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Getty cuts back as endowment drops

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Even the Getty Trust, the world’s richest arts institution, is hurting in today’s bleak economy.

In an in-house memo addressed to “All Getty Staff,” James N. Wood, Getty Trust chief executive, warned that the Getty is facing “a difficult period ahead” because the value of its endowment, which ended the 2008 fiscal year (on June 30) at $5.98 billion, has since declined “roughly 25%.”

Wood wrote that the decline called for the Getty to “significantly reduce spending” in its fiscal 2010 budget, “which will have an impact on staffing, programming and operations. . . . I have asked our management to freeze all hiring.”

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The memo continued: “Any requests to replace positions will be subject to my review. I have also asked that promotions and salary adjustments be halted so that we are not adding costs at a time when we need to take steps to ensure the Getty’s future budgets are in line with our income.”

In mid-May, Wood announced plans to eliminate 114 positions and some Getty programs. A Getty spokesman said Wednesday that of those positions, only about 40 were eliminated through layoffs and buyouts.

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diane.haithman@latimes.com

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