Archdiocese Releases 2010 Annual Report

Today the Archdiocese of Boston released the Annual Report for the 2010 fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2010. You can read the report here.  There is much to report and it will take several posts to cover everything.

First, here are highlights from the archdiocese’s press release:

  • Balanced budget was achieved in Central Ministries;
  • Parish offertory remained flat despite impacts from the global economic crisis;
  • 36% of parishes operated above breakeven, 31% at breakeven and 33% operated at a loss;
  • Improved Financial Relationship Model (IFRM) was successfully launched in 33 parishes, who subsequently saw a 17% average increase in offertory collections;
  • Investment performance and portfolio improved from the previous fiscal year;
  • Catholic schools remained a priority and the Archdiocese completed a financial analysis of each school;
  • Boston Catholic Development Services was launched to provide improved collaboration, coordination and effectiveness in our fundraising efforts;
  • A comprehensive plan to address the long-term challenges of the lay pension plan was developed and enacted, meeting the Cardinal’s commitment to our lay staff;
  • Compensation and Vendor Disclosure, modeled after the Internal Revenue Service Form 990, is now included with the release of the annual report, providing greater visibility into RCAB compensation information;

2011 Catholic Appeal

Ms. Kathleen Driscoll, Secretary for Institutional Advancement for the Archdiocese of Boston, reported that the goal of the 2011 Appeal is $14M which represents an increase of 11% over the final 2010 Catholic Appeal amount of $13.0M. The 2010 Catholic Appeal ($13.0M) represents a decrease of 14% vs. Catholic Appeal 2009 ($15.0M). This 14% decrease in 2010 was due primarily to the slow recovery of the economy, whereas many non-profits experienced anywhere from 11% to 40% decline in donations.

First of all, we commend the archdiocese for releasing this comprehensive information.  It is more extensive than what is released by most, if not all, other dioceses.  It takes a lot of work to pull all of this together, and we agree with the archdiocese that this sort of transparency and accountability helps build trust.  It is also a good thing for people to all know and understand the challenges that lie ahead, and when one closely reviews the reports, those challenges are clear.

For today, we will just start by highlighting a few things that jumped out at us.

  • 2010 Catholic Appeal decrease of $2 million from 2009 to 2010.  We commend the archdiocese for finally releasing the number and acknowledging the 14% decrease.  (Somehow, the Boston Globe must have misread the news in their article, which originally said, “Contributions to the archdiocese’s big annual fund-raiser increased substantially.”  See screen capture to the right for the original version, as it will no doubt be corrected soon).The explanation given by the archdiocese for the drop–the “slow economy” and “declines in donations to many non-profits”–does not entirely hold water. Donations to Boston Catholic parishes held steady.  And donations to churches in the U.S. were actually up in 2010 according to multiple sources.We wonder why they did not cite the data referenced in this article in the NY Post dated April 9, 2011 :

“Defying secular trends and scandal, donations to churches are up, after slumping through the economic downturn. In fact, of the staggering $303 billion given by Americans in 2009 — accounting for 2.1 percent of GDP — about 33 percent was for religion, according to Giving USA. Nationwide, giving was up 43 percent last year compared with 35 percent in 2009, according to the State of the Plate Survey. Indeed, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ national collections are projected to total some $58 million for 2010, up from $56.6 million in 2009.New York and surrounding states led the nation — giving to churches rose 51 percent last year. The Archdiocese of New York’s Stewardship Appeal alone grew from some $15.58 million in 2008 to $17.76 million last year.”

