April 8, 2011

09 CN: ADRA Board Studies Reorganization

ADRA Board Studies
Agency's Reorganization

February cutbacks dropped 17 full-time positions

, News Editor
irectors of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) voted April 6 to receive a leadership report of the church-owned charity’s February 2011 executive reorganization in which 17 full-time employees were terminated.


Ella Simmons

The February action sparked comment across ADRA’s far-flung international operation and its in-building staff, as well as with some church leaders and lay members. On March 23, ADRA Board’s top two leaders, chairman Geoffrey Mbwana and vice-chair Ella Smith Simmons – both vice presidents of the General Conference –indicated the directors would review the recent reorganization at the April 6 meeting.

“After much prayer and deliberation about the future of ADRA and its ministry, the board of directors voted to receive ADRA President Rudi Maier’s report on the recent changes and will continue to move forward and work with management in the development of the strategic mission of ADRA,” a statement released today by the agency said in part.

In the statement, Mbwana said ADRA’s “administration and the board do not anticipate any further staff reductions in the foreseeable future.”

He added, “The board of directors takes seriously its responsibility to ensure that the Agency operates with utmost transparency and integrity in all matters. As ADRA moves forward, we want to provide the staff all the necessary resources to help meet the needs of the millions of vulnerable women, children, and men around the world whom we serve.”

The report was received during an eight-hour board of directors meeting in which General Conference president and ADRA board member Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson participated. The 37-member ADRA board includes 12 of the world church’s 13 division presidents, and other Adventist leaders with experience in overseas development projects.


Geoffrey Mbwana

Presentation of the report took 90 minutes, with the remaining time devoted to a discussion of the report and other board matters. A financial report was due to be presented, Mbwana said after the meeting, but time did not permit it. ADRA spokesman John Torres said the agency would release an audited financial statement in June 2011.

The board meeting was followed by a session between Mbwana and Simmons and approximately 40 ADRA employees. The meeting, which was closed to reporters, saw the staffers wearing large, yellow buttons reading “I am ADRA. Committed to our agency.”

In speaking with reporters from Adventist Review and Adventist News Network, Simmons noted that the ADRA board established two new committees: one is a working committee to “consider the defining elements of ADRA,” and the other a standing committee to oversee the group’s bylaws. Questions about which level of governance—executive officers or the ADRA Board—was the right one to determine reductions in force had circulated since the February announcement.

Mbwana said new bylaws committee was deemed “appropriate” by the board since ADRA is “a dynamic organization.”