Treasurer Reports Giving Down, Commitment Strong
United Methodist Women members’ giving in the first half of 2009 reflect both the market downturn and their commitment to mission, Women’s Division Treasurer Martha Knight said in her annual report to division directors meeting in Stamford, Conn., Oct. 9-12.
As of Aug. 31, total revenue was down by $1.4 million to $12.59 million from $14.02 million for the same period in 2008. This was due to several factors not the least of which was the world financial crisis, she said. Despite personal struggles, however, United Methodist Women members still gave to mission.
“The Women's Division financial report through Aug. 31, 2009, is a testament to the ongoing, deep commitment of United Methodist Women to mission,” Ms. Knight said. “Although the financial picture also reflects the realities of one of the most devastating economic downturns in history, the mission continues, the giving continues. While giving is down compared to this time last year, we believe this shows that our members, their families and their communities are affected by the hard realities of these uncertain times.”
On average, 36 percent of giving is received through August 31 each year.
Ms. Knight reported Mission Giving down $767,000, 12.5 percent, to $5.6 million in 2009 from $6.36 million in 2008; and Designated Giving is down $116,000, 13.67 percent, to $730,000 in 2009 from $850,000 in 2008. Income from publication, rental and other revenues were down $774,000 to $3.3 million in 2009 from 4.07 in 2008, reflecting lower rental income from Alma Matthews House, lower publication revenue from the Mission Resource and reduced Response magazine subscriptions. Ms. Knight said revenues from Brooks Howell Home for retired missionaries and deaconesses in Asheville, N.C., increased $374,000, 21.89 percent, to $2.08 million because of changes in the way that income is reported. Prior to 2009, only the operating fund was recorded on the interim statements, but all funded activities are recorded now. Other revenues decreased by $96,000, 20 percent, to $400,000 in 2009 from $500,000 in 2009 largely because of the timing of Benefit Trust Distribution receipts.
Operating expenditures for the period ended August 31 increased $188,000, or 1 percent, to $19.48 million in 2009 from $19.29 million in 2008. Ms. Knight said costs were contained by a concerted effort to maintain the level of mission program expenditures, while decreasing administrative expense. Programs administered by the General Board of Global Ministries decreased by $232,000, or 5.28 percent, to $4.16 million in 2009 from $4.39 million in 2008. Brooks Howell Home expenses increased by $255,000, 13.27 percent, to $2.17 million from $1.92 million, with this year’s figures reflecting inclusion of all funded programs on the interim statement. Property maintenance, insurance increased by $145,000, or 70.19 percent, to $350,000 in 2009 from $210,000, because of claims incurred on property damage such as storms, vandalism and accidents.
Ms. Knight said recent signs of economic improvement in the stock market made her hopeful, but she still looked for signs of recovery in the job market. Loss of jobs impacted United Methodist Women members personally and in terms of their mission outreach.
“We look for signs that those who have suffered most will find jobs and homes, and will be able to rebuild their lives,” Ms. Knight said. “This year the missions supported by United Methodist Women have seen a corresponding increase in those who seek food, clothing and shelter.
“We are hopeful that each conference of United Methodist Women will meet its pledge to mission and more by year-end. We trust that where one conference may not be able to meet its pledge, another conference will give extra funds to support the missions both here and abroad, because it’s even more critical in these times.”
Yvette Moore is contributing editor with the Women’s Division.