  • Balanced budget was achieved in Central Ministries. Well, that all depends on how you define “balanced budget.”  Central ministries revenues = expenses on paper, but that does not account for how the archdiocese will pay back the $42 million in notes due to St. Johns Seminary, re-fund the $92.5 million that the clergy retirement fund needs for accrued clergy post-retirement and pension obligations, or come up with the $74 million that the lay pension plan needs to make up for its under-funded status.  That is more than $200 million in debt.  If paid back on a schedule over 10 years with zero interest, that would be a $20 million annual expense, which would seem to undermine the “balanced budget” claim just a little bit. For those people with home mortgages, can you consider yourself as having a “balanced budget” if you keep living in your home paying your food, clothing, and utilities bills, but fail to make a monthly mortgage payment for several years?
  • The bit about pay reductions of 5-10% for six-figure salaried executives (page 5 of the annual report itself) just does not check-out with the numbers.  It says: “When planning began for fiscal year 2010, we were faced with a cash flow deficit of almost $4 million given our fiscal year 2009 budgeted deficit of $2.3 million, an anticipated Appeal decline of $1.5 million and expected increases in employee benefit costs. To address this deficit, various budget reduction strategies were implemented including:
    • staffing decisions resulting in over 20 positions affected by lay-offs, freezing of open positions, transfer of staff to other diocesan entities, positions not filled after attrition and certain open positions kept unfilled;
    • no cost of living adjustments to staff;
    • pay reductions of between 5% and 10% on staff earning $100,000 or more per year”

In the 2009 report released in June of 2010, they said they had reduced salaries by those percentages in the prior year “until conditions permit restoration to their agreed upon salary.” [we erred in our earlier post].  Even if this reduction was extended through the 2010 year, the numbers still do not align with the words. Mary Grassa O’Neill was at $325,000 total compensation previously, and in this report, she is listed as earning “reportable compensation” of $320,426, plus “other compensation” of $28,946.  A decrease from $325K to $320.4K is only a drop of 1.4%.  Was she getting a whole lot more “other compensation” before that was not reported?  There are many other examples just like this we do not have time for today.

We know there is more that we need to get to.  Stay tuned for more next time.

16 Responses to Archdiocese Releases 2010 Annual Report

  1. Parish Finance Council Member says:

    I was just reading the report and got a few pages in when I found the first major deception:

    “Catholic education, another primary focus of our mission, also experienced positive trends during fiscal year 2010. Although the number of our parish schools decreased by seven, only two of these schools closed. The remaining five were consolidated into new separately incorporated organizations. With the decrease of seven parish schools…”

    What are the positive trends? Number of students is down and we have seven fewer parish schools. What exactly is Mary Grassa O’Neill doing that is “positive” for Catholic education to justify her total compensation of almost $350K?

  2. […] Boston Archdiocese Releases 2010 Annual Report – Boston Catholic Insider […]

  3. Jack O'Malley says:

    If Warren Buffett turned out an annual report like Mcdonough’s, Bershire Hathaway would be a penny stock overnight.

  4. Former Employee says:

    Fascinating accounting, the fact that they are able to raise exactly 13mm after raising exactly 15mm is amazing, usually it takes creative math to raise exact amounts like that.

    And FYI, the org I work for now was up pretty substantially last year and we’re up again this year. I wonder if the fundraising entity they are comparing it to is the CCS, was that 40% off goal.

    Lastly, I wish they had itemized how much O’Malley spent on flying all over the world on little Mrs. McGillicuddy’s dime.

  5. FR B says:

    As I continue to reflect on the actions of the RCAB Corporation, I continually hear the command {from the Lord}”LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR DEAD” {Lk.9:60 + Matt 8:22 …
    This means … you fill in the blank ?

  6. Michael says:

    Here is the math that you did not work out. It really is worth looking at and understanding.

    Either the Annual Report contains a lie … where it states: “pay reductions of between 5% and 10% [were implemented] on staff earning $100,000 or more per year.”

    Or it is truthful and transparent. If it is truthful and transparent, then Mary Grassa O’Neill was making:


    $349,372 is a 5% reduction from $366,841

    $349,372 is a 10% reduction from $384,309

    It does not matter much whether Grassa O’Neill was making $349,372, $366,841, or $384,309 because whatever it is, each of these is unconscionable. UNCONSCIONABLE!!!!! It would be unconscionable, even with a competent person receiving such a pay-off (I mean “salary”). But here we have unconscionable amounts of money paying a woman who does nothing. And I have first-hand knowledge of the fact that she does nothing.

