It's not easy to say, but the once grand plans of the Nevada Cancer Institute now lay in a financial heap. The facility is more than $100 million in debt and today its board announced the layoff of more than half of its 300 employees.
What started out as a vision to create a state-of-the art private medical facility dedicated to the cure and treatment of cancer has now become an organization possibly headed to bankruptcy. Along the way, millions of precious private donations were spent. As the facility struggled, it reached out to the state of Nevada and the federal government. Politicians gave away millions of taxpayer money to the facility, which only serves to compound the tragedy. It's one thing when willing private donors make such a bet, it's quite another when taxpayers are forced to do it in an economy such as this.
Personally, I hope the Nevada Cancer Institute gets back on its feet and finds a way to fulfill its initial promise using only private donations. There are many stellar people associated with the institute and on the institute's board. Unfortunately, there were also some fine people let go today. What happened to get the facility in this financial fix is something the board must examine honestly and clearly, no matter who gets their toes stepped on. That's something that must be done for donors and taxpayers.
Look, folks, there's no happy face to the layoffs. Philanthropy in Nevada took a hit today. I hope it is the worst of it. I fear it is not.