The Financial Four Five -- August 1, 2017

Today, the latest edition of The Financial Four, an update from our Interim Director of Finance, Missy Sue Mastel Horwitz.

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Hello, I hope you are having a wonderful summer!

As we at all prepare for the High Holy Days and 5778, I would like to give you an update on the ongoing financial picture at CBS.

1. End of Year Report. We completed the 2016-2017 year on June 30, and have replenished our cash reserves by more than $300,000. This was accomplished through the tireless efforts of the development committee, YOU – our generous community, and a staff who dedicated themselves to the reshaping of a more sustainable future. Special thanks to our Rabbi, the Board of Directors, and Beth Sholom staff, who gave of themselves and continue to make the synagogue’s financial health a priority.

2. Building Loan Refinancing. Our annual financial review is already underway and we have heard from several banks that we are on the right track to secure healthy refinancing options for the balloon payment due in May 2018. While we aren’t out of the woods, our community has waged an impressive effort to keep us moving forward. Thank you!

3. Community Building. Among our ongoing efforts to energize the shul’s relationship with our community is an effort to evaluate and maximize the role of our kosher kitchen. We would like to know from you how you use the kitchen and its services? For the next two weeks, if you step into the kitchen for any reason, or would like to — we want to know why and how we can assist. Please email me – we’ll be happy to arrange a tour, or talk to you about ways our members and the community already use our wonderful kosher kitchen.

4. Matching Gifts. Please check with your employer regarding any employer charitable matching gifts or other donation opportunity available. We have a list of all the matching companies in the United States, and if yours is one of them, you can easily double your gift to the synagogue! At a minimum, please make sure that the synagogue knows where you and your family members are employed. Also, please consider signing up for Amazon Smile and other online services with Beth Sholom as your preferred charity of choice. Call the office and we will be happy to help you set up all the necessary contact information.

5. Member Renewal. Thank you to the 65% of our membership that has already renewed! To those that have yet to do so, we are planning an extraordinary, multifaceted High Holy Day experience and a 5778 packed with celebration, education, and exploration — so please get your renewal in today!

L’shalom,
Missy Sue

The Financial Four -- March 21, 2017

Today, the latest edition of The Financial Four, an update from our Interim Director of Finance, Missy Sue Mastel.

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Dear Chaverim,

It’s March, and while it may have gone unnoticed to some, I’m proud to say that Scott and I celebrated our one-year anniversary of living together and working together at the shul!

It’s been an exciting year, and while we still argue about who has to get up and feed Luna (Scott, always), we also get to spend time talking about how best to serve you and the synagogue every day, and that means a lot to us both. It would be silly not to take this opportunity to say how much I appreciate all that Scott has done. Or to mention how lovely it is to hear this from you whenever we see you. But I would be REALLY silly not to acknowledge all the fantastic help Scott has had along the way, and I'll do so in the form of some financial updates!

1. Our Fabulous Consultants. – Some of you may recognize the names Steven Dinkelspiel and Susan Jacobson from so much of their great work in the Bay Area Jewish community. CBS has had the good luck of having them engaged in helping us grow a more fervent development culture here at CBS. Steven and Susan have been essential in helping us to focus on what you, the members of the synagogue, think is most important, and we have been able to raise more than $300,000 so far in donations this year, outside of membership!

2. Our even more fabulous Board. – Talk about people dedicated to a cause! These are the wonderful people who take the time out of their already busy lives to dedicate themselves to the synagogue. Some of our board members took on the mitzvah years ago without any clue of how things would progress, while others stepped up in the middle of a crisis and have pitched in to fill needs and gaps. I’m happy to say that I personally know of at least three more community members (I can’t announce their names just yet) who are applying to join our amazing board, and we could not be luckier to have them – they will continue what we have grown here so far!

3. Our amazing staff. – For those of you who came to Purimpalooza, our Purim carnival and spiel, it is almost as if I can see your faces soften as you remember that terrific afternoon. Our staff put in countless hours to make all those games, delicious food, prizes, and fun happen, and the community experience led to a lot of generosity that still continues. We made about $8,000 net on the event itself, but big businesses wish they could garner as much goodwill as the great event has. And the staff is so excited, they're dreaming up more programming fun...like the Fress Kosher for Passover dessert event that will take place at Brandeis.

4. Numbers. All kinds of numbers. – CBS is engaged in some new accounting best practices, including surplus budgeting, cash and accrual metrics, meaningful fund accounting, and sub-line budget to actual reporting. We are running projections that, mostly through some significant cost cuts, will allow us to show a surplus for the year, which is critical for our loan covenants. Outside of the accountant realm, I also like numbers such as: the (sold-out) upcoming Parnas members event at SFJAZZ; the number of members who have supported and sponsored our Shabbat kiddush lunch program; the number of new members (~30); and the number of new events and types of events we are hosting here. I could not be more enthusiastic about the way you are making the synagogue a place for your celebrations and gatherings – and I couldn’t be happier for you.

