Heartland Community Church has eliminated 17 percent of its staff, despite a summer fundraising campaign that came within 80 percent of its goal.
The “Red to Black” campaign among the church membership raised $1.2 million of the $1.5 million it needed to regain sound financial footing. Mark Bankord, the church’s directional leader, said the campaign was “very successful,” but the church still needed to make staffing adjustments to bridge the gap.
“We all go through seasons where we have had to make hard decisions and manage expenses so you can pay the bills,” he said.
Seven full-time and 11 part-time employees lost their jobs this week, leaving the staff at 55 full-timers and 32 part-timers. Most of the cut employees were support staff, Bankord said, and were cut as the church eliminated some of its programming options.
Heartland owns and is a major tenant at Colonial Village Mall, a 368,000-square-foot property at 1280 Alpine Road. Bankord said the income from retailers and business tenants helps buoy the church’s finances, but the recession has taken its toll there, too, via vacant storefronts, including the loss of AMCORE Bank. The locally-owned company had a sizable business operations in the mall that was moved to Chicago when BMO Harris Bank took over in 2010.
Bankord said Heartland expanded its operations during the height of the Great Recession, adding staff to meet the growing needs of its congregation and the community. Now that the economy has stabilized, if not exactly recovered, the time has come to reassess its operations.
“We worked through those 20 percent unemployment seasons. As we look to come out of that, we’re looking to make sure we’re right-sized, fine tuned and doing things, in essence, we can afford to do,” he said.
Sean F. Driscoll on Insight