The Green Zone
Layoffs Hit NARAL, ACLU
By Garance Franke-Ruta
The combination of a nationwide recession and the election of a president who supports abortion rights and used to work as a civil rights lawyer has delivered a one-two punch to two of the nation's best-known liberal nonprofit groups: NARAL Pro-Choice America and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The ACLU has had to cut staff by 10 percent nationwide, thanks to the tough economic climate and reduced donations and grants, "including those from two foundations that were wiped out by the Bernard Madoff scandal," ACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero said in a statement Friday.
The steps taken by the group included: "instituting a hiring freeze, limiting travel, canceling conferences, and reducing nonpersonnel costs, resulting in savings of more than $9 million." But that wasn't enough, Romero continued. "Unfortunately, additional measures were needed and as a result, the ACLU National Office was forced to eliminate 36 staff positions." Romero also voluntarily took a 15 percent reduction in pay.
Today, NARAL Pro-Choice America also confirmed staff cuts. "NARAL Pro-Choice America is not immune to the most severe economic challenges facing Americans in more than 50 years," explained Ted Miller, the abortion rights group's communications director, in an e-mail. "Like many nonprofit organizations that rely on individual contributions, we have made adjustments. We have reduced staff and cut expenses to both preserve the organization's fiscal health and continue our work as a leader in advancing policies that protect women's freedom and privacy."
Miller declined to specify the size of the staff reduction, citing the privacy of "personnel actions."
Posted at 3:35 PM ET on Jan 28, 2009
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