November/December News Regarding the Foundry Management Board

Monday, December 29, 2014

Update: Foundry Management Board Approves Proposed 2015 Budget, Reviews Stewardship Pledge Campaign, Continues Long-Range Church Planning

The Foundry Management Board, a nine-person elected group, meets monthly to discuss and make decisions regarding the management of the church. This report covers the combined November/December meeting.

 

The Management Board undertook an ambitious agenda at its Dec. 2 meeting aimed at ensuring Foundry’s financial well-being, strengthening engagement of the congregation, and updating Foundry’s long-term vision for its future.

Without dissent, the Board:

  • Approved a staff-prepared budget of $1.9 million for calendar year 2015. The proposed budget currently anticipates a deficit of approximately $300,000, based on revenues received in 2014. The Board and the Finance Committee will take action to address any potential shortfall in early in 2015, after the current stewardship campaign concludes.
  • Included in the approved budget $4,000 to outsource the church’s payroll functions. Such a measure has been recommended by the church’s external auditor and is supported by staff.
  • Approved installation of solar panels on the roof of the education wing to generate approximately $2,000 in energy savings each year. Installation of the 97 panels will be undertaken by a third party at no cost to Foundry.

Much of the session was devoted to Foundry’s financial condition. Revenues for 2014 are running $288,000 below budget, a figure that staff believes could be reduced before the end of the year. Several Board members expressed concern about continuing to operate with large deficits, because the deficits would likely decrease the church’s financial reserves.

The Board also discussed the possibility of using ancillary sources of revenue apart from traditional pledge giving. Such income could include everything from grants to bequests, new technologies to improve efficiency, and even special fundraisers such as chili cook-offs or pancake breakfasts.

The Finance Committee suggested a policy to govern when and how Foundry’s operating and capital reserve funds by staff to respond to emergency situations. The board will revisit the issue in January.  The policy may include a cap on the amount of reserves that can be tapped and a time limit under which such funds can be disbursed.

The Board discussed the likelihood that Foundry will be assessed a substantial liability payment to the Internal Revenue Service for missing tax forms W-2’s and W-3 for 2007. The Board has authorized staff to pay the amount due, plus penalties, once those amounts can be determined.

 

Stewardship Campaign

At least 319 households have pledged to support Foundry in 2015, for a total of $1.25 million. The total, as of Dec. 9, includes 105 who increased their pledges from the year before, as well as 85 new pledging households. The average (mean) pledge was nearly $4,000; the median pledge was $2,400 (meaning as many people pledged more than $2,400 as pledged less than $2,400).

The stewardship team is pursuing a goal of raising $1.5 million in pledges from at least 400 households. Vock noted that Foundry had witnessed “a big drop-off” in 2014 compared to 2013. Approximately 87 households who pledged for this year have not yet pledged for 2015.

The stewardship team, led by Tara Holeman, continues to reach out by phone to those who have not yet pledged. The stewardship campaign itself may be extended into early 2015 if a shortfall continues. Moreover, the stewardship committee will now operate year-round.

 

Auditing Overhaul

The Audit Committee is proceeding with plans to bring Foundry’s financial records into line with generally accepted accounting procedures (GAAP) in order to conform to conventional revenue and expenditure bookkeeping. Foundry currently uses a modified-cash basis of accounting. Converting to GAAP would entail considerable time as the staff learns new coding for expenses, quantifies the church’s assets and liabilities, and figures for depreciation. This transition to GAAP protocols also has been recommended by the church’s external auditor.

 

Management Board Task Forces to Improve the Life of the Church

In early 2015, the Board will focus on four areas for enhancing the life of the church. The Board will commission several task forces — made up of primarily lay leaders who are not on the Board — to improve Foundry’s effectiveness in these areas.

Task force members will engage staff, ministry team leaders, and members of the congregation to collect information and suggestions. Task forces will employ external resources, such as publications or other congregations, to inform their work and will report on best practices, structures, and resources to help staff and congregation improve these areas.  Task forces and the questions they will explore and their board membership, include:

Ministry of the Laity – How do we equip lay leaders? What tools, training or direction do they need? What responsibilities are ministry team leaders expected to carry out?

Communications – How do we better convey information to people at Foundry, and reach out to our neighbors?

Congregational Care – How do we counsel and better take care of each other?

Improving Engagement – How do we involve more lay members in the missions and ministries of the church?

Members of the congregation who are interested in joining one of the task forces may contact Dan Vock at danvock@gmail.com.

Senior Pastor Ginger Gaines-Cirelli noted that discussions of Foundry’s longer-term planning will be guided by information gleaned during house and congregational meetings. She distributed a tabulation of key concerns expressed during Foundry’s brainstorming session at the Holy Conversation held Nov. 16.


Scheduled Meetings

Forthcoming meetings currently scheduled are:

Friday, Jan. 9, and Saturday, Jan. 10 – Two-day management retreat for board to formulate long-range strategic plans to encourage congregational growth, address pastoral and lay concerns, and review continuing transitional leadership issues.

Tuesday, Jan. 13 – Joint Management Board and Finance Committee meeting to review proposed church budget following outcome of stewardship campaign. The Board will ask for adjustments to the 2015 budget if necessary.

Tuesday, Jan. 20 – Finance Committee meeting to assess proposed adjustments to the budget provided by church staff.

Tuesday, Jan. 27 – Regular monthly meeting of the Management Board.

Board President Dan Vock invites questions or concerns from all Foundry congregants. To communicate with the board, e-mail managementboard@foundryumc.org, or contact individual board members.

 

- Submitted by Stan Wellborn on behalf of the Mission Possible communications ministry team.