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NAACP Layoffs Hit National Office

By Mark Hrywna - May 6, 2014

Amid a search for a new president and CEO and the recent resignation of its Los Angeles chapter president, the NAACP plans to cut about 7 percent of staff at its Baltimore, Md. headquarters.

The national office released a 94-word statement that offered few details: “Like many nonprofits in transition during a difficult economic climate, the NAACP has taken proactive steps to improve the financial stability of the 105-year-old Association moving forward. In furtherance of this goal the National NAACP is undergoing a 7 percent reduction in staff. We believe this step will yield a leaner, more nimble organization for the 21st century.”

According to the statement, “The NAACP will remain steadfast and undeterred as we continue to advance the mission of the NAACP – to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of all persons to eliminate race-based discrimination.”

Staff at the national office was reduced by nine positions, from 130 to 121, according to Director of Communications Derek Turner. The organization hopes to introduce a new president and CEO at its national convention on July 19-23 in Las Vegas, Nev. Lorraine C. Miller has been serving as president and CEO on an interim basis.

Past President and CEO Benjamin Jealous is credited with growing the NAACP’s donor base and stabilizing its finances before leaving at the end of 2013. He was the youngest-ever CEO of the 105-year-old NAACP when he was appointed in 2008. He succeeded Bruce Gordon, who served less than two years as CEO amid differences with former board chairman Julian Bond.

The Center for American Progress announced on Monday that Jealous will be a Senior Fellow focused on tracing political trends impacting civil and human rights. In March, he joined Kapor Capital, an Oakland, Calif.-based venture capital firm dedicated to socially conscious investing, and its Kapor Center for Social Impact.

The national organization’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990 for 2012, the most recent year available, reported $43.2 million in total revenue and 181 individuals employed during calendar year 2012. Net assets were reported as almost $11.6 million, up from $10.9 million the prior year. As CEO, Jealous earned total compensation of about $320,000 last year.

Last week, the president of the NAACP’s Los Angeles chapter, Leon Jenkins, stepped down amid questions and criticisms about the organization honoring Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. The chapter was to honor Sterling with a second lifetime achievement award at its centennial gala this month but canceled the offer after a recorded conversation made public indicated he made derogatory remarks about minorities.

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