Layoffs, Buy-Outs At Food For The Poor

Food For The Poor cut nine positions late last month, primarily in special events and legacy and gift planning, and is offering staff buy-outs.

The nine positions account for slightly more than 2 percent of staff and comprised “functional cuts in areas where we are changing the way we fundraise,” said Kathy Skipper, director of public relations at Food For The Poor. Legacy and gift planning is moving to a blended fundraising model, she said, while special events will be “more of an outsourced model.”

The charity, based in Coconut Creek, Fla., just outside Boca Raton, also has offered voluntary separation packages to employees who are 66 years old or older and have been with the organization for more than five years. A small number of employees are expected to accept the incentive and the organization will have a better idea of estimated savings by early October once eligible employees make their decisions, she added.

“We believe these moves will align us more efficiently and help us move into 2020 with eyes firmly focused on our mission to serve the poorest of the poor,” Skipper said via email.

Founded in 1982, Food For The Poor reported 428 individuals employed during the year 2018, according to the most recent tax Form 990. It is among the largest charities in the nation, particularly when it comes to gifts-in-kind (GIK). Last year, the charity ranked No. 21 in the NPT 100, a study of the nation’s largest nonprofits that derive at least 10 percent of revenue from public support. Of the $947 million in total revenue reported for 2017, about $800 million was in the form of noncash contributions.

For the most recent year, 2018, total revenue was $942 million, with about $802 million in noncash contributions, including $536 million in drugs and medical supplies and $160 million in clothing and household goods.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has taken issue with certain valuations made by Food For The Poor. The organization was among three that has been appealing cease-and-desist orders issued last year by the attorney general over valuations made on pharmaceutical donations. An administrative law judge recently ruled that the AG did not prove the charities violated Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). He also ruled that statements in the charities’ solicitations were misleading and could create confusion or misunderstanding because they cited spending efficiency ratios that included both GIK and cash donations, not just monetary gifts. The charities are expected to appeal.

The AG also has backed legislation to change how charities value GIK. Amended versions of A.B. 1181 recently were approved by the legislature and sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom.