ALSAC, fundraising organization for St. Jude, cuts 160 jobs in coronavirus downturn

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — ALSAC, a fundraising organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is cutting 160 jobs as revenues decline due to coronavirus.

ALSAC’s revenue declined because of cancelled dinners, golf outings and community events it relied on. Corporate and individual donations decreased as donors face their own economic challenges.

“Like many nonprofits and for profit companies across the world, ALSAC is facing significant revenue declines brought about by the coronavirus pandemic,” ALSAC President and CEO Richard Shadyac said. “I deeply regret having to reduce our workforce, including the offer of voluntary options. These are difficult decisions no leader ever wants to make.”

The announcement comes as new unemployment numbers for April show 20.5 million jobs have been lost, pushing the unemployment rate to a staggering 14.7%.

University of Memphis Economist John Gunuschke calls it disastrous.

“What we are looking at over the next few months is for the numbers to get even higher, maybe 20%. That a disaster, absolute disaster for this country,” Gnuschke said.

He said Memphis’ numbers mirror the national numbers for unemployment. The rate is mostly due coronavirus shutdowns.

“Because of the cuts in the economy and the layoffs that have taken place, you can see that reopening the economy is not an easy task,” Gnuschke said. “Once it’s closed it stays closed for a while. And reopening is a challenge that is going to take time.”

Gnuschke says it’s a depression that will continue.

“We are in a great depression and it’s going to last until some solution is found to the coronavirus,” he said.

The 160 jobs cut represents less than 10% of the total workforce at ALSAC.

ALSAC is responsible for raising approximately 80 percent of the annual operating costs of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where no family ever receives a bill for treatment, travel, housing, or food. 

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