An Important Announcement from YBCA

For the past several months the YBCA leadership team has been grappling with the unprecedented impacts and volatility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As an organization that relies heavily on revenue from facility rentals, conferences, and live performances and events, YBCA has experienced a significant financial impact. Given the ongoing closures, revenue loss and uncertainty, we have made the decision to implement a new organizational structure that reflects the reality of our current situation, and organizes our team to be able to maintain mission critical work and move forward through the pandemic. 

In the recently closed 19/20 fiscal year, we lost $3.5 million in gross revenue.  For fiscal year 20/21 we project a loss of $6.8 million in gross revenue from our rental program, annual fundraisers, and an anticipated significant reduction in funding from the Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy.  A PPP loan of approximately $1.5 million, which supported our payroll expenses over the past three months, has now ended. 

Today, because of these impacts, it is with a heavy heart that I announce the elimination of 27 staff positions at YBCA. This represents more than a third of our staff, primarily those in positions that are directly tied to live events and activities which are not operational for the foreseeable future. As an organization that cares deeply about its employees, we held off on making these changes as long as our finances would allow. We also carefully considered equity in all of our decision making. 

These valued team members who have made important contributions to YBCA will receive severance pay along with three months of healthcare. They will also have priority as candidates for future openings at YBCA.  For our remaining, most highly compensated team members, we will be implementing tiered salary reductions between 5  to 12 percent, with the highest reductions at the top level of the organization.

I announce these changes with the painful acknowledgement that we are losing members of our YBCA family that have given so much of themselves to create an enduring and indelible legacy at YBCA.  We are eternally grateful for the vision, creativity, commitment, and passion they have contributed to making YBCA what it is today.  I know you join me in expressing gratitude for our departing team members. 

The priority for YBCA continues to be ensuring that we can execute mission-critical programs and support our arts community, our City, and region as fully as possible. With your continued support we will weather this storm and come out of this more focused and committed than ever. 

Deborah Cullinan,
Chief Executive Officer,
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts