Interest vs. Conscience
I’ve asked Friends to consider worldly motivations and conflicts of worldly interest and their affect on the spiritual health of Friends Society. Friends tend to ignore that which is of the world - which is represented by money. Is this the Way?
How can you decide if your Yearly Meeting has outrun the Guide of its constituent Monthly Meetings? Look at these three examples and consider the state of the Society in the Northeast United States.
How to ‘package’ the reason-to-be of NYYM, for example, has evolved into providing a mountain lake vacation week with a faux-psychotherapeutic, bible camp twist for its annual sessions. Don’t forget to pay that non-disclosed 5% gratuity upon arrival. See the latest annual sessions cost comparison
Comparison of budget numbers of NYYM vs. other nearby, similar sized Yearly Meetings has been meant to bring into line one rogue Yearly Meeting. But the danger here of course is to allow that rogue Yearly Meeting to export the largesse of how it stays in business - to the others.
- Total Annual Budget including Youth Program, Retreat Center and Annual Session up 8% to $728,000 in 2008
- Administrative Personnel Salaries and Benefits Budget up 10% to $265,000 in 2008
- Field Secretary, F/T
- Admin. Secretary, F/T
- Young Friends Coord., F/T
- Christian Ed. Coord., F/T
- Accounts Manager, P/T
- Friends Camp Director, P/T
- NEYM Archivist, P/T
- Administrative Travel and Conferences up 20% to $29,000 in 2008
- $108 per Resident Member average contribution in 2008 to meet budgeted $326,000 Monthly Meeting contributions
- Retreat and Annual Sessions Budgeted Income up from $213,000 in 2007 to $244,000 in 2008
- Retreat and Annual Sessions Budgeted Expenses up from $242,000 in 2007 to $270,000 in 2008
- Individual (mostly wealthy) Friends are projected to give approximately $100,000 or 17% of the total NEYM budget aside from Monthly Meeting donations to NEYM in 2008
- Resident Membership has declined 4% since 2003 to 3,018 in 2008
- Non-Resident Membership is approximately 1,000 in 2008
- Child Membership (Resident and Non-Resident) is approximately 350 in 2008
- NEYM retains approximately $1MM in assets to help support its operations
- Total Annual Budget including Youth Program, Camping Program and Annual Session up 4% to $1,534,000 in 2008
- Plans to hire ‘Development Director’ to solicit special donations to BYM a la ‘Philadelphia YM Annual Fund’
o Administrative Personnel Salaries and Benefits up 70% to $171,000 in 2008
- Covers Gen Secretary, Office Manager
- (Administrators and Property Managers of Youth and Camping Programs are paid by each program)
o Office Travel down from $10,000 to $4,000 in 2008
o Office expense up 65% to $25,000 in 2008
- Youth Secretary Salary and Benefits down from $65,000 actual in 2006 to $25,000 budget in 2008
- Camping Staff ‘Compensation’ up 10% to $234,000 in 2008
o Somehow Compensation benefits went down in same period which is irregular- Camping (Youth) Budgeted Income up from $731,000 in 2007 to $780,000 in 2008
- Camping (Youth) Budgeted Expenses up from $730,000 in 2007 to $777,000 in 2008
- Annual Session Budgeted Income up from $132,000 in 2007 to $138,000 in 2008
- Annual Session Budgeted Expenses up from $122,000 in 2007 to $138,000 in 2008
- ~$100 per Full Adult Member average contribution in 2008 to meet budgeted $402,000 Monthly Meeting contribution
- Full Adult Membership increase from 2005 to 2006 – 1.4% to 4,014 in 2008
- Associate (Children) Membership decrease from 2005 to 2006 – 17 % to 683 in 2006
- BaltYM retains approximately $2.8 MM in assets to help support its operations
- NYYM increased its 2008 Total Operating Budget by 3% or 14,000 to $544,000
o Staff Salaries increase 3% to $178,700
- General Secretary ~$80,000
- · In office less than 2x per week
- Associate General Secretary ~60,000
- · Undefined duties
- Spark Editor, who knows what else, part time? ~$40,000
- Hourly Staff - $21,000
- Salary and Wage Related Expenses is projected to stay at $43,000 (additional to the 178,700 above) for 2007 and 2008. This is an irregularity and should be fully explained as a mistake or seen as a blatant line item misrepresentation (among many others).
o NYYM gerrymandered its operating expense proportions and communicated such to show how staff (should) spend its time serving witness and nurture committees.
- There are no time and task specific job descriptions published by NYYM for its paid staff
- The (overpaid) staff remains unaccountable to the NYYM populous and this is tolerated due to white guilt and the reason-to-be of the annual vacation at Lake George.
- NYYM under spent its budget in 2006 by 10% continuing a 20 year consistent historical dishonesty in what it says it needs
o NYYM under-contributes compared to NEYM and BaltYM to its wider bodies of FUM, FGC and FWCC while it spends money on unaccountable internal costs
- $151 per Adult Member average contribution in 2008 to meet budgeted $483,300 Monthly Meeting contributions
- Annual Session and [Youth Program / Retreat Center (Powell House)] Sharing Fund are off-budget costs for NYYM Friends
o The NYYM Sharing Fund previously equaled the NYYM Operating Budget in the 1970’s, and its annual distribution of approximately $60,000 is now 1/8 of the 2008 Operating Budget size.
o Historically, NYYM Operating budget of ~$400,000 - 500,000 contributes $70,000 in subsidy as 20% of Powell House $350,000 Operating Budget
o Powell House has 2 full time staff, part time workers cooks etc
§ Powell House fees for weekend seminars is high, many NYYM Friends cannot attend due also to distance and no public transportation access.
o Annual Sessions 500 attendees paying an average of $600 would add ~$300,000 to NYYM budget in comparison with BYM and NEYM.
o NYYM 2008 composite budget (if all were included in Operating Budget like NEYM and BaltYM) is most probably $1,200,000 – 1,400,000 including a 6 day luxury annual session,
§ serving very few youth in its Powell House Youth program. (120 children at last estimate
- $ 40,000 is spent in 6 days at NYYM Annual Sessions
· ($10,000 in scholarships through the Advancement Committee) in to support those who cannot afford the luxury vacation, and
· ($30,000 to pay for room and board for teenage counselors for the Youth program, paid through Junior Yearly Meeting, where at most 150 children attend)
- NYYM should continue to cut costs, move offices to less expensive more central location, cut staff, until membership begins to rise.
o Membership has risen in urban areas, but declined in rural areas, not unlike commercial development of 3rd world countries.
- NYYM has consistently recently manipulated and or misrepresented membership numbers reported by Monthly Meetings to make itself look better, in order to hire a general secretary at a high salary and to justify perennial increasing expenses
- NYYM membership has decreased steadily over 35 years by a factor of ½ to its current published level of 3,500 in 2008.
- NYYM published Adult Membership is approximately 3,200 in 2008. This number is highly misrepresented.
- NYYM retains approximately $250,000 in assets to help support its operations
Should NEYM be nervous?