Commentary

Step this way

The future could be pretty bright for Metro Lutheran. It is the present that I am more worried about.

The decline in advertising income that all print media are experiencing is surely affecting Metro Lutheran. In 2009, Metro Lutheran received more than $238,000 in income; this year it will be less than $208,000. While individual contributions are up slightly, the budget of Metro Lutheran doesn’t have $30,000 to spare.

Bob Hulteen

The future is different than the present, but not unrelated.

The (very committed) board of Metro Lutheran did something unique for the budget this year. After normally producing balanced budget proposals, but with little confidence in the ability to raise income in some of the line items, the board chose to predict accurately what could be anticipated as income, and pass a deficit budget of about $17,000. Currently, projections suggest a deficit of about $16,000 (though there have been a couple positive signs that may change this amount a bit in a positive direction).

Immediate response to events

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans presented Metro Lutheran with a grant to help with development activities in 2013 and 2014. As part of a new “Step Into the Future” campaign, an initial fundraising gathering brought in some additional financial and creative support for the organization.

The future is different than the present, but not unrelated. Immediately, we need to be able to pay our bills. But we have plans to use 2014 to pivot the organization in a way that allows us to build new, more dynamic relationships with our readers. We will produce more fresh and immediate content that will be accessible through a variety of media.

Of course, new efforts require greater resources, and more content requires more staff for the transition. So, we need to raise enough additional capital to expand the staff for 2014.

Having recently heard very positive comments addressed to Metro Lutheran from such leaders in the Lutheran community as the Rev. Dr. Dean Nadasdy, president of the Minnesota South District of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod; the Rev. Ann Svennungsen, bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and Jodi Harpstead, president and CEO of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, I am confident that people believe that Metro Lutheran’s independent, pan-Lutheran voice is good for the community here. So, we don’t want to be reflected by Joni Mitchell’s lyrics: “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”

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