The question is bound to come up: Could Focus have taken the $500,000-plus donation it gave to support California’s anti-gay-marriage Proposition 8 to spare some or all of the 200 or so employees who are losing their jobs?
This is something our reporter, Bill Reed, asked today (Nov. 17) at a press conference where Focus announced it is laying off 149 people and not filling 53 vacant jobs. This comes on top of another 46 layoffs announced in October.
We were under the impression – erroneously, it turned out — that the $500,000 sent in support of Prop 8 came from Focus’ political arm, Focus on the Family Action. But Focus officials said today that money came out of Focus’ general budget, because of California campaign laws, and was budgeted for such activities, not payroll.
Even if that money had been reallocated to keep some employees on, Focus said donations are down and expected to get worse. For an organization that relies solely on donations, how far could that $500,000 have gone before layoffs had to kick in anyway? We’re not taking sides, defending or criticizing Focus or trying to answer the question; we’re just asking, and would love to hear your thoughts on this.