In a Nov. 14 press release, Affirmations announced that it has suspended its search for a replacement executive director and laid off three employees: Development Director Katie Koch, Education and Training Manager Becca Budde and Offices and Facilities Coordinator Ryan Fowler. The release went on to describe the financial struggles the organization has been facing in recent years.
“Over the past several years the cost of running a large community center like AFFIRMATIONS has outpaced the level of revenue. This has led to the continual utilization of reserve funds to supplement the ongoing shortfall,” read the release. “Thus far in 2018 a total of $80K was needed from reserve funds to offset center costs. This strategy is not sustainable for the long-term survival of the center.”
This notice comes just days after the announcement of the community center’s Interim Executive Director Lilianna Reyes’ resignation, which goes into effect today. The release also stated that during this time remaining staff will report to the finance director who will report to the executive committee led by Board President Mike Flores. Flores left the country the morning after the announcement for a month-long work assignment overseas.
During a previous financial crisis in 2011, Affirmations was forced to take a mortgage out on the new building in Ferndale of $460,000, but they were able to eventually pay that off and rebuild a substantial cash reserve from better operating results and several large gifts and bequests. Flores told BTL that only $70,000 remains in the cash reserve account.
Community members can expect an update at the center’s next board meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 6:30 p.m.
More information about the center can be found online here.