Over recent months CARA has continued working hard to serve the running community, notably through COVID-19 running safety guidelines and successful advocacy efforts to open the Lakefront Trail, Riverwalk and 606.
While our work has continued, the events, programming and corporate partnerships that provide the needed funds to accomplish CARA’s mission have experienced sharp decline due to COVID-19 cancellations. While we hope to resume some programming in July, the effects of COVID-19 will be felt at CARA well into the future.
As a result, CARA is forced to announce staff layoffs beginning at the end of this month as a result of our financial challenges. These layoffs will include the loss of two of CARA’s seven-person staff. In addition, Executive Director Greg Hipp will voluntarily take a 33% pay cut for the remainder of 2020 to help limit further staff reductions.
As a not-for-profit organization, CARA’s entire revenue is returned to the running community through providing training, events, outreach, and advocacy by member leaders and a small professional staff. CARA has long operated on a lean budget for an organization of its size and reach.
Just as recently as 2017, CARA did not have the reserve funds to manage even one month of operating expenses, and had nearly $100,000 in debt. Over recent years, CARA had begun to regain financial stability, reducing expenses by over 20%, and becoming debt-free by the end of 2018. Going into 2020 the organization had built a reserve that would have allowed it to manage any challenges previously experienced. However, COVID-19 has been a challenge unlike any other.
“These are challenging times, and it is with great pain to share we are losing staff at no fault of their own at this time,” said Hipp. “They are tremendous people, and have been passionate about serving the running community”.
Remaining CARA staff will assume the responsibilities of those departing. “We will make every effort to ensure that CARA members and the running community continue to be served well through our programming and our advocacy efforts,” Hipp said. “Our board of directors and I are working tirelessly to maintain CARA’s impact now and into the future”.
As you reflect on all that your relationship with CARA and the running community has provided -- whether that be support, friendship, accomplishment, satisfaction, or even love -- please consider supporting CARA through a tax-deductible donation, to help the organization continue its impact for many years to come.