The UJA-Federation of New York, the world’s largest local philanthropy, has fired 52 people, 11% of its total staff.
Federation CEO John S. Ruskay confirmed the layoffs to the Forward on March 11, the same day employees were notified. He said laid-off workers would receive severance and other forms of support, and would leave their jobs within a few days.
“We are doing everything we can to maintain support of our agencies and programs,” Ruskay said. The layoffs were part of an overall 12% administrative cut, which Ruskay attributed to the downturn in the economy, including a 10% decline in donations and a drop in the value of the endowment. The organization’s budget was not directly touched by the Madoff scandal.
UJA-Federation is just the latest in a series of Jewish charitable organizations that have made cuts and layoffs due to the ongoing recession.
Last year, the federation withheld 1.5% of all grants in order to meet basic needs; it also cut $1 million from its administrative budget.