobering day,” according to the spokesperson’s statement. “Physicians will not be impacted by the reduction, which will allow MD Anderson to continue providing exceptional patient care and decisive research. Our top priority remains our patients who are counting on us to save their lives.”

  • Clinton Foundation
  • Clinton Global Initiative
  • Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
  • layoffs