Author: Jaclyn Reynolds
COLUMBUS, OH – The COVID-19 pandemic has brought devastating changes to cultural institutions across the world and in Central Ohio. Its impact on COSI has been profound. As a nonprofit science center, COSI earns approximately 75% of its operating budget from earned revenue, including ticket sales, memberships, program fees, and event rentals. Twenty-three percent of COSI’s revenue is contributed or donated, and the remaining 2% comes from public funding sources. Anticipated lost revenue and declining financial projections during this unprecedented time of extended closure has necessitated that COSI take swift and significant action to ensure the long-term survival of the 56-year-old science center.
As a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis, COSI’s Board of Trustees approved the temporary layoff of over 80% of COSI’s overall workforce. The layoffs, announced today, impact 98 of COSI’s 145 full-time team members and all of its 125 part-time and temporary team members. COSI will continue to pay its portion of the healthcare premiums of laid off team members who currently receive COSI healthcare benefits through June 30, 2020.
“The situation created by the COVID-19 crisis is devastating. Last year, COSI engaged over 1.2 million onsite and offsite guests, and delivered the largest science education event in Ohio history - the COSI Science Festival,” said COSI President and CEO Dr. Frederic Bertley. “COSI was on track to finish our fiscal year with a balanced budget, and much like 2019, we were expecting record attendance. In fact, just a few weeks ago our team was celebrating being voted the number one science museum in the country. Now, we face the same unprecedented crisis that is confronting museums and businesses all over America. I am fraught with sadness for our fantastic Team Members who make COSI the great institution that it is, and are now the latest individuals impacted by this unforgiving pandemic.”
“This is a painful day for COSI, our team members, supporters, community, and all of those impacted,” said Tom Dailey, Chair of COSI’s Board of Trustees. “With the utmost care and consideration, we undertook these measures after an exhaustive assessment about how to save COSI for future generations.”
The COSI building will remain closed to the public until further notice. COSI building operations, such as security and the daily care of COSI’s Living Collection of animals, will continue. COSI’s Call Center will be unstaffed, and the COSI Science Festival, previously scheduled for May 6-9, 2020, is canceled. Most COSI programs, including COSI on Wheels and the overnight Camp-In, are suspended indefinitely.
COSI will remain active online through COSI Connects (https://cosi.org/cosiconnects), currently being offered free online to the community. This digital doorway provides daily engaging science education content, including videos and at-home activities for learners of all ages.
COSI remains determined to engage, inspire, and transform lives and communities. We wholeheartedly thank everyone throughout the state of Ohio and the region for their unwavering support during this extraordinarily challenging time.