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MCC's in Canada prepare for budget shortfall, cutbacks

Gladys Terichow
July 2, 2009

WINNIPEG, Man. —Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is behind budget for the first nine months of the 2008-2009 fiscal year ending August 31, 2009.

“Two months ago there were hopeful signs that cash donations to MCC were increasing but our current financial reports indicate a budget shortfall that could be as high as $1.5 million,” said MCC Canada executive director Don Peters.

When MCC Canada and the five provincial MCC offices planned their budgets in early 2008, staff optimistically predicted that giving would continue to grow as in previous years and so budgeted for an overall increase of 10 per cent.

Economic experiences vary among the regions in Canada. In general, donations in the Prairie provinces are steady and close to budget while donations in the West Coast and Eastern Canada reflect the downturn in the Canadian economy and are well below budget.

Although there has been an overall decline in cash donations from last year, there has been an increase in revenue from thrift shops, relief sales and non-cash revenues from contributions to material aid resources (relief kits, blankets).
 “When I’m in a circle with other non-government organizations, my sense is that we are doing well and that MCC’s constituency has been faithful,” said Peters. “We are extremely grateful for the support MCC continues to receive.

 “But the fact is that we have lower revenues than projected and that translates to less work that we can do. We want our constituency to know that.”

Working collectively, the MCC’s in Canada are addressing this budget shortfall through “sharing the pain” of reducing administrative and local programming costs by 5.5 percent for the remainder of the fiscal year, spending down reserve funds and increasing efforts to raise funds, said Peters.

These efforts make it possible for the MCC’s in Canada to meet the financial commitments approved in the 2008-2009 budget for MCC international programs.

MCC’s work in developing countries is budgeted in U.S. funds. Although the MCC’s in Canada are meeting financial commitments for international programs the fluctuations in exchange rates affect the amount of money that is forwarded from Canada for international programs.

The budgets for the 2009-2010 fiscal year have been finalized and further reductions of 6.4 per cent for administrative and local programming costs have been approved. There could also be reductions in the amount allocated for international programs in 2009-2010.