Institute for nonviolence lays off 1/3 staff

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence has been forced to lay off more than a third of its staff because of cuts in state and federal funding. The layoff notices were issued Friday - the same day a man walked into a Connecticut elementary school and killed 26 people.

The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence has laid off eight of its 24 full time workers, plus three part timers.

Institute director Teny Gross says the affected employees were informed Friday. "It's the worst feeling after the death of a street worker that we had a few years ago. It's abandoning very critical people who often don't have opportunities other than this. If they're ex-offenders it's very hard for them to find a job."

Gross says federal and state appropriations dried up and there were no grants to replace them. "The reality in Rhode Island is that we're the last one in giving in the country in terms of private donors. And there's really a few families that can float an organization like ours. We need to engage more people."

In addition to the layoffs of eleven employees, all remaining staffers at the Institute will take a 20 percent cut in pay and Gross, its director, will take a 40 percent cut.

The institute, founded in 2001, is dedicated to promoting a non-gang lifestyle among the city's youth. Gross says the layoffs will result in less prevention which will lead to more shootings and arrests.

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