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SF AIDS Foundation confirms layoffs

Assistant Editor

SFAF CEO Joe Hollendoner. Photo: Courtesy SFAF
SFAF CEO Joe Hollendoner. Photo: Courtesy SFAF  

The San Francisco AIDS Foundation confirmed May 4 that it has laid off employees as a result of "impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic and associated declines in revenue," according to Chad Ngo, the foundation's communications manager.

Seventeen employees were laid off, according to Joe Hollendoner, SFAF's CEO. These include four leadership roles that were eliminated, according to Ngo.

The layoffs were last week, Hollendoner wrote in a statement. Neither answered the amount in the revenue decline or whether senior management would take pay cuts, as happened in 2002.

"We have made the difficult decision to enact a reduction in our workforce in order to preserve San Francisco AIDS Foundation's long-term fiscal health and achievement of our strategic plan," Ngo stated. "We value the contributions our staff have made to our organization and community, and thank the affected staff for their service. As a matter of policy, we are not able to comment further on individuals affected or other personnel matters publicly."

Hollendoner wrote that the foundation's revenue almost doubled in recent years, but was nonetheless impacted badly by COVID-19 among other things.

"As a result of increased medication costs, our pharmacy program has seen a decline in net revenues over the past six months and that trend is expected to continue in the year ahead. This, coupled with the cancellation of AIDS/LifeCycle — our largest fundraiser — for two years in a row because of the pandemic, required us to make structural changes to the organization in order to protect its long-term fiscal health and to set the next CEO up for continued success," Hollendoner wrote. "The board and leadership of San Francisco AIDS Foundation appreciate the significant contributions made by the 17 employees who were laid off last week, and we thank them for their service. We also value the continued efforts of our 200+ person workforce as SFAF continues to make significant strides towards achieving the goals of our strategic plan."

One person who was let go was Courtney Pearson, according to sources. She was the vice president of policy. Also let go was Emily Mariko-Sanders, who was a counselor at Strut. Her LinkedIn page states she is "looking for my next adventure."

Hollendoner, as the Bay Area Reporter previously reported, will join the staff of the Los Angeles LGBT Center in July to eventually take the reins of that organization.

SFAF has been affected by the pandemic. Last year it had to cancel its AIDS/LifeCycle event, which it produces with the Los Angeles LGBT Center. In 2019, participants of the bike ride, which goes 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles, raised a record-breaking $16.7 million that was split between the two nonprofits. This year, a virtual TogetheRide is underway, though it has a goal of raising $5 million.

On the plus side, SFAF raised $306,000 as part of Activate 2020, coinciding with Giving Tuesday, a day for people to donate to nonprofits in the run-up to Christmas.

According to ProPublica's paycheck protection program database, the foundation received $1.8 million in PPP loans last year and reported 237 jobs as of May 1, 2020.

According to an annual financial report the foundation published for Fiscal Year 2019-2020, the foundation had a revenue of $52.0 million and expenses of $48.9 million.

According to the foundation's IRS Form 990 for 2018, the most recent that is publicly available, the organization had total revenue of $48.1 million and total expenses of $44.2 million. That tax form was filed in 2020.

In it, SFAF listed eight employees who earn more than $100,000, which they are required to name. Hollendoner's salary and benefits at the time totaled $376,430, according to the document.

SFAF went through layoffs in 2002, due to post-9/11 donor fatigue, as the B.A.R. reported at the time. Back then it faced a $2.5 million budget gap and laid off 28 of its 117 employees. Senior management took a 10% pay cut, while Pat Christen, then the executive director, took a 12% cut in her salary.

Updated, 5/4/21: This article has been updated with additional information.

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