If you have questions about the building project and capital campaign, you’re not alone. Here is a list of frequently asked questions.
What is the financial situation of the parish and what kind of financial transparency do you envision for the parish moving forward?
There are several things to note here:
- The financial health of the parish is good. We have never run a deficit in the last 22 years and all projects have been saved and paid for without borrowing money.
- Our current collection income as of April 30 is $ 75,703 ahead of our annual budget. We expect to end the fiscal year, June 30 with a slight surplus. We plan to expand the financial information reported beyond the current weekly budgeted and actual income for greater transparency.
- We conduct an external audit either annually or bi-annually. The current bi-annual audit for fiscal year ending 2016 and 2017 is in process. Our last audit was positive and did not find any instances of non-compliance. The auditor noted that the church provides clear disclosures, that all significant transactions were recognized in the proper period and that we are operating in accordance with accepted accounting principals.
- The cash position of the parish is strong. As of April 30, 2018 we had $ 2.5 million in checking and savings. Of that amount, about $1.4 million is temporarily restricted (specific parish or school line items) with $ over $800,000 unrestricted and available for needs in the parish.
- With the unusual expenditures associated with a building project, we plan to appoint a financial transition team both to plan for future expenses and to oversee current expenses during the project.
Will there be an opportunity to recognize donors and honor loves ones with memorials in the completed Community Center?
During the campaign, we are using a temporary donor recognition wall in the Campaign Corner, but it does not include memorials. We hope to include a permanent donor recognition element in the new center, possibly as part of the courtyard, with the opportunity to honor loved ones.
Why must we meet with an ambassador? Can’t we just fill out a pledge card?
We want as many parishioners as possible to have the chance to hear the latest updates about the project, to get questions answered and to perhaps get acquainted with a fellow parishioner. (The personal visits for many people turn out to be the best part of the campaign. Give it a try!) If you’re unable to meet, an ambassador can make accommodations to get the card filled out. Thanks so much for your willingness to meet with an ambassador.
Will we get reminders about our pledges during the three years of the campaign?
Yes! In early July, we will begin sending quarterly statements to all donors to the campaign. The statements will include how much you’ve pledged, how much you’ve paid and how much is left to pay. Return envelopes will be included if you’ve indicated that you will be making your payments through the mail.
Can I give online?
Yes again! Once you have filled out and submitted a pledge card, you can go to the parish website, where there is a link that takes you to the place where you can make a one-time gift or set up a payment system using automatic withdrawal through a bank account or credit card. We also will send quarterly statements to you if you have set up online payments.
Can trust and estate gifts be made to the campaign?
Because the needs of the campaign require immediate funding, gifts of cash and securities are generally sought. But yes, trust and estate gifts are welcomed. If a donor offers a planned gift, he or she should be referred to the campaign office to discuss the options available in making such a gift.
Is a campaign commitment tax-deductible?
Gifts to the campaign are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. The application of such laws varies with individual circumstances. Donors with specific questions regarding tax deductibility should contact their attorney or financial adviser.
What are the pieces of the new construction?
The main piece is a Community Center, which will be a two-story, free-standing building to the west of the church and to the south of the parking lot. It will include a social hall and kitchen, space for our outreach and youth ministries, plus an outdoor courtyard for prayer and meditation. But we also plan to enhance our hospitality ministry by expanding the welcoming area on both the west side and east side of the vestibule. Also on the east side is where a new music room will be built for our choir and other music ministries. Finally, the main building will see some renovations to accommodate new offices.
What does this mean for parking?
We can assure you that the project will not mean a loss of parking. In fact, it’s possible that there will be a modest increase in the number of spaces. The architect and Building Committee are at work on this, and we understand how important this is to all of you.
How much will all this cost, and can we afford it?
The total project is estimated to cost $4.5 million, and raising at least that much is our goal for the capital campaign. The parish is debt-free at this time, and there are no plans to incur long-term debt from this project. The pledge period for the campaign will be three years, so it’s likely the parish will take out a short-term loan to begin construction as pledges are redeemed.
Who are the leaders of the Campaign?
- Fr. Jack Gleason, pastor
- Fr. Duy Nguyen, associate pastor
- Kathy Desruisseau, business administrator
- Mike Malcom, communications director
- Jennifer Wood, development director
- Maxine Coats, church secretary
- General Chairs
- George and Diane Erbacher
- Tim and Patsy Hepner
- Chris and Kathy Scalet
- Msgr. Dennis Dorney, pastor emeritus
- Kathy Craft
- Deacon Rich and Jane Bender
- Katie Boudreau
- Michael and Erin Dailey
- Margaret Ellison
- Bill and Sue Flynn
- Junie and Carla Lechner
- Mark and Maggie Ohnesorge
- Sam and Becky Rhoades
- Joe and Amanda Spanier
- Alan and Sharon Sylvester
Special Event Chairs
- Joby and Jennifer Wood
- Michael and Pam Tanner
- Pat and Jeanne Mandeville
Will the Choirs get a dedicated space?
