CHARLOTTE, N.C. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is reducing its staff by 10 percent, laying off 55 employees, according to a report in the Charlotte Observer.
A BGEA spokesman, Ken Barun, confirmed the Observer's Feb. 24 report, telling the newspaper that donor gifts have been "relatively flat" while sales of books and other products has declined as has interest income from the organization's endowment.
The organization's budget is being pared by 15 percent, back to $84 million, through the layoffs and other reductions in expenses, Barun told the newspaper.
The country's economic downturn, however, isn't the only catalyst for the cutbacks, Barun said, recounting that BGEA President Franklin Graham had requested in mid-2007 a review of costs toward making the organization more efficient yet still capable of its varied ministry initiatives.
Barun was unavailable for comment to Baptist Press at press time on Feb. 25. No news release was posted on the BGEA website's media section.
The Charlotte Observer reported that Barun said the layoffs would take effect by March 20, with departing full-time employees to receive a severance package, outplacement services and spiritual counseling.
The Graham organization is based in Charlotte.