Common Ground Meditation Center 2024 Annual Treasurer’s Report                                        

On behalf of the Common Ground Finance Committee and the Board of Directors, I am happy to report that Common Ground Meditation Center continues to benefit greatly from the generosity of the community. The overall financial goal of Common Ground is to support our mindfulness practice in a healthy and frugal manner.  

We made a successful transition back to offering in person programing while continuing to make an online offering available for most programs. We see the online component of the programs as essential for serving our community and plan to continue to make this option available. During the 2023 fiscal year, donations (dana) received from the community were $431,836 and is consistent with receipts in past years.   Of this, we received 2023 dana of $49,776 for the renovation and operation of Common Ground Retreat Center.  We earned approximately $17,695 from interest from savings.   Total Common Ground 2023 operating expenses were $313,483 versus a budget of $324,172.  Operating income for 2023 was $128,051 before depreciation expenses of $40,000.  We continue to operate both our city center and the retreat property completely mortgage free.

The operating costs have increased due to the growing programing of the retreat center, adding a second full time Guiding Teacher, and inflation.  As a result, the organization is now operating at (or close to) break even.  We are taking steps to ensure our budgeted costs remain balanced with dana receipts and interest from our savings in 2024.  

A Common Ground financial operating principle is to reserve cash on hand at least equal to the annual expense budget for both centers plus reserves for future repairs and capital improvements.  Our 2023 yearend cash on hand is $1,101,175. The year-end cash includes an allocation of $302,967 for future repairs and capital improvements, and $268,700 earmarked for future projects at the retreat center and a future teacher residence. 

In the spirit of freely giving to support our practice (the principle of dana), in 2023 the community offered our Co- Guiding Teacher Mark Nunberg, a total of $98,656 which includes dana for teaching, administrative work, professional development.  Co-Guiding Teacher Shelly Graf worked ¾ time and was offered the same dana as Mark for teaching on a prorated basis.  This total compensation includes a salary of $61,369, professional development funds of $7,287, and an annual retirement contribution of $30,000; Common Ground does not offer Shelly and Mark health insurance as they are covered by their spouse’s insurance. At year end, the Board offered an additional dana gift of $30,000 to each Co-Guiding Teacher. The decision on how the gift will be used will be made later in 2024.

Teacher support, compensation, and benefits are the largest component in the 2024 budget. We estimate that we will spend $301,086 in 2024 to support our administrative staff and our many ongoing and visiting teachers.  Gabe Keller Flores, Office Manager (20-25 hours/week), and Nancy Boler Bookkeeping Manager (8 hours/week). 

We are seeking a qualified volunteer to join the Finance Committee. The preferred candidate would have an accounting background and have some experience managing longer term investments with the aim to offset future inflation costs.

I deeply appreciate my colleagues on the finance committee, Nancy Boler, Mark Nunberg, Shelly Graf, and Dave Halsey – their guidance on financial management is invaluable.  Congratulations to Nancy who has successfully completed the first year as bookkeeper.   My deep appreciation and special recognition for Gail Iverson.  As you may know, Gail retired after 10 years as the bookkeeper.  She also served as the Chair of Board of Directors and has been a Dharma teacher at the center for 20 years.  

With gratitude,

Rick Condon, Treasurer

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