Focus on the Family pulls back
James Dobson's Focus on the Family has announced that it is eliminating 100 positions from its staff of 1,300 (that's about 8 percent). Of those positions, however, 66 are unfilled, so the ministry is only laying off 34 employees. They are the first layoffs in the organization's 26-year history.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that the layoffs were "low to midlevel positions across the ministry." Some employees have already left the ministry after being informed of the layoffs this week. Focus spokesman Paul Hetrick says that some of the laid off employees will be considered for open positions the ministry didn't cut.

Focus on the Family is also cutting $5 million from its $130 million budget this year. "Some programs will be eliminated or drastically reduced in scope," Dobson said in a January 30 memo to his staff, but he didn't say which ones.

The organization will also cut merit pay increases and travel, drop the frequency of Focus on the Family magazine to eight issues a year (it's now at 10), and eliminate an office cafeteria and annual employee picnic.

"What we are thankful for at Focus on the Family is so far, we have not had to undergo or take drastic measures," Hetrick told the Gazette. "This has impacted us, and I don't mean to make light of it. But it has impacted us in a lighter way than it has other nonprofit organizations."

That's true to a large extent. The Luis Palau Evangelistic Association also recently announced layoffs, for example. But the Gazette's religion reporter, Eric Gorski, notes that two other major ministries based in Colorado Springs—Compassion International and the Navigators—are seeing growth.

Focus has been hurting over the last several years. Donations have ...

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