Yes, our Building Committee is working with our architects to give our choirs adequate space to rehearse, to warm up, and to store their music and instruments. They are exploring several options for its location.
What does the Community Center project mean for parking?
We understand that parking is at a premium and a major concern of parishioners. In the long term, the new Community Center will not reduce the total number of parking spaces, and it’s possible that there will be a modest increase in the number. We hope to extend and/or reconfigure parking along 49th Place. Plus, there may be an opportunity to create another small lot across Quaker. During the construction period, there will likely be some impact on parking, but we will work to minimize the disruption.
What about the Annex?
The Annex will be demolished under the current plan. That space – together with the two large, mature trees immediately to the rear of the Annex that we intend to save – will become a courtyard for prayer and meditation and an entrance leading to the church and Community Center for pedestrians.
What is the overall status of the Community Center design?
The short answer is that we expect to have something from the architect very soon. The longer answer: We’re in an important, exciting phase. Cyntergy, a local architecture, engineering and construction firm, is working with information that was gathered by Saint Mary through a thorough needs assessment which included four listening sessions, and individual meeting with ministry leaders and staff. These needs, such as for a large social hall with a kitchen and a new space for our outreach ministry, were then tested in January during the planning study conducted by the Steier Group. Cyntergy is now developing the building plan and a conceptual design, including floor plans, renderings and a detailed video.
Will any space be dedicated to a sole purpose or use?
The primary objective is to develop as much of the center as possible for more than one use, even if a space’s primary use is focused on one area, such as with youth ministry. However, a music room will likely be a dedicated space because of the particular needs of the choir – the room should have graduated elevations for seating, along with storage space for valuable musical instruments and sheet music.
What is the plan for the Saint Mary campus, and what is the timeline?
We have completed a planning study, which showed strong support for a capital campaign to build a new Community Center. The new center will include a parish hall with a kitchen for large events and new youth ministry and outreach spaces. The project also will include a new music room. Our architect is working on detailed plans, and we have begun the preparation phase of the campaign. (Stay tuned for how you can help!) The active portion of the campaign, when three-year pledges are requested, will begin this spring and last through early August. The start of construction will depend on how much money is pledged and how soon it comes in, but we hope for a groundbreaking this year.
Why do we need these projects? We already have spaces for all of these things.
Yes, we have been able to “make do” with the spaces we have. Now, we want to “make room.” Make room for more ministries, larger events, expanded outreach and more vibrant youth ministry, to name a few. A Community Center can help us move from worrying about scheduling and logistics to focusing on how each ministry can touch parishioners’ lives and move us along on our faith journey.
Is there a theme for the campaign?
Our campaign theme, “With Arms Open Wide,” expresses a desire to acknowledge the blessing we have in the Church of Saint Mary and to extend our arms in welcome to our growing faith community and our neighborhood community – whether it’s those who are new to the parish, adults and youths who would like to become more active, or those in need.
Why are we conducting a capital campaign?
The reason for a capital campaign is captured by its theme – “With Arms Open Wide” – and the accompanying Marian image of Our Lady of Grace. Our mission as a Catholic parish to bring souls to Christ encourages us to make room for and welcome all who would want to worship and serve here. Our ministries are feeling a space crunch, and the parish priority planning process identified key areas that need attention – areas such as the addition of a larger social hall, a new youth ministry space and outreach space. A planning study found there was tremendous support for the project, and parish leadership decided to move ahead with a campaign.
What is the parish’s financial situation? Will we take on debt because of this campaign?
The parish is debt-free at this time, and there are no plans to incur long-term debt from this project. The pledge period for the campaign will be three years, so it’s likely the parish will take out a short-term loan to begin construction as pledges are redeemed.
What will happen to the regular offertory? Will MaryFair donations be affected?
Any pledge that is made to the “With Arms Open Wide” campaign is meant to be above and beyond what a parishioner is already giving. Regular giving generally is what keeps a parish functioning on a day-to-day basis. A capital campaign is a separate initiative intended to make improvements beyond normal maintenance and repairs. For a homeowner, the equivalent might be paying your monthly electrical bill versus getting a new roof once every 20 years. In the short-term, offertory giving is expected to remain at its current level, with only modest growth likely. In the long term, similar campaigns have led to increases in parish offertory by raising the sights of parishioners and their commitment to the church. We hope MaryFair donations will not suffer because of this campaign.
Got a question? Email Mike Malcom and he’ll get an answer.