PWRDF executive director resigns following staff restructuring

Cheryl Curtis, PWRDF Executive Director
Cheryl Curtis, PWRDF Executive Director
By on January 29, 2010

Cheryl Curtis, executive director of The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), is resigning effective end of February, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, announced today.

Curtis’ departure was announced a day after a major staff restructuring was unveiled at the PWRDF, spurred, PWRDF’s executive committee said, by a 26 per cent cut in its budget for 2010-2011.

Seven positions have been eliminated and three new ones have been created “to meet the organizational needs of PWRDF programs,” Curtis said in a letter sent by email to staff at the church’s national office in Toronto. She cited “reduced donations to PWRDF” resulting from the global economic crisis as a reason for the budget cut.

Curtis said her departure “will provide the [PWRDF] board opportunity to determine the direction it wishes for PWRDF vis-a-vis leadership and vision.”
In a separate letter also sent by email to national office staff, the primate, who serves as PWRDF board president, said, “It is as Cheryl says, ‘a time of transition’ for her and for PWRDF.'” PWRDF is the church’s relief and development arm.

Throughout her term, Curtis “has been a strong and spirited ambassador for PWRDF,” said Archbishop Hiltz. “In four and a half years, she has overseen strategic planning processes, negotiations for CIDA [Canadian International Development Assistance] funding and a union agreement for the staff.” He added that Curtis “has poured her heart and soul into her work as Executive Director, and we have much for which to be very thankful.”

Curtis joined PWRDF in 2005, after having worked at the United Church of Canada as conference minister.

“I have delighted in the vibrant ministry of PWRDF and the people of PWRDF,” said Curtis. “PWRDF’s partnership model is a proud tradition and the Anglican Church’s embrace of its PWRDF ministry is strong and vibrant.”

Curtis gave more details about the staff restructuring, which will take effect March 31. Public Engagement Team Leader Beth Baskin, who joined PWRDF in 2005, lost her portfolio. The following staff also received layoff notices: Christine Hills (Communications Associate), Glen Spurrell (Africa Development Program Officer), Jeannette Lara (Latin-American-Caribbean, Refugee Program Officer), Jennifer Brown (Donor Relations Officer), and Jose Zarate (Indigenous Communities Development Program Co-ordinator).

Union staff who receive layoff notices are eligible to bump junior staff and all union staff are eligible to apply for the three new positions being created, said Curtis. The new positions are: Communications Facilitator, CIDA Development Program Coordinator, and Public Engagement Program Coordinator.

The PWRDF staff voted to unionize nearly a year ago, in February 2008. The union has not issued any statement about the major shakeup, which was announced to them Jan. 28.

Staff restructuring also resulted in job description changes and reduction in work hours for several staff, said Curtis.

The new structure will create a Partnership Program Team “that brings together the development and relief program staff with the public engagement and education program structure,” said Curtis.

As a result of the budget cut, a major fundraising initiative to commemorate PWRDF’s 50th anniversary has been suspended, Curtis also announced.

On Jan. 27, Curtis announced that the PWRDF Executive Committee had also approved another 10 per cent cut to the budget by 2012, in a bid to end deficit budgeting, and replenish its monetary reserve.

The decision to slash this year’s budget “though difficult, was unanimous,” said Curtis.

No details have yet been released about the revenues and expenditures forecast for the 2010 to 2012 budgets. Last year, PWRDF had cut its budget by $700,000, reducing it from $7.1 million to $6.3 million.

The Anglican Journal has requested interviews with Curtis and union officers.
In his email, Archbishop Hiltz also noted that Curtis represented the Anglican Church of Canada worldwide, including a meeting convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury for a plan to create The Anglican Communion Global Alliance for Relief and Development.

He also thanked her for her “contribution to the life and work of Church House as a whole,” noting that she has been “a very active member” of The Management Team and The Primate’s Leadership Circle. “Though she was at those tables representing PWRDF, she also cast its vision and work in the context of the ministry of The Anglican Church of Canada in the service of God’s mission in the world.”

Archbishop Hiltz requested prayers for both Curtis and the PWRDF staff.

 

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  • Marites N. Sison

    Marites (Tess) Sison was editor of the Anglican Journal from August 2014 to July 2018, and senior staff writer from December 2003 to July 2014. An award-winning journalist, she has more that three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio, and worked as a stringer for The New York Times.

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