Stewardship and Finance Committee Interchange Reports

The text of Interchange reports from the Stewardship and Finance Committee available below. To jump to a particular report, simply click the link below.

  Fall 2012 Interchange
Winter 2015 Interchange  
Winter 2017 Interchange  

Winter 2017 Interchange
Stewardship and Finance Continues Work on Bathhouse Funding and Apportionment Review

Women's Retreat 2016

The Stewardship and Finance Committee has been actively working on two major issues over the past several months. First, the Committee has been engaged in the process of developing a financing plan for the Catoctin bathhouse. Second, the Committee formed a Subcommittee to review and analyze the existing apportionment formula.

The Development Committee has kept readers updated on the progress of the fundraising efforts for the Catoctin bathhouse. The Stewardship and Finance Committee is in the process of designing another way for Friends to support the Catoctin bathhouse project. It is what we are calling a “Friendly loan”. A Friendly loan is a loan made by a Friend to BYM for the purpose of financing the construction of the bathhouse.

The loan is considered “Friendly” for two reasons. First, the lender is a Friend. Second, the interest rate is considered “friendly” as compared with the interest rate that BYM could otherwise obtain from more conventional or traditional lending sources.

As you know, construction is well underway on the new bathhouse at Catoctin. We expect the construction to be completed and the bathhouse to be ready in time for the 2017 camping season. BYM has sufficient funds from contributions and from temporary sources to finance all construction costs.

Of course, our expectation is that continuing contributions to the building fund will pay a substantial amount of the construction costs. When the construction is completed and the temporary sources of financing need to be repaid in or around June 2017, BYM may need other sources of long-term financing for the project. The use of Friendly loans is one option for BYM to consider.

We are contemplating that the term of a Friendly loan will be a maximum of 36 months with interest paid on the last day of each quarter, or 4 times each year. We anticipate that repayment of both principal and interest on each Friendly loan will come from continuing contributions to BYM.

If you are interested in becoming a Friendly lender, please contact Ned Stowe at nedstowe@bym-rsf.org or 301-774-7663.

On the apportionment front, the Apportionment Subcommittee has met several times via conference call and is now reviewing the results of the recent survey of monthly meetings and using the information to evaluate possible changes to the formula.

The subcommittee has tentatively concluded that two elements of the current formula, one which assigns extra weight to the number of households contributing more than $100 annually and another which limits annual increases or decreases in a monthly meeting’s apportionment to 25%, have not had the effect which was intended when the current formula was adopted. There is a high probability that when recommendations are presented at Annual Session, they will include eliminating these two elements.

Issues yet to be decided include whether it is desirable and/or possible to give some relief to Monthly Meetings with mortgages, and what needs to be done to clarify restricted vs designated vs unrestricted income, including income from investments.

The Subcommittee expects to make a preliminary report to the full Stewardship and Finance Committee, and to Interim Meeting, in March. The work on the formula will also be a focus of the annual apportionment meetings held in spring 2017.


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.)