Hadassah offices closing as lifetime members increase


(JTA) — Sixteen Hadassah offices are closing in the United States as more than 24,000 women became life members of the organization this year.

The closure of the offices nationwide, and the consolidation of five others, is part of an ongoing plan to streamline the organization and reduce costs that began three years ago.

"These days, the organization just doesn’t need so many individual brick and mortar campuses; what we need is to bring people and resources together to share ideas, and Hadassah is proud of the great progress it has made in doing so," a Hadassah spokeswoman told JTA.

"With the speed of communication these days, we just don’t need as many offices; people can call each other up or send e-mails in order to get in touch. Even as a nonprofit — in fact, especially as a nonprofit — like all businesses, Hadassah works to be as efficient and effective with its members’ contributions as it can."

Closures include the office in Cleveland and the consolidation of three offices in Boston that are located a few miles from each other.

Hadassah has 28 regions throughout North America, which include 597 chapters and 408 groups.

In 2009, the organization laid off 80 employees across the country, roughly a quarter of its U.S. staff. The efforts at streamlining, which already had been under discussion, came following a downturn in the stock market, as well as tens of millions of dollars in losses in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme.

The organization announced Monday that national lifetime membership had increased since Jan. 1 by 24,023. The increase came as part of the organization’s Centennial Campaign to recognize the 100th anniversary of Hadassah’s founding. The lifetime memberships were available at the reduced rate of $100 instead of the regular $360.

Combined with annual memberships for 2011, total membership fundraising has hit more than $2.1 million this year.

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