Stewardship and Finance Committee Interchange Reports

Winter 2015 Interchange

BYM Annual Apportionment Meeting

You are invited to find out more about the money your Meeting sends to BYM! Please come, listen, give feedback, or else ask that your Meeting sends one or more representatives. You’ll hear about how other Meetings are handling their finances and about how the Yearly Meeting is doing. The Stewardship and Finance Committee hosts this annual meeting to consider issues of apportionment – that is, financial support of BYM. It is a time for sharing and consideration of important issues.

New this year will be our holding the event on two Saturdays, one toward the north and one to the south. Blacksburg Meeting will host on April 18 and Frederick Meeting on April 25, 2015.

Friends will gather beginning at 9:30 am for coffee and snacks. The Apportionment Meeting will begin at 10:00 and is expected to conclude by 2:30 pm. In the morning, the Stewardship and Finance Committee will present a rough draft of the 2016 Yearly Meeting Budget, as well as a first proposal of Monthly Meeting Apportionments for 2016. There will be discussion of the procedures for calculating the proposed apportionments and consideration of any concerns. You may find it helpful to review your own Meeting’s completed Apportionment form before you come.

The afternoon discussion topic will be of interest to many Friends—what are the benefits of sharing our Meeting resources with other groups and what are the responsibilities?

Questions or for more information, contact the Yearly Meeting office at 301-774-7663. Please call the office to let us know you are coming so we can plan for lunch! Many thanks. Overnight accommodations might be possible if needed.

Report on Apportionment Discernment

Elizabeth Meyer, Presiding Clerk
(from the minutes of Sixth Month 2012 Interim Meeting)

At our last Annual Session, Baltimore Yearly Meeting sought to discern how our Monthly Meeting should share responsibility for funding the Yearly Meeting. That is, we considered whether there might be a better way to calculate apportionments.

Since the late 1990's, the BYM Stewardship and Finance Committee has used a formula to calculate apportionments, the shares that Monthly Meetings are asked to contribute to fund the Yearly Meeting each year. The formula takes into account the resources of each Monthly Meeting, including contributing households and Meetings’ investment income. Each year the Stewardship and Finance Committee seeks financial information from each Monthly Meeting in order to apply the formula. Stewardship and Finance also takes into consideration any special circumstances that Meetings ask the committee to consider, and it refrains from raising any Meeting's apportionment by more than 25% in any one year.

At this past Annual Session, Stewardship and Finance Committee asked us to consider a different approach. Under this approach, Stewardship and Finance annually would determine what is needed to fund the Yearly Meeting operations, and then ask each Meeting to pay a part of that amount based on the share the Meeting had paid in the prior year. Each Meeting would then respond whether it could pay that amount, or if it could pay either more or less than the amount requested.

At Annual Session, we decided that we needed to ask each Monthly Meeting to consider the two methods and share their Light with the Yearly Meeting. Therefore, I invited each Monthly Meeting to engage with us in this discernment. I sent out documents describing the current method and the proposed new method along with queries to consider. I asked Friends to respond by this spring.

Twelve of our Monthly Meetings responded (30%). One Monthly Meeting enthusiastically embraced the proposed method, and another Meeting liked the proposed method, but without much enthusiasm. Two Meetings were comfortable with either method. The other eight responding Meetings supported the current apportionment approach. Though the formula seems complicated, these Meetings felt that the current approach was more fair.

So Friends, I do not see a groundswell of support for the apportionment method proposed last summer, and in the absence of such a groundswell for change, my sense of the Yearly Meeting is that we are led at this time to keep to the current apportionment approach. This does not mean the current method is carved in stone. Our Stewardship and Finance Committee, and all of us, can continue to discern the best way to share the costs of the important work of the Yearly Meeting. And Friends concerned with this issue are invited to serve on Stewardship & Finance Committee. Due to the absence of a groundswell of support for changing the apportionment method, I do not intend to place this issue on the Annual Session agenda.

One blessing that has come from this process is that those Meetings that engaged in this conversation about apportionment gave their members an opportunity to learn about the Yearly Meeting and an important part of its financing.

(Friends present at that meeting approved notifying the Meetings of this finding. Two information sheets explaining the BYM apportionment system are available from the Yearly Meeting office and online under Stewardship and Finance Committee’s page.)