General Secretary Report to Councils

General Secretary, PYM

Mid-September 2019

Business and Finances:

  • The 2019 fiscal year is drawing to a close with 92% of the year complete as of August 30.  Support & Revenue is close to budget.  Expenses are trending below budget.
  • The final appeal is in mailboxes and final email campaign is underway and we look on track to meet our Annual Fund goal of $300,000. Some highlights include: donors who gave this year and last year increased their gifts by an average of 7% and out-of-state donors increased giving by 9.5%; so far this year 206 Friends who had lapsed in giving gave this year – and gave $44,878; one of the email appeals will also remind Friends to give to their monthly meeting.
  • PYM’s auditors did a week of planning in August in preparation for the November audit.  This year PYM will be implementing changes required by the FASB’s (Financial Accounting Standards Board) Accounting Standards Update 2016-14, Presentation of Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities.  The title is more formidable than the actual changes.  Mainly, the three-column audit presentation format of recent decades, Unrestricted, Temporarily Restricted and Restricted, is being replaced with two plain English columns, Without Donor Restrictions and With Donor Restrictions.  It should make PYM’s financial statements more readable and informative.
  • Over the summer we explored The Reinvestment Fund as a prospect for PYM investments in order to increase the impact of our investments. In particular we are investigating their community development bridge loan fund which would lend to projects such as community health centers, child care centers, and affordable housing.  Many community development projects include funding sources that will only pay in over time or on project completion.  These projects may have little access to other financing.  A bridge loan allows them to move forward and creates jobs.  PYM would invest through Friends Fiduciary.  The prospect was well received at Sessions and Admin Council will make a progress report at Continuing Sessions in November.
  • The Legacy Fund is launched with four gifts – total collected $71,749. What is the Legacy Fund? This is a named gift that conserves principal and generates income in perpetuity. It also makes room for the life stories of Legacy fund donors, the listing of donor names in the annual report, and the placement of these stories on our Website. In time, hundreds of Friends lives, their contributions to humanity, their communities, and the Quaker faith will be documented by the reporting we automatically do around this Legacy Fund. Initial gifts are in the names of Kirk Norris, Charlie Ufford, S. Francis Nicholson and Anne Hollingsworth Thomas Moore.

Program and Ministry:

  • The funding cycle has begun for collaboratives, sprints, and other groups in the PYM who can request funding for projects from the Quaker Life Council. A housekeeping email went out detailing the process for applying and other supportive resources for PYM groups.
  • The core team of staff who support PYM programs is called the Community Engagement Team; this team sets goals for the year in September. One of the team goals is to spend time articulating clearly the Quaker tradition so that staff can speak about it positively and confidently in the course of running programs and talking about Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
  • Young Adult Friends have had a leadership transition, and staff have supported them through developing a new clerking team.
  • August and September included many events for youth and families: a Family Play Date, Young Friends Late Summer Gathering, Young Friends Peace Fair, and the Quaker Family Meet Up.
  • Our first reception for supporters was held at the General Secretary’s home. 24 people came, enjoyed fellowship and shared their thoughts about why they give to PYM.

Communications and Technology:

  • We have evaluated and re-valuated which email system to integrate with our database. We settled on a program called Pardot and have carefully been setting up the behind-the-scenes infrastructure, testing it and creating templates that provide a structure and recognizable look and feel.
  • The online registration form for annual sessions is being rebuilt, and our staff who run the registration process attended a training on the registration program to learn more about how to facilitate an efficient and effective process.
  • Interesting web fact: PYM.org became an unlikely internet star in September. We are the first resource that comes up when people do a google search for resources on how to open a spiritual retreat. This is bringing 5000 hits a year on this topic and it comes from all over the world. Check the page out yourself:

Staff and Administration:

  • The Director of HR and Inclusion has resigned that position but is maintaining support for two key projects during the interim period. We will post the position at full time as we’ve learned it requires 35 hours a week to meet the goals of the job.
  • The Executive Director of the Arch Street Meeting House is on a temporary leave through mid-October. An Interim Executive Director is maintaining stability for this time period.

Inclusion and Anti-Racism: 

  • Following the past year of staff work to identify goals for anti-racism and inclusion work we have developed a relationship with Prototype Entities to support us in moving forward. Prototype Entities is the organization that was recommended by the Multicultural Audit Steering Committee to provide an audit for PYM.
  • The planned work with Prototype includes training for all staff and for supervisors, coaching for key staff, establishing a baseline of staff experience and developing a climate survey tool that can be used every six months and a review of the policies, procedures and documents in place.