Randy Robinson, North American Division treasurer, introduced the 2019 treasury report with thanks to G. Thomas Evans, previous treasurer. He then shared 2 Chronicles 7:14 as he opened his report on Nov. 4.
Before getting into the numbers, Robinson shared how he keeps financial accountability by remembering two personas. “Grandma and Grandpa Jones look at their pension, maybe $1,500, and they decide to happily write a check to the Seventh-day Adventist Church for $150,” he said. “I’m exceedingly grateful for the individuals who have capacity to give large amounts of money, and some give millions. But the bread and butter of the Adventist Church is Grandma and Grandpa Jones. … We deal with millions of dollars ... It is easy to forget Grandma and Grandpa Jones. But we dare not forget their generosity.” [CLICK HERE for interview with Robinson.]
Robinson shared highlights from the 2018 audited financial statement, including operating fund trends, working capital, and tithe. He reported that although the operating fund assets dipped for 2017 after the NAD purchased its headquarters building, the 2018 figures show an upward trend. Robinson reminded the executive committee that “we own this building outright. So you can see the important trend there: if we look at our whole operation, our assets are increasing modestly.”
Working capital, explained Robinson, has dipped — in 2017 it was 78 percent — but is also trending up with 2018 showing 85 percent. A working capital of 100 percent is optimal.
“The most important metric that I use for financial health of the organization is the number of days of cash on hand,” explained Robinson. He shared that the NAD had 209 days of cash plus investments available in 2018. It was 220 in 2016, and 194 in 2017. “Recommended working capital as a North American Division policy says you should have a certain amount of assets available to you to do business. The number should be between 180 and 210 days of cash. Right now we are at 185 with the trend going up,” he said.
Gross tithe in 2018, Robinson reported, was almost $1.1 billion. “Can someone say ‘Praise God’? That’s amazing! Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa Jones,” Robinson declared. He attributed some of the increase in 2018 to the stewardship emphasis in the Adult Bible Study Guide for the first quarter of Sabbath School.* “Every single union had a gain in 2018,” he reported.
In describing tithe allocation, the largest part of that is used for Adventist Education, Robinson said as he showed a pie chart of the total distributed of tithe received.
Robinson also shared where the division is currently for 2019. “Through September, our tithe is down year-to-date by about one percent; two of our nine unions had a gain. Lake Union is leading the way with a [gain of] 2.33 percent,” Robinson reported. “I anticipate close to breakeven for 2019.”
Robinson also gave the investment, remuneration, and 2020 budget reports. The executive committee voted to receive these reports. Robinson, at the conclusion of his report, thanked the treasury team for their hard work throughout the year and at YEM. He then invited Mike Jamieson, NAD undertreasurer, to the platform for recognition of service to the division. As Jamieson was congratulated by Daniel R. Jackson, NAD president, and G. Alexander Bryant, NAD executive secretary, Robinson read the words to be inscribed on a special clock memento: "With gratitude to Michael R. Jamieson for ten years of dedicated Christian service to the North American Division and to the Seventh-day Adventist Church from 1979-2020. Thank you for your legacy of leadership." Jamieson retires this year.
Dave Weigley, Columbia Union Conference president and NAD audit committee chair, informed the executive committee that the General Conference Auditing Service audit report for 2018 was accepted by the audit committee on Oct. 31.
Robyn Kajiura, General Conference Auditing Service associate director, North America, went into some detail on the auditing report, explaining that of the 319 NAD clients, most of which are in the education system, 83.2 were “standard,” with high accuracy.
“It was a good audit, considered ‘clean or standard opinion,’” Kajiura said.
Raymond Jimenez III, NAD Retirement president, provided a short presentation during the treasury report on retirement, with a longer report given on the final day of YEM. During the treasury report, he focused on sharing that the eight plans that the NAD Retirement Department administers all received “clean opinions” from the external auditor.
After an up to 1.6 percent cost of living wage increase was voted, at the end of the session, a motion on the floor to address the remuneration disparity in conferences and entities that may not be on scale with other conferences and entities passed. Addressing this issue would include reporting complete information on any disparity in the division.
* Former Stewardship director for the NAD, John Mathews, authored the 2018 first quarter Adult Bible Study Guide on stewardship.