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Women’s Division to take new approach to finances

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Jan Love
Oct. 11, 2005

By Linda Bloom*

STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS) — A long-term decline in funding, impacted by inflation, will mean a new approach to finances for the Women’s Division of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

Various aspects of the current financial picture were discussed as directors met Oct. 7-10 for the division’s annual meeting. The Women’s Division is the administrative arm of United Methodist Women.

Jan Love, the division’s chief executive, told United Methodist News Service that while undesignated giving has varied in the past decade, the real problem is that giving patterns have not kept pace with inflation.

“There is a long-term decline, but it’s primarily in relationship to purchasing power,” she explained.

In recent years, the division also has overspent its income “because of the demands on us” to fill in the gaps when other institutions fall short of funds, she added. To meet these demands, the division has spent down some of its assets.

“We’re still in excellent financial health,” Love said, but she pointed out that such spending cannot continue.

For 2007, the division is working on a “comprehensive picture” of how all funds come in and how expenditures go out, she noted.

Roland Fernandes, treasurer for the Board of Global Ministries, reported that undesignated giving to the Women’s Division during the first eight months of 2005 is $1.1 million less than during the same period in 2004. Operating revenue for that period is $810,000 less than last year.

“In the present situation, we appear vulnerable but need to remember that usually a good portion of the income is received towards the end of the year,” he said.

The division has reduced total operating expenditures by $1.84 million compared to 2004, a reduction sparked by “a conscientious effort to scale back spending.”

“Through the first eight months of 2005, the lower expenditures more than offset the lower income, resulting in a smaller deficit as compared to 2004,” Fernandes said.

According to his report, the division’s total net assets declined by almost $28 million from the end of 2000 to the end of 2004, with $23 million of that money falling into the unrestricted category.

The division’s section on finance presented a brief paper, “United Methodist Women Focus on Finance,” to all directors.

According to the paper, the division will explore ways to streamline its work and analyze the giving patterns of United Methodist Women and the effective use of mission funds.

The division will continue to interpret the increasing needs and critical issues of women, children and youth and the ways that mission gifts change their lives, the paper said.

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or

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