Dean Letter: Finance and Transparency

Dear St. Paul’s family,
I want to share with you some information about our cathedral finances. While money is rarely a favorite topic of conversation in the church, it is crucial that we manage your gifts in a responsible manner and that we practice transparency.
Our accounting practices have come a long way in the last six years. Our finance team has worked hard to bring us to a point where we can celebrate the fact that we have now undergone five consecutive clean annual audits (an annual audit is required by diocesan canons). I am deeply grateful to our finance director, Erin Sacco-Pineda, bookkeeper Molly Green, treasurer Betsey Monsell and administrator Kathleen Burgess for constantly improving our policies and procedures. We continue to strive for best practices.
Some of the policies we now have in place include: a requirement for staff to promptly report all purchases on cathedral credit accounts; a requirement to appoint an audit committee by September for the following year’s audit; and thresholds for check amounts that require two signatures. Required procedures include a carefully structured procedure for counting donations that separates the roles of handling money and updating records; and a monthly report on all our funds and accounts to Chapter.
Your pledges are by far the most important source of revenue for St. Paul’s, providing about three quarters of funding for our operating expenses. But we also have the blessing of income from parishioners of the past who remembered us in their estate planning. Cathedral leadership invested the legacies, along with funds from many other churches, with the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF), and our endowment committee, appointed by Chapter, meets regularly to review the yield and the balance of investments. Our policy for many years has been to draw 5% of those funds (known as our enduring funds) to support our operating budget, but we are watching the markets and have recently decided to draw only 4.4% next year, to enable the principal’s growth to keep pace with inflation. Similarly, the LLC which Chapter created some years ago to handle the sale of the land next door now has funds from those sales invested with ECF, and that body has also decided to reduce the draw, from 5% to 4%, for the same reasons.
Together, the expected yield from these invested funds in 2020 will provide almost 25% of our revenue. The rest is up to you! If you ever have questions about our finances, any of the finance team will be happy to sit down with you. Thank you for your generosity and commitment to our mission.
Your sister in Christ,

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