Bay Area charities and non-profits brace for layoffs

The Associated Press
Monday December 31, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO – Several San Francisco Bay area charities and nonprofit organizations are bracing for layoffs and budget cutbacks with the coming new year, citing lagging donations during the holiday season. 

The economic belt-tightening will affect shelters, counseling services, domestic violence prevention programs and more, heads of many agencies say. 

“It’s the ‘Perfect Storm’ — the combination of the economic downturn, increased caseloads and the impact of Sept. 11,” said Jan Masaoka, chief executive of San Francisco-based CompassPoint Nonprofit Services. “Everybody I know is laying off.” 

Shelter Against Violent Environments, a domestic violence organization in Fremont, experienced a $30,000 drop in donations this season, according to the organization’s director Rodney Clark. He said he may be forced to cut four or five staff positions. 

CityTeam Ministries, a San Jose-based service providing shelter, food and youth programs, has seen its donations lag $1.4 million behind last year’s total of $4.7 million. CityTeam’s director of marketing, Carol Patterson, said the organization has put on a hiring freeze and may conduct layoffs and program cuts next year. 

“It’s a different world,” Patterson told the San Jose Mercury News. “At some locations, twice as many people are asking for assistance.” 

Many nonprofits point to donations steered toward Sept. 11 funds as the cause for a dent in their budgets. 

Since Sept. 11, Concord-based STAND! Against Domestic Violence had a nearly 70 percent drop in donations. That meant an 8 percent pay cut for the agency’s staff of 130 and the need to reduce its operating budget by about $1 million, according to Devorah Levine, deputy director of programs. 

“We’ve been hit really hard since Sept. 11,” Levine said. 

The United Way of the Bay Area is $2 million behind its campaign goal of $55 million. That regional hub of the United Way serves San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties. 

Even smaller arms of the United Way are cash strapped. United Way Silicon Valley cut its funding to health and human service non-profits by 15 percent this year after donations fell $1.3 million short of last year’s totals, according to interim chief operations officer Michelle Martin. 

The hope for many of these organizations is the tried and true method of solicitation to companies that may have weathered the economic downturns of 2001. 

“I don’t care if we know them or not. We are picking up the phone and cold-calling them,” Martin said.