With giving to the organization down significantly, Women of the ELCA’s executive board adopted a 2021 budget that will change the staff configuration. The new staffing model was announced on Dec. 16. Eight of 10 on staff will move to part-time positions on Feb. 1, and two will remain full-time.
Executive Director Linda Post Bushkofsky and Gather Editor Elizabeth Hunter will keep their full-time jobs. The remaining eight positions will go part-time, with seven of those positions continuing through the end of August 2021. Gather‘s managing editor Sarah Carson will work part-time indefinitely. See staff positions here.
The board, in a special meeting Dec. 5, approved a 2021 budget of $1,636,250 or $729,750 (31 percent) less than the 2020 budget of $2,366,000.
“We are recommending a budget best suited for our finances given the pandemic and the reduction in income we’ve been receiving year after year,” said Sara Larson, chairman of the churchwide budget and finance committee.
“For many years, we have been trying to get by and making ways for there not to be staff cuts,” she added. “However, we cannot continue to operate in this manner. We have to come up with a new plan.”
New staffing model
In announcing the new staffing model, Bushkofsky said, “I see the time between January and August as allowing focused strategic thinking about how the organization will meet its mission in the future and what staffing arrangement will best serve the organization into that future. That strategic thinking will build upon the work already accomplished by the churchwide executive board during the 2017-2020 triennium.”
“What staffing will look like come September 1, 2021, is unknown, beyond the work of the executive director, editor of Gather, and managing editor of Gather,” Bushkofsky said.
Strategic thinking by the board and staff will inform future staffing decisions, she said. Over the next several months, additional information will also become available to assist in making those staffing decisions, such as 1) actual revenue received in FY2020, 2) the pandemic trajectory, and 3) revenue received in quarters one and two of FY2021.
In other actions, the board:
- Amended an investment policy adopted at its regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 24, 2020, that will allow the entire executive board to decide where to distribute gifts over $25,000.
- Approved a recently received bequest of $152,000 to be distributed “where needed most.”
- Authorized the executive director and board treasurer to open a bank account at BMOHarris for general operating purposes and an account at Edward Jones for the recent $152,00 bequest.
- Heard an informational update on the status of the triennial convention and gathering in Phoenix, Ariz. Both in-person events were postponed until August 2021.
Feature photo: Top row, l-r, Linda Post Bushkofsky, Elizabeth Hunter, Sarah Carson. Middle row, l-r, Valora K Starr, Elizabeth McBride, Terri Lackey, Eva James Yeo. Bottom row, l-r, Deana Velandra, Audrey Riley, Jen DeLeon.