General Secretary Report to PYM Councils for October 2017

General Secretary

Each month I present a report that shares highlights of the work of staff to the PYM Councils. It includes a written report with highlights organized by focus area (Finance, Program, etc) and an oral report going into a little more detail on one or two areas.

Beginning this year, I am posting the reports online as well so they are available for all Friends to read. They will be posted in the first week of each month, beginning right now with the September/October report. You can read below about the oral report I made to the Councils in October (I was away for several weeks in September and was not able to report to the councils then), and you can download and read the written report. If you have thoughts or questions please contact me at cduncan-tessmer@pym.org or 215-241-7210.

Oral Report Recap

Annual Fund

The Annual Fund is the what we call the gifts of individuals to PYM. When the books were closed the Annual Fund total was higher than the previous year for the first time since 2013. The margin was tiny but the drops since the financial crisis have sometimes been in the tens of thousands. That increase was despite the fact that the Friend who has consistently given a $20,000 gift died in the past year and we are no longer receiving that contribution. It is also notable that we had a change in staffing in the Development department which both meant that we lost some momentum and institutional memory and that we had some fresh ideas. Taking a close look at the results of the final campaign show that about 60% of end-of-year donors increased their gift over the previous year. Additionally, 20% of the donors were Friends who had not given the previous year.

National Council of Churches Delegation to the Middle East

PYM has been a member of the National Council of Churches since its inception at the turn of the last century. Last year NCC held a Consultation on the Holy Land, bringing together religious leaders, grassroots activists, and civil society actors to enhance the churches’ knowledge of the current situation in Israel and Palestine. As a next step in that ministry the Council planned a delegation of members of its governing board to travel to the Middle East to witness to peace in the region and to draw attention to the critical issues that face the Middle East and I was a member of that delegation. I sent letters back to PYM from the trip which were posted on PYM’s website. I have visited several meetings and individuals to talk about it since I returned and I find that every time I tell stories about the trip I reflect on a different aspect of it. The stories I told the Quaker Life Council and the Admin Council were similar but not the same and led to different kinds of discussions. I encourage Friends to read the stories at www.pym.org/news and to invite me to visit your meeting to hear more and see pictures.

Staffing

I gave the councils an overview of the complementary ways in which two staff teams function together to support the PYM community. Some of the staffing is in place and some will be coming to fruition in the next couple of months. The Program & Religious Life staff team supports the community and ministry of our yearly meeting with the work they do to bring Friends together across all of our meetings. This happens in the form of youth gatherings, thread gatherings, annual and continuing sessions, collaboratives and special events. The Advancement & Relationship staff team is coming into focus as we move forward with hiring an Associate Secretary of Advancement & Relationship. This team supports the Friends and meetings (monthly and quarterly) of our yearly meeting through written and electronic communications channels, supporting Bridge Contacts, proactively finding out about the news and cares of meetings and connecting them to resources and the Yearly Meeting and cultivating relationships with individuals and with donors. Between these two teams there’s support for bringing PYM Friends and meetings together across our community and for connecting them with the organization of PYM.