Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Some furloughed Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation employees were able to return, but the foundation is still financially hurting

(WYDaily/ Courtesy of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation)
While some furloughed employees were able to return back to work, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation still has a long way to go before they are back to normal. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation)

It has been several months since the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation has decided to furlough more than 200 employees as part of a long-term solution, part of the budget strategy announced back in April.

All part of the many shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Christy Coleman, executive director of the organization, created the strategy that involved a multi-tiered approach with both long-term and short-term solutions.

Since the announcement, the foundation has received a notice of potential unemployment claims for 124 individuals.

Now that Virginia is in Phase 3 of reopening, some businesses are returning to a closer sense of normalcy. The foundation said the furloughed employees may be brought back as visitation creeps back to a normal level.

“Approximately 75 employees have been able to return to work, however many of them are working fewer hours than they were before the pandemic impacted our regional travel and tourism industry,” Frank N. Stovall, deputy executive director of administration, wrote in an email.

Current employees are still greatly affected. All employees, including Coleman and Stovall, are required to take between four and 30 days of unpaid leave depending on their salary.

“Having to take unpaid leave is never easy, it equates to annual pay cut – for some employees it is as high as 12% – but it is a decision we had to make in order to operate within our available resources,” Stovall said.

But there are positions that still remain vacant because of the job freezes still in place for state agencies.

RELATED STORY: Coronavirus: Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation to furlough more than 200 employees, cut expenses

“JYF has held a variety of positions vacant to reduce costs associated with personnel. These positions cover a wide range of job duties – from landscaping to senior level managers,” Stovall said.

As part of short-term budget solutions, the foundation did look at the annual support from both the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Inc., and the Jamestown-Yorktown Educational Trust.

“These organizations support approximately 12.5% of the total agency budget, and that is no different this year. However, keep in mind that the revenue sources that these nonprofit affiliates rely on have been impacted by the pandemic just as the state’s budget has been impacted,” Stovall said.

Stovall said the foundation has received $39,000 in CARES Act support.

But the foundation is going to need much more if operations are to resume at complete normalcy. The remaining challenge is still visitation.

“We simply need more people to come out and enjoy the museums,” Stovall said. “We’ve taken significant steps to make the museum experience as safe as possible by disinfecting frequently, and requiring staff and visitors to wear masks while inside our museums.”


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