Like many organizations, the Myles Reif Performing Arts Center in Grand Rapids took a hit in the recession. So as the financial picture started to ease recently, leaders wanted to recognize those who kept the place going in the hardest times.
The result: six workers will receive up to $400 in what David Marty, President of Reif Arts Council described as a "loyalty bonus."
It's an intriguing idea, one I hadn't thought about before: rewarding people who weathered the worst of the recession with the same company or group.
If anyone's received -- or paid out -- this kind of bonus or heard of anything similar in the non-profit or corporate world, please post below or contact me directly.
Here's how Marty, a source in MPR's Public Insight Network describes it:
This is a performing arts center that was hit pretty hard by the market slowdown last year. As a direct result, the organization was forced to make some very painful cuts, including salary freezes, elimination of many benefits, furloughs, cutting hours and taking two full time positions to ¾ time. This started in June, and the two most-affected employees left in October. The board has approved a bonus payment for all six employees (not including Executive Director) here. These are small bonuses (largely symbolic) with the largest being $400, but the message from the board is that the organization wants to support and thank employees for doing as well as possible under highly adverse conditions. We continue to face enormous challenges (as does everyone), but the spirit and morale are quite high, and staff members are very proud of being able to make a difference in our community.
One thing that helped: Funds from Minnesota's "legacy" constitutional amendment.Arts and other organizations (including Minnesota Public Radio) started getting money earlier this year from the measure backed by state voters last year.
The flow of "legacy" dollars and an improving budget picture the past few months "has resulted in some optimism," Marty says.