Focus on the Family Slashes 202 Jobs

The most well-known pro-family group announced this week that it eliminated 202 jobs to counterbalance the drop in donations caused by the sharp economic downturn.

A total of 149 workers were laid off and another 53 vacant positions were cut at Focus on the Family, according to Colorado Springs-based newspaper The Gazette. The job cuts represent the largest of its kind in the 32-year history of the Colorado Springs-based ministry.

Now, the ministry has about 950 staffs, down from 1,150. A significant portion of the cuts are in management (20 percent).

FOTF's chief operating officer, Glenn Williams, revealed that while fiscal 2008 saw record high donations, monetary gifts started to decline in October – the ministry's new fiscal year.

After polling major donors it was understood that the ministry should expect their income to shrink for fiscal 2009. The organization reduced its budget from $160 million in fiscal 2008 to $138 million for fiscal 2009 in response to the expected decrease in income.

"Looking at October trends and talking to donors who are not in a position where they can give, we thought we'd be facing a more severe decision in January or February if we waited," Williams explained.

Nearly all of Focus' income (95 percent) is derived from donations, with book sales making up only the small remaining portion.

In addition to job cuts, the ministry is also reducing costs by ending the print editions of four of its eight magazines.

Popular magazines Plugged In, Brio, Brio & Beyond, and Breakaway will now only be available online.

Monday's job cut announcement follows a similar layoff in 2007, but on a much smaller scale.

Last September, the ministry laid off 30 employees and reassigned 15 others to new jobs, according to The Associated Press.

"It's a sign of the times," Mike Kazmierski, president of Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp, concluded. "In the case of Focus, we believe it's part of the economy, and as the economy recovers we expect a lot of those jobs to come back."

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