Colonial Williamsburg outsourcing some operations, laying off employees amid growing debt burden

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation announced Thursday that a growing debt burden is forcing them to outsource some of their businesses and layoff some of their employees.

In an open letter to the community, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation President and CEO Mitchell Reiss says the foundation's debt stands at more than $300 million. In 2016, the Foundation lost $148,000 every day.

Because they are losing money, the Foundation has been forced to withdraw more than the standard 5% from their endowment.

He goes on to say the Foundation will be outsourcing their golf operations, retail stores, much of their maintenance and facilities operations and their commercial real estate management.

Also included in the plan is the closure of the Kimball Theatre. The Foundation says the Kimball Theatre has not been profitable since at least 1999 and lost $782,000 in the past year alone. It will close on July 6.

Some employees will also be laid off as part of the new plan to cut costs. The Foundation is providing a generous severance package, an additional month of health care coverage, career counseling and career transition workshops for those employees.  The Foundation does note that no costumed interpreters will be laid off.

With this new plan in place, the Foundation hopes to allow their endowment to grow again and achieve financial stability by 2019.