Will both the Church and School participate in the funding of the capital campaign?
Since the first discussions of a capital campaign to renovate St. John’s campus and parish hall occurred four years ago, this has been a joint Church-School project. The input, the planning, and the funding are all based upon contributions from both Church and School families. Based upon past giving patterns it is anticipated that the majority of the financial donations will come from the Church families, but this project could not occur without the contributions of the School community; both are equally important. Members of both the Church and the School communities will be asked to participate in the campaign.
Will this project incur additional long-term debt?
We are only going to spend based upon the funds we raise; our goal is that the campus renovation costs will not exceed our capital campaign fundraising efforts. Because capital campaign pledges can be paid over a three year period, we will likely utilize a short-term construction loan until all pledged funding is received, but no additional long-term debt is expected to be incurred. The Feasibility Study was conducted last year and an achievable goal has been determined with a high level of confidence, therefore all the projects will be able to be completed after a successful campaign. We are also establishing a “stretch goal” and related project details that will include additional benefits if we are able to surpass the initial fundraising plans.
Is the planned work just the upstairs area of the parish hall? What about the undercroft?
The undercroft (basement) of the parish hall is included in the renovation project. This area houses offices, Sunday School classrooms, and African Palms. Renovations of the bathrooms and the installation of the HVAC system are very important for the functionality of this area.
Is the kitchen a part of the renovation?
Depending upon the availability of funds, the kitchen will receive some level of renovation. The major appliances are new or in good condition, though the water heater needs to be replaced. It is also in the plans that the kitchen will receive a separate HVAC unit to handle the heat load generated in that area.
I already give to the Church/School through annual giving, isn’t this the same?
Annual giving, for either Church or School, funds the operating budget; this is similar to our monthly household bills for food and utilities. A Capital Campaign is for large items that are not within the scope of an annual budget. Within our household budget, this is similar to replacing the roof on your home; something that we plan for and save for separately from our monthly expenses. Annual giving to the Church and School is very important. For both organizations, the major expense is staff compensation, and without the security of the annual giving, this might be compromised; annual giving takes priority, the capital campaign is our giving above and beyond our usual funds for the important long term goals involved with the renovation of our facilities and campus.
We already have a large mortgage. How can we look at a capital campaign until this is paid off?
The cost of the debt for the 1999 addition to the School is favorable at this time, and the operating revenue of the School covers the principal and interest payments associated with the debt. The debt ratio is actually quite low so it is the view of the Finance Committee, Trustees, and Vestry, that the School mortgage is not a hindrance to this important renovation project. In fact, the improvements will make the School that much more attractive leading to stronger enrollment. Also, please note that it is the Church that holds the mortgage as the School is a mission of the Church. The mortgage was approved by the School’s Board of Trustees, the Church’s Vestry, and the Diocese of Washington.
Is the financial health of St. John’s strong enough for the scope of this project?
St. John’s Church and School are both financially healthy. While neither organization has surpluses in their budgets, current and long term obligations are being met. The enrollment interest in the School is encouraging and seeing growth. Two years ago and again this year, the School has had a larger than normal graduating class so some fluctuation in total enrollment is to be expected and has been on our planning horizon for several years. The group of returning teachers, and our new Head of School, all bring excitement for the coming years. Similarly, the Church has been seeing consistent growth over the past four years.
What is the timing of the capital campaign?
The exact timing of the campaign has not been determined; however, there are some general goals and limits within which we are working. Because the renovation of the parish hall will be disruptive to both Church and School, it is important that this major component will occur during the summer months when it is least disruptive. This leads us to the following framework:
The Parish Hall of St. John's Episcopal Church & School has been in service for 60 years, providing hospitality and a space for fellowship, special occasions and meetings, providing nourishment to mind, body and soul, and serving our community as a central hub. Due to use, age and the outpacing of technological innovation, our Hall no longer meets the needs of those who depend on it.
Renovation has become a necessity.
The planned renovations are being built upon the strong foundation that the previous generations of leaders have left for us; these are important steps needed to assure the continued health and growth of our Church and School. These are the important steps needed to fulfill our mission in the world.