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The Center for Economic Inclusion has laid off four employees, a 13% reduction of the St. Paul nonprofit's staffing.

The organization, which in the fall received a $1 million Google grant and a $600,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to expand nationally, announced the layoffs Friday.

The layoffs were "one of the hardest changes we've had to make over the course of our six years of building an organization employers and policy makers can trust and depend on for solutions to build racial wealth equity and inclusive economic growth," CEO Tawanna Black said in a statement.

Black cited declining revenue, including stagnant philanthropy, and increasing expenses in the past two years, a challenge many nonprofits are facing.

In a survey by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits this fall, a third of nearly 200 respondents reported that donations and grants have declined this year;nearly 60% said they will face financial distress within a year.

The Center for Economic Inclusion seeks to close racial disparities, providing consulting services, issuing grants, launching a business accelerator for small businesses owned or run by people of color and producing racial equity analyses.

Black, who started the center in 2017, said its earned revenue from product sales and consulting services has increased, but profit margins have been low.

According to the organization's most recent tax filing in 2022, it had 37 employees and a $6.5 million budget with a $2 million deficit.

"Sadly, our realities and the decisions they required impacted employees who have been with us since the day we opened and others who joined us over the last year," Black said about the layoffs.

"Ultimately, together, we realized this was the best decision for the center and the communities we serve."