a Jewish presence in the City of St. Louis
As a congregation that is constantly growing and learning, we have developed a strategic plan to help guide us in our mission. With regard to finance, our goals are to:
In our effort to meet our goals and be transparent, we will publish annually a historical perspective of our income and expenses as shown below. We do this because CRC is the religious home for us all and we all need to know how we are doing financially.
As the table indicates, we have been running at a deficit for the last several years. Not surprisingly, this downturn in our finances mirrors the downturn in the economy. Throughout these financial difficulties, CRC has always remained fiscally responsible. We have cut our staff and have made the most with limited funds.
To address the financial stress we are doing several things. First, we are petitioning the Union of Reform Judaism to have our membership dues reduced. We have done this in the past successfully and hope to do so again. As you may note, URJ membership dues have nearly doubled over the last five years as our financial position has weakened.
Second, we are changing our tuition structure for religious and Hebrew school Pre-K through 6th grade. Over the last several years, tuition has covered less than half of the actual cost of the education we provide. We have kept costs low to be sensitive to the economic pressures our members face. However, CRC is facing those pressures as well. The costs of the programs are high because of the low student teacher ratios. We decided to maintain low class sizes and provide additional support because we believe this is the key to providing our children with a quality education.
Tuition requests will now follow the structure of membership dues. We will list tuition costs for the previous year, the actual cost based upon teachers’ salaries and supplies, and we ask families to give what they can. We see this as the right thing to do because not only will it hopefully raise funds but it is consistent with our goal of communicating financial information. We believe our members want to know, have a right to know, and will appreciate knowing the financial cost involved with the services we provide.
Last but not least, we are creating a development program to raise funds, improve our financial position and empower CRC to continue to be a model for the country. We are a national leader in Tikkun Olam, Advocacy and Inclusivity. We must look inward, determine what we want for our community for the next thirty years, set new goals and then surpass them. We have a long and strong history of making things happen as evidenced by our building fund. Thirteen years ago, we raised the money to design and live in a structure that embodies our values. We have now paid off our mortgage. In 2009, we raised money through our 25th Anniversary Campaign to meet the needs of our congregation. We are beginning this development program to build upon the successes of the past, encourage a culture of giving, and provide different venues to meet the needs of our vibrant and diverse family.