Whispers of cuts at JDC

The Fundermentalist has heard from reliable sources that the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee could be planning significant layoffs very soon. To be clear, however, this claim has not been confirmed.

The organization, which passed a 2008 budget that included a $9 million shortfall, has been hit hard by the falling dollar.

Costs overseas for services have shot up as foreign currency becomes stronger and the dollar falls, giving the organization less buying power. The JDC’s executive director, Steve Schwager, told JTA in December that that could lead to the need to fire staff overseas to keep up with the inflation.

Well it sounds like those cuts may indeed happen, and the cuts may include New York staff as well as those working overseas.

After the JDC held its annual board meetings in New York two weeks ago, the Fundermentalist caught wind that JDC might be laying off up to 60 employees.

But on May 16 a JDC spokesman quashed those rumors. The spokesman did tell the Fundermentalist that the organization had instituted a hiring freeze overseas, but said that layoffs were not forthcoming.

Last week, the rumor of cutbacks resurfaced, with the added caveat that they could happen soon.

JDC spokeswoman Claire Shultz would not confirm or deny the rumor when the Fundermentalist called her on Thursday.

“Every aspect of the organization is being looked at right now,” she said, acknowledging the need to deal with the budget crunch. “We are looking at everything now.”

As for firings in the near future?

“I don’t know where you heard that,” she said, adding that the falling dollar is hurting businesses everywhere. “This is a universal issue for profits and non-profits.”

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