The federal government is not the only institution running a sizable deficit these days. The Metropolitan Museum of Arts latest financial statement reports a $8.4 million shortfall over the past year and warns that the gap could have reached as high as $20 million in future years if executives had not trimmed staff by a dramatic 14 percent.
A letter accompanying the report, signed by director Thomas P. Campbell and president Emily K. Rafferty, states that the “painful but unavoidable process [of reducing staff]… was taken only after all possible cost-cutting measures had been introduced.” As part of the effort to reduce costs, the museum offered some employees voluntary retirements, closed retail outlets, and instituted a hiring freeze, allowing many contracts to expire.
The museum, of course, is at no risk of going broke any time soon. It reported assets totaling $2.9 billion and revenue of $213 million from a diverse variety of resources. Nonetheless, the realization that the Met is struggling as much as it is could be a harbinger of other, more serious troubles at less well-situated nonprofit institutions.