Does this New York diocese have too much cash on hand?

by Tom Gallagher

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Richard Grafer, a financial expert at Pathway Investments, LLC, in Port Washington (Long Island), N.Y., has long held the view that the Diocese of Rockville Center saves too much cash for the proverbial "rainy day." In other words, the diocese should be using these funds today -- now -- in furtherance of the church's mission in this part of the world, not holding it back in its coffers.

Grafer's analysis is thorough and quite specific. Grafer distributed the following analysis and report Wednesday, and he concludes that diocese has $82 million to $103 million in excess -- that's right, in excess -- of industry standards.

From Richard Grafer:

The Diocese of Rockville Center (DRVC) has now published 11 of its 14 audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended 8/31/11. This is the earliest the DRVC has published this many financial statements since I began doing my analysis in 2003. So, rather than wait for the last 3 financial statements to be published, which could take up to 7 more months, I have consolidated these 11 current financial statements with the 12/31/10 version of the other three. This should provide a reasonably accurate estimate of the DRVC's Free Cash Reserve ("FCR") position as of this date. My analysis and report on these financial statements is attached.

As you will see in the attached report, FCR increased in 2011 by $2 million to $132 million, and Unrestricted Net Assets increased by $7 million to $253 million. These amounts exceed by $82-103 million the maximum amount of reserves recommended by industry standards. In other words, the DRVC has $82-103 million of FCR and/or Unrestricted Net Assets in excess of the maximum amount it should have. Industry "watchdogs" recommend that donors not give to charities exceeding their maximum standards because such charities are effectively not fulfilling their charitable mission.

You can read the report here.

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