Focus on the Family announced a $27 million reduction in its budget today, a move the global Christian ministry said was necessitated by twin economic challenges.
The adjustment resulted in the elimination of 110 jobs, most from the organization’s internal service and volume-driven ministry areas. The decisions were made in light of Focus’ core mission and competencies, meaning there were only minimal reductions in such key efforts as the daily radio broadcast, Web site content and resources for couples and parents.
"We’ve chosen to scale back on our infrastructure," said Gary Schneeberger, Focus' vice president of ministry communications. "There will be little or no discernible impact to the families we serve, because over the last few years we’ve leveraged technology to increase the capacity and flexibility of our team."
All employees whose positions have been eliminated will receive financial transition packages, as well as extended medical benefits, offers of free counseling and help in their job searches.
"This is not a happy time, obviously, having to say 'goodbye' to some of our ministry family," Schneeberger said. "But our mission, and the measure of our success, isn’t how many of us work here; it’s whether those of us who work here are helping families thrive. We are, and we will keep doing so – robustly."
Schneeberger cited a pair of circumstances as leading to the budget reduction: the ongoing worldwide economic downturn, which has meant "many of our donors just can't be as generous as they have in the past because of financial challenges in their own households"; and the February departure, nearly eight years in the making, of the ministry’s founder, Dr. James Dobson.
"Business analysts say it’s not unusual to see organizations transitioning from a founder’s leadership lose 50 percent or more of their support,” he noted. " We feel blessed that even though the pain of these reductions is very real, we have not been affected to that degree. We still expect to receive more than $100 million this year from our friends – that’s a lot of resources to do a lot of good work."
And the good work will continue in earnest, he said, citing as an example the ministry’s successful Wait No More initiative, which has helped prompt more than 1,000 families nationwide to begin the process of adopting children from foster care.
Also continuing, Schneeberger said, will be Focus on the Family’s work to hold government accountable and promote responsible social policy that benefits families.
"Under our president, Jim Daly, we have remained and will remain as resolutely committed to our public-policy advocacy as we have been at any point in our history," Schneeberger said. "Jim’s style may be different than Dr. Dobson’s, but his passion to defend truth is exactly the same.
Those are just two reasons the ministry is excited and confident about its future.
"Millions listen to our radio broadcast and visit our web site each week. We have contact with as many as 8,000 families per day through mail, phone calls, e-mail, in-person visits. More people than ever are turning to us and our free telephone counseling services in times of crisis," Schneeberger said. "We will continue to help them strengthen their marriages. We will continue to help them raise happy, healthy kids. We will continue to love them, share truth with them and come alongside them as they navigate their way through an increasingly broken world."
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