    Loyal, hardworking employees got laid off while she was stealing from the church. UNCONSCIONABLE.

  7. Lou Geoffrion says:

    Unconscionable is the pretty accurate descripto !
    especially if you compare it to the salary reported here earlier for Dr. johnson in Boston !!
    do it on a per capita basis and it’s even more flagrantly disproportionate

  8. Lazarus' Table says:

    I took a “vacation” from BCI because the notices, though perhaps true, were very depressing for me. How could a Church, which makes such big claims and holiness and justice and purports to represent God, be so corrupt? And so I stayed away for a while, and came back for a peek. And, of course, the Church has not gotten less corrupt. And… more disturbingly… most Catholics couldn’t give a darn. Maybe because they are glad that the clergy do not annoyingly give a better example to follow, or that pricks lay consciences. Whatever, the news about the Church in Boston will always remain the same– turning a religion of faith into “The God Business, Inc.”, where Jesus, His Gospel are no more than marketing tools. An absentee bishop. Beaten up priests (the archdiocese really screwed our priests). Nepotism supreme.
    If the folks at 66 Brooks Drive really reflect Jesus and His values, then we have every right to doubt that Jesus was who He said He was– the Son of God.

  9. FR B says:


  10. Lazarus' Table says:

    Fr B, thank you for your prayers and wishes. I’ve been to the tabernacle plenty of time –and plenty of times in desperation– but all I’ve heard is silence. I have turned to my church to be fed and nourished in faith, and instead of being given fish I get snakes, instead of bread I’m given scorpions. The hierarchy/administration of the archdiocese of Boston really does crush bruised reeds.
    We have learned nothing from the horror of the sexual abuse of children because the archdiocese has been honing its abuse skills in other areas, especially financial: ask the dedicated lay employees at 66 Brooks how every ounce of energy is squeezed from them with no gratitude; ask the Daughters of St Paul about the justice they’ve experienced in getting their pension money for their lay employees; aask the parents and children of closed and closing Catholic schools; ask the parishioners of closed parishes; ask priests put on administrative leave and are then abandoned; ask the sick and elderly clergy who live in poverty; ask priests who are treated like chess pieces, moved around for another’s advantage and their own destruction. Look around and ask: is THIS giving witness to Christ? I don’t mean just the usual human weaknesses and foibles; I mean the serious policies and values that are thought out, planned, and executed with full freedom of will (components of mortal sins). No, the abuse continues and maybe even flourishes, in other areas and with different victims… but victims nonetheless.
    Maybe some motivated Phoenix reporter (which originally broke the story of priest abuse long ago) will do some snooping around, ask some questions, interview discarded priests and religious, check into records, etc., and plaster on the front page the abuse, lies and manipulation that the church could not survive without.

  11. FR B says:

    “Lazarus” … I share many of your observations … however, I had to pull away from dwelling on them … Like BCI, you do all you can but remain faithful to the sacraments and prayer and a community of prayerful believers and with them continue to do acts of charity… that is the “living Church”.This is what is meant by ‘the faithful remnant’.

  12. Michael says:

    Keep in mind, when Fr. Corapi came to Boston, he came dressed in fatigues. He said he was afraid to come here because it is ground zero in the spiritual war. He wasn’t joking. 66 Brooks Drive might as well be at 666 Brooks Drive.

    By the way, the Archdiocese owns a building at 666 Dorchester Ave. Does anyone know what happens in there? Who resides or works there? It is right across the street from a Catholic Church and has a statue of Mary outside it. Just wondering.

  13. […] take up with the annual report released last week, and specifically on the topic of the “balanced budget” claims by the archdiocese. In short, […]

  14. Mark Frances says:

    For the director of education at a Catholic Archdiocese to make between 350K and 385K is mind boggling. My question is just what the “Big O” gets out of this. No one does something for nothing. Even Christ wanted souls. Nevertheless, He did not buy them.

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