As I write this column, our Trustees have just completed an energetic Revenue Summit, the first in a planned series of meetings, in which we identified KI’s internal strengths and weaknesses and the external opportunities and financial threats to our future. We’re now scheduling Summit II for August to analyze our findings and identify initiatives to immediately investigate or implement.
As you read this column, we’re planning Summit III, and I’m inviting you to join your fellow congregants for this important work. Watch your inbox for details.
Leadership has studied and attempted to mitigate KI’s structural operating deficit for many years. The amount of money KI spends each year for operations and programming to match our values and our strategic goals, including staff, supplies, utilities, facilities, and more, outpaces the amount of money KI receives throughout the year from membership, tuition, donations, planned withdrawals from our restricted and unrestricted Funds, and other typical revenue sources.
We are fortunate to be able to strategically draw on these Funds as appropriate and needed to somewhat narrow this gap, but this is not a sustainable practice as inflationary fixed costs continue to outpace revenue, thus shrinking the reserve. We also are occasionally fortunate to receive unexpected revenue from grants, bequests, special donations, and other sources, which are non-recurring income and unpredictable from year to year. While we cannot yet depend on them to sustain our required spending levels every year, they will continue to be crucial to our plans to become financially more stable.
Therefore, this series of Summits is intended to identify new recurring revenue sources that are not earmarked for any specific fund and will be raised to pay for our day-to-day operations.
We know that the majority of synagogues – and other houses of worship – across the country are facing the same challenges. I am confident that as in the past, KI will demonstrate leadership through innovative, fearless thinking and implementation of bold solutions.
What keeps me optimistic is that KI is made of people who have the motivation, ideas, skills, and fortitude to ensure KI’s financial and operational strength going forward.
As we identify the most promising proposals, I’m forming teams to act on them. For example, please consider joining a team to strengthen our fundraising communications, or reach out to congregants regarding our Legacy program, or research possible uses of our KG, parking lot, or other facilities.