Wednesday, April 08, 2009

On Earth Peace reports mid-year financial concern.

On Earth Peace in a recent newsletter has reported concerns about its finances. The organization currently is at the mid-point in its fiscal year.

"At the half-way point of our fiscal year, our income is running about $9,500 above expenses," reported executive director Bob Gross in follow up comments by e-mail. "However, most years the difference between income and expense is considerably greater at this half-way point. We know that income is generally lower in the second half of the year, and expenses are usually higher. So we are concerned."

In the newsletter report, Gross wrote that "the current economic downturn, and the financial bind it puts on our organization, is threatening essential ministries of peace-building and reconciliation." He called for prayer following the downsizing of denominational staff and redesign of some programs of the Church of the Brethren, and encouraged participation in the listening process that has been announced following the closing of the Washington Office, noting that participation will help the church make decisions about the future of its peace witness.

"The economic downturn we are experiencing is both global and local," Gross wrote in the newsletter. "Some of us are feeling its effects personally; nearly all of us know persons who have been strongly affected.... It is important that we pray for those who have been most affected by these cuts in staff and program, including those who have carried the responsibility of making painful decisions."

"For the first time in several years, On Earth Peace's income in 2008 did not keep up with expenses," Gross reported. He said that the organization has drawn from its limited reserves to make up the difference, which comes to about 7 percent of the On Earth Peace budget for 2008. Current projections show an even greater gap between income and expenses this year for On Earth Peace, he said.

Gross announced that in order to preserve its small reserve fund, On Earth Peace has set a strict limit on any withdrawal from reserves this year. It will work at ways to control expenses, but he noted that "our normal way of working is already very frugal. Our salaries are modest, many volunteers assist our small staff in the work, and we keep our travel and other expenses very low." His report also noted the efficiency of the On Earth Peace program, from an audited financial report for 2008 showing only 11 percent of contributions spent on fundraising and administration combined, while 89 percent has gone directly to program ministries.

Source: 4/8/2009 Newsline

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