The Financial Four -- February 28, 2018

The latest edition of The Financial Four, an update from our Director of Finance, Missy Sue Mastel Horwitz, is shared below.

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Dear Congregation Beth Sholom Community,

I am so excited to be writing this update as we are rounding the final bend on many of the objectives I communicated to the Board just two (short) years ago! So I'd like to put a stake in the ground right now so that everyone can be just as excited and forward-looking as I am.

1. Although picking up our financial situation in January 2016 was not easy, with the help of some wonderful Friends of the Synagogue like Joe Ratner and Todd Strauss, among others, we were able to create a new direction and financial models for the synagogue that are sustainable. No one is thinking we are done, but looking at our financials year over year, we can start again to make longer-term plans.

2. While staff changes are always hard, we made it through some tough personnel decisions and can now begin envisioning the synagogue and the services that we want. We've made some new hires, are out in the world collecting models from other institutions, and are primed for creating some new positions and creative new ways of thinking about customer service here. Talk about bang for your buck!

3. We have had a wonderful relationship over the last two years with our bank, and they have been super supportive of the work being done to keep them informed, to make sure they receive all their interest payments, and to prepare them for our loan renegotiation! Still, it would be remiss of me not to get some competitive bids; and I am happy to say I have had no issue getting other banks to the table. In that vein...

4. As I am sharing some of our financial data with competitive banks, I thought it would be a great time to share the exact same information with you, our congregation. On February 13, I spent two hours thoroughly going over all the CBS financial information with David Golden, Michael Samson, and Zohar Kaplan. While the protocols for corporate and non-profit accounting differ, I’m sure we all got something out of it.

Today, I am thrilled to to offer to you, from the Board, increased financial transparency. If you click through this link, you will be able to see our reviewed financials for the last three years as well as a recent Treasurer's report. In addition, we're sharing some other financial information the competitive banks have asked for in order to propose terms: see here, here, and here. Maybe even more importantly, as you click through, the Board will know this type of reporting is important to you; and how much you appreciate our (my and the Board’s) efforts to keep you informed.

As always, l’shalom,
Missy Sue

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 -- June 28, 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 Hi, there. I hope your summer is off to a great start. If not, I think the good news I have to share with you will help. I’m also excited about the summer blockbusters, so you might notice a theme.

1. Independence Day: Resurgence — As we enter the summer season, the shul's financial focus shifts significantly from managing monthly operations to budgeting for the upcoming year. Many of you know that we basically collect 75% of revenue in the months between June and September. This year, thanks to the generosity of our donors (not aliens), we have already collected more than $180,000 of dues, and another $20,000 in preschool summer payments. We are deferring this money to use in the new year, and have, thanks to other great donors (also not aliens), not had a need to touch any of these deferred revenues to complete the financial year. Go CBS humans!

2. The Jungle Book - The CBS Family Preschool faced some challenges in the first half of the year, but due to amazing oversight and restructuring helmed by Katherine Friedman Barboni and Dale Kleisley, the projected losses were cut by half. We are all set for a record-breaking year to come with only three spots left to full capacity for 2016-2017. Couldn’t happen to a nicer panther and bear.

3. Ben-Hur — It is no real secret that we had maybe more staff than we needed, and so we have spent a lot of this last month coming up with some deft reorganization plans. I would like to welcome Tim Fong, who is stepping into Billy Kwong's position, and Kim Hegg, who is now our CBS Operations and Events Manager. Kim will be our new go-to person to help monetize and maintain the building asset — keeping it rented and functioning. Can’t wait to see how this chariot race turns out!

4. The BFG — I have to offer a "big friendly giant" thank you to Joe Ratner and John Wekselblatt — who have been working with me to renegotiate our insurance policies to the tune of $25,000 in savings for the upcoming year, without any drop in coverage.

Keep your (X-ray) eyes peeled in upcoming HaLuach newsletters for more updates. I look forward to keeping you informed and answering any questions you may have.