WSUU recently received three financial breaks that will help our budget now and for the next twelve months. WSUU is the fortunate recipient of an SBA Paycheck Protection Program loan for $42,000, a loan that we can convert to a grant. In addition, the UUA and Pacific Northwest UU Growth Fund offered us interest-only mortgage loan payments for one year. These opportunities allow us to face the uncertain economic future with greater confidence. In addition, we were able to compensate our staff for their extra efforts as we converted to virtual service, no small task.
To convert the PPP loan to a grant, we need to use the funds within 8 weeks and for the specific eligible uses (personnel costs, mortgage interest and utilities). The Finance Committee is prepared for this and is tracking costs in a spreadsheet. SBA has yet to issue the guidance and standard form, but we will be ready. UUA’s Director of Church Staff Finances is paying close attention and providing guidance in regular emails.
The PNUUGF approached us in early April with the idea of a year’s reprieve from the principal portion of our loan payments. Finance Committee endorsed this and the Board supported it. At the same time, we reached out to UUA regarding refinancing our loan since mortgage rates dropped. They offered instead interest-only payments for twelve months. We accepted this offer. These two changes will save us $23,000 over the 12 months. The long-term consequence of this year of interest-only payments is that it extends our loans by a year unless we increase the amount we pay. This is a small future cost with significant benefit immediately.
So far, few pledgers have contacted Stewardship or Shannon to reduce their pledges for this year. We still have not heard from a number of pledgers about our next fiscal year. We anticipate that pledges for this year will come in at or a little below our budget; three months ago, we thought we might end up $8k above our budget. Our forecast for next year is at least 3% decrease; originally, we hoped for a 3% increase. Our fundraising for next year is likely to reflect the Covid impacts. All this is difficult to forecast.
The timing of this financial assistance couldn’t be better. We are facing a significantly larger budget in the coming year, with a full-time called minister and typical increasing annual costs, during a time of great economic uncertainty. Shelley will share highlights of the proposed budget in next week’s Westside News.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to the Finance Committee: Paula vanHaagen (Chair), Alan Mendel, Shelley Webb (Treasurer) and Shannon Day (Congregational Administrator).