L’shalom,
Missy Sue

The Financial Four -- July 26, 2016

Today, the latest edition of The Financial Four, an update from our volunteer Acting Director of Finance, Missy Sue Mastel.

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Donation_CBSYellow While the summer cold front raced in, I have been glued to my desk at CBS. For those of you who also follow the sun, it is not a great loss to be indoors these days — especially since I found an old space heater!

Here is what we’ve accomplished in the last short weeks.

1. Our First EVER On-time Close. – I admit I get a little choked up about this, but the draft financial statements for our fiscal year end (FYE) were sent to the reviewers today, less than four weeks from our official year end close on June 30, 2016. For those of you who are not fiscally-minded, this means that we are closing out our books in a timely fashion. Why is this noteworthy? Because it is the first time we have done so, at least in the new building!

2. Happy Vendors – All of our vendors have been paid in full as of FYE. We have no more liability outstanding from any prior year(s), excepting the line of credit on the building.

3. A $22,000 Fiscal Year 2015-16 Bank Balance – As you know from the February Town Hall meeting, we were hoping to break even for the second half of the year. I'm pleased to report that, after all the accruals and fund assignments were reviewed and corrected, the year closed with an extra $22,000 in our operating account. In January, when we first learned of our financial setback, we could only have hoped for such a result, but Scott promised it at the annual meeting, and thanks to an awesome staff and your generosity, we were able to make it happen!

4. A GREAT Start To The New Fiscal Year – Not one, but two families have now joined us as Rosh Pina (Cornerstone) level Parnas Fellowship members (a super generous $36,000/year commitment) – thank you SO much! Moreover, three excited and exuberant member families have talked to us about replenishing their named donation funds.

All that to say, with no intended slight to our unique San Francisco weather, we are no longer looking through a fog!

Introducing The Financial Four

This week, we introduce The Financial Four, an update from our volunteer Acting Director of Finance, Missy Sue Mastel. Look for these financial updates going forward, which will appear near the lead of our weekly HaLuach e-newsletter.

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Donation_CBSYellowDear Fellow Congregants,

Not many people get excited about doing their finances, but I do!

Many of you only know me as the wife of the Board President, Scott Horwitz, or the mother of those two weird and wonderful b’nai mitzvot, Josh and Sara Horwitz, who again read Torah this weekend in honor of their father’s 50th birthday. However, I'm also your volunteer Acting Director of Finance, a CPA and a CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant), and I have run a successful forensic auditing firm for the last 20 years — the same 20 years we have been members of Beth Sholom. I have served on your Finance Committee and been a Board Treasurer, so when I say that your synagogue is my synagogue, I mean it with all my heart.

I thought it was time to share with you some of the financial highlights of the last few months, particularly those developments that have occurred since the Town Hall, so that you can have a feel for what we have accomplished together as a organization. Let’s call it The Financial Four — four things you should know about Congregation Beth Sholom finances and "where it all goes."

1. A+ on our 2015 review. Our 2015 financials were reviewed in March by the accounting firm of Crosby and Kaneda — we passed with flying colors. We have the beginnings of a new audit committee - two external, Jewish Community Federation professionals with extensive financial experience, who also reviewed and approved the report.

2. A Happy Lender. One week after our most recent bank meeting with First Republic, a set of March 31, 2016, financial statements were produced, including a profit and loss statement, a balance sheet, and a statement of cash flows. The bank thanked us for our super-quick and up-to-date turn around!

3. Cancel and pay off the credit cards! In January, we stopped use on all credit cards and began work to account for and reconcile credit cards and their misuse. Thanks to some great volunteers including Ruth Jaffe, Suzanne Lissak, Gail Ravitz, Sandy Goldstein, Harriet Sollod, and Willy Waks, we have been able to get the credit cards under control, and as of May 6, 2016, they are all paid off. We hope to create new expense policies and controls in the coming summer months.

4. April Fool’s - not for this synagogue! While all synagogues run at a deficit, in order to balance the losses from the first half of the current fiscal year, CBS needed to find a way to create positive months for the second half. April was the first month in the last 15 where we actually brought in more money than we spent. We could not have done this without generous donations from congregants and the Board's new fundraising objectives, which will transform and rejuvenate our synagogue.

We still have a lot of work to do to get all of our controls in line. Working together, we will do exactly that, and we will make our synagogue community more robust in the process. I look forward to keeping you informed and answering any questions you may have.