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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

Shanti Hopes Layoffs Will Avoid Budget Crisis


Bay Area Reporter (10.02.03) - Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Shanti, a San Francisco AIDS agency, is laying off nearly a dozen employees and instituting a restructuring plan in an effort to head off a budget crisis. The two-year restructuring plan, according the agency, will consolidate parallel functions and modernize fiscal and administrative systems to create sustaining operating reserves.

"It makes us more responsive to the needs of the people we serve," said Shanti Executive Director Hywel Sims. "It's been difficult but we hope it works." Sims and four top managers have taken a one-month pay cut this year that equals $35,000. Other staff have not been asked to do the same. Shanti expects the staff cutbacks and salary reductions to save it $900,002 during the next two years. Sims noted the staff have not had raises "in four years, at least." Sims was hired to head Shanti nine months ago at a salary of $130,000 annually.

Sims said the measures will not result in a loss of services to clients. Most of the laid-off employees work in finance, administration and development. One director, two administrative personnel and three drivers are being laid off. Two other positions, one each in finance and development, are having their hours reduced. The 18 percent staff cut leaves Shanti with 46 employees. The agency is still recruiting a new director of development and communication.

Shanti, which has an annual budget of $4.1 million, has seen individual and corporate donations fall over the past year, and the agency did not meet any of its fundraising goals for the fiscal year that ended June 30. The agency receives 43 percent of its budget from government funding and 57 percent from donations. Upcoming fundraising events include Shanti's seventh annual Ride for Life motorcycle ride on Oct. 11 and its 29th annual awards gala on Oct. 23. The Consul General of Russia, Victor N. Lizun, and his wife, Irina, will chair the gala. For more information, telephone 415-674-4764.


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