Major storms this year caused flooding near our electrical panel. While we have had water issues for years, we recently commissioned a report from a structural engineer to guide our decision making in prioritizing critical repairs. Our Finance Committee has been working overtime reviewing potential funding methods to address the major building repair that have been identified. We will soon be requesting tenders. We believe that we may be able to leverage long term investments to finance the required work.
Toronto Foundation investments.
A representative of the Toronto Foundation presented at the Finance meeting and provided an overview of their history, philosophy, and track record (our investments are managed by the Toronto Foundation).
While attendance is up, there has been a downward trend in offerings – both in the plate and from our sustainers (those who donate automatically via pre-authorized payments). The decrease has been apparent in a variety of forms: some sustainers have reducing their regular offering, some have cancelled, and some credit cards have been declined (when you get a new credit card, the information at the church needs to be updated if you have pre-authorized payments on your card). At this point we are continuing to focus on containing our expenses as we tackle what appears to be a growing budget deficit.
Even though Pride required last minute changes, we exceeded our goal due to decreased expenses for chair rentals and staging expenses. Staff is exploring possible Pride alternatives for 2019 to mitigate our reliance on reasonable weather.
MCC Toronto is part of the Metropolitan Community Churches denomination. As a member, we pay a “tithe” to the denomination to support the global church. The reality is that many smaller MCCs have been unable to pay their tithes, leading to significant financial pressures and re-structuring. The denomination has offered a proposal to alter the tithing arrangement. This arrangement will be subject to a vote in the Fall. We discussed the options provided and decided to maintain our status quo – 10% to the denomination and 1.5% to specifically strengthen the churches in Canada. Our tithing is based on regular congregational offerings and automatic congregational giving only (not bequests, external events, rental revenue, etc.). This decision was made years ago upon review and discussion regarding the unique roles that MCC Toronto has played – and is playing – based on our stature, circumstances, and unique programs:
a) our ground-breaking work on the marriage front which laid the foundation for other countries and states to springboard their own battles for recognition;
b) our Refugee Ministry;
c) the Triangle Program: Canada’s only high school for LGBTQ youth and one of only two in North America;
d) International Human Rights advocacy.
Major Fundraising/Capital Campaign.
Significant efforts are happening behind the scenes as we lay the groundwork for the public stage of this campaign, currently scheduled for the spring of 2019. Anne Brayley and Michael McCain are the co-chairs and several respected, high profile individuals have offered their support as members of the Capital Fund “cabinet”.