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Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

Ruth Eckerd cuts staff amid falling donations

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CLEARWATER — Sagging donations and grant funding recently led Ruth Eckerd Hall to lay off 13 employees — roughly, 6 percent of the nonprofit performing arts center’s total staff.

Of those laid off, nine were full-time, and four were part time workers. The cuts impacted all departments at Ruth Eckerd.

Prior to the cuts, which were announced Thursday, Ruth Eckerd Hall had 68 full-time and 150 part-time employees.

The cuts are not expected to affect Ruth Eckerd’s $7.6-million overhaul of the Capitol Theatre in downtown Clearwater. That project is being funded with the help of state and city dollars, as well as donations.

A decline in donations and grant funding prompted the staff reductions, Ruth Eckerd CEO Zev Buffman said in a statement.

“Just as all nonprofit performing arts organizations around the country, we rely heavily on the kindness of private and corporate donations, as well as strong state and federal funding, all of which has been challenged by the tough economy,” he said in the statement. “As we come out of the recession to a new normal, we must tighten our belts like so many other nonprofits around the country in an effort to become more efficient and effective as we continue our relentless pursuit of our mission.”

kbradshaw@tampatrib.com

(727) 215-7999

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