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(photo credit: Nefesh B'Nefesh)
The Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel said Tuesday that the current economic climate and "forecasts of a financial pinch" in the coming year has forced it to find ways to streamline its operation, including firing the one staff member managing its Beersheba office.
"Like any other third sector organization we are looking towards the future and trying to make sure we survive this [economic] situation," AACI Executive Director David London told The Jerusalem Post. "The situation is not easy for any non-profit organization today and we will continue looking at every possible way to save money."
According to London, the office of the AACI in Beersheba will continue to operate, providing local Anglo residents with a library and an activity room, but the immigrant organization's counseling service - the backbone of its work - will be transferred to its national offices in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
"People will be able to contact us with questions via e-mail and telephone," explained London, adding, "It's a case of centralizing our services."
The AACI, which offers immigrant advice and other services to any English-speaking olim, was founded in 1951 and has more than 40,000 member families across the country, not all from North America. Aside from its Jerusalem and Tel Aviv branches, the AACI also has an office in Netanya.
Its budget is made up of donations, membership fees, allocations from the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Immigrant Absorption Ministry, as well as profits from its programs and activities, said London.
"Our staff person in Beersheba, Miriam Green, is a professional of the highest order and if the community in the South would like to keep her on staff then they need to find a way to pay her salary," commented London, adding that several AACI members in the South had already offered their help.
London said that the association had not fired any other staff members but was still looking to take more "efficiency measures" to ensure its future.
"We are very proud of our work and will continue to provide programs for the Anglo population," said London, emphasizing the forthcoming election series, which features members of the various political parties presenting their parties' platforms in English.
The first program kicks off at Jerusalem's Great Synagogue on Saturday night.