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Message from the Treasurer

06/16/2023 10:23:05 AM

Jun16

First, I want to thank everyone who attended the annual meeting for not throwing tomatoes at me, and for your forbearance as we worked through the complicated financial status of the LJCC. Passing the budget that we did – a clear investment in the future of the LJCC, admittedly using banked resources at first – is a remarkable testament to how far this congregation has come in the past few years. As a brief reminder here are some recent accomplishment highlights. We now have:

  • a full-time Program Director who is reviving some dormant programs and giving life to a wide new range of activities
  • a part time Administrator supporting the board, staff, and congregation
  • a Religious School director and teachers who will provide religious education from pre-K through high school
  • b’nai mitzvah tutoring
  • regular facilities maintenance support
  • a Security Coordinator (soon!)
  • security upgrades to the building with more to come
  • a dedicated accountant and streamlined financial operations
  • active committees of engaged volunteers
  • a new website
  • renewed and new connections to our fellow religious and civic institutions in Lawrence and the area

We should all be kvelling over what we’ve achieved as a congregation. But we should also avoid resting on our lulavs, as it were. 

As I noted during the annual meeting the “savings” we’ve set aside over the past few years give us an “on ramp” to this new level of Jewish engagement and activity, but we can’t depend on just savings. To sustain this new vibrancy we each need to revisit our individual giving – through dues, contributions, tzedakah – and recommit to supporting a new vision for the LJCC. Yes, we’ll need a bit more from every membership. We’ll also need to expand our fundraising efforts and, in close relation to that, build upon sources of perpetual support in the form of lasting endowments.

Over the past few years our annual operating income (funding provided by dues, contributions, and tzedakah) has hovered around $110,000 - $115,000. The Blintz Brunch adds around $4,000 - $5,000 after expenses and grocery card sales adds another $4,000 - $5,000. All totaled, the LJCC’s income has averaged about $120,000. And until this year, our recent operating expenses (funding used to pay salaries, keep the lights on, run the school, provide services and programs, pay contractors, etc.) have been somewhat less than that, hence the nice balance in our bank accounts.

But this year, our operating expenses are projected to exceed our income by about $25,000. Nu? Recall that this is what we as a congregation aspired to 5 years ago, pre-Covid – a full-time person to oversee all our programs, a fully-funded religious school, and a supportive and secure environment for our congregation. We’ve done it! And now we need to rise to the challenge and fully support the new LJCC.

How? If, by this time next year, every member (whether individual or household) chips in 10% more in dues and contributions, that will raise $12,000 – half the funds we need to sustain the congregation at this new level of activity. For instance, if you currently pay dues/contribute $20 a month, please consider giving $22 or $25. If you contribute $200 a month, please try to bump that up to $220. If 10% is too much, even a 5% increase makes an important difference.

We accomplished something this year that we’ve tried to do for a long time – establish an unrestricted endowment to support the LJCC in perpetuity. The L’Dor V’Dor fund will provide income – modest at first but ever growing – every year to support the LJCC’s operation. Come next year this new endowment, along with the newly established Horowitz Fund will contribute another $4,000 to our operating budget. And the Landsberg endowment we established a few years ago will continue to provide funding for our adult education programming. 

If you have an estate plan, and that plan includes the LJCC – thank you! If you haven’t yet considered the LJCC in your plans, let’s talk. And if you would like to make an immediate difference, you can contribute to the L’Dor V’Dor fund now (while you’re still here to enjoy it!) and thereby increase the impact now AND for generations to come. If you want to target your tzedakah in other ways this year’s giving priorities include the religious school, high holidays service leaders, and landscaping. While we’re on the subject – a BIG TODAH RABAH goes to Marty and Maureen Winkler for their generous contribution in support of the High Holidays Service Leader and to Bob Litan for his recent contribution toward the security of the LJCC and its members. Let me know if you’d like to make a directed gift like Marty, Maureen, and Bob to any of this year’s priorities.

At the annual meeting we learned from Lara Giordano, our Program Director, that plans are in motion to increase our membership (with some early success already!) and to undertake new fundraising activities. We anticipate some modest financial growth in our income from both these efforts this year, but the real pay-off comes from the new relationships, new ideas, and new energy that new members bring to enrich our congregation.

For 70 years the LJCC has sometimes survived, sometimes thrived, but always persisted. This is the first time in our history we’ve had the chance to really secure the future of the LJCC. We’re poised to position the next generation to have different conversations than we’ve had. To talk about Torah study and more education, about more diverse and larger programs, about regular prayer services every Shabbat, about b’nai mitzvah tutoring for every child, about beautifying or even replacing the building, about all the wonderful things a Jewish congregation could provide instead of talking about how to make do by trimming this or cutting that or waiting another year to do the thing. Let’s not let this chance slip by. Give what you can, when you can, and be a part of creating the new LJCC. I’ve increased my dues and I hope you’ll join me in committing to our future.


B’shalom,

Jordan Yochim

Wed, June 19 2024 13 Sivan 5784