June 2010 Reductions in Force

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) announced a series of budget cuts aimed at ensuring the organization remains in a stable financial position.

Garden officials identified seven staff positions that have been subject to an involuntary reduction in force as part of these cuts.

Five of these positions were professional and managerial employees. A severance package—which includes severance pay based on years of service and the employer health insurance contribution through the end of June—has been offered to those staff members affected by the reduction in force.

“I am deeply grateful for the work of these employees, and for the contributions they have made to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden,” said Patrick Larkin, RSABG executive director. “I regret the effect these reductions will have on our colleagues, but these steps are necessary to enable the Garden to continue its important work, both now, and into the future.”

RSABG Board of Trustees, Board of Overseers and senior staff developed a thoughtful and strategic plan to help ensure that RSABG remains on solid financial ground for years ahead.

Over the past year, RSABG implemented steps to raise revenues including charging an admission fee for nonmembers, establishing Grow Native Nursery, increasing contract revenue through the field studies program and adding event programming. Personnel changes, including freezing salaries, not filling vacated nonessential staff positions and suspending employer contributions to staff retirement plans, were also put into place in an effort to avoid a reduction in staff at RSABG as well. These steps made a significant impact, but did not fully eliminate the need for a reduction in staffing.

RSABG’s endowment, which historically had accounted for up to 70 percent of the core-operating budget, lost approximately 23 percent of its value during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, and the organization continues to be cautious about future endowment growth. The current economic climate also has taken its toll on donations to RSABG, as many individuals, foundations and corporations have reduced or redirected their philanthropic giving.

The fiscal year operating budget for 2010-11 is $4.5 million this represents a 12 percent reduction over last year’s budget. In this upcoming year, the draw on the endowment will represent 43 percent of the operational revenue. RSABG leaders are confident that reducing costs and increasing revenue will position the organization for future growth and to continue to fulfill its mission to promote botany, conservation and horticulture of California’s native flora.