The Grand Canyon chapter of the American Red Cross said Thursday it will lay off more than two dozen employees before the end of the year because of a drop in donations.
“The economy is what it is,” Grand Canyon chapter CEO Ken Krueger said. “If people are experiencing a decline in disposable income, then it follows that charitable giving will also decline.”
Krueger said the disaster relief organization had to make a choice between keeping employees and providing community services.
He said the chapter will eliminate 21 full-time positions and seven part-time positions as part of staff restructuring designed to reduce the chapter’s budget by $1.2 million.
Krueger said the layoffs will reduce the chapter’s paid staff by about 40 percent. But he said the chapter also has more than 1,000 volunteers, who make up about 95 percent of the staff.
Krueger said Red Cross donations started dropping about 18 months ago. Besides economic factors, he said the Grand Canyon chapter struggles to generate support in the absence of major catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina or the San Diego wildfires.
He said people need to remember that the Red Cross helps families every day cope with smaller crises such as house fires and flooding.
“We are here every day,” he said.
The Grand Canyon chapter provides service to 10 of Arizona’s 15 counties, including Maricopa County.
The Tucson-based Southern Arizona Chapter and Arizona Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross were not affected by the restructuring of the Grand Canyon chapter.
Tribune writer Nicole Beyer contributed to this report.