The following appeared in the July 2014 issue of In His Service, the Trust’s snail mail newsletter to Meher Baba’s worldwide family:
AMBPPCT Financial Report — 1 April 2013 – 31 March 2014
Our Dear Baba Family,
This financial report is the fifteenth report that the Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust has prepared for the worldwide family of Baba lovers.
This is the first time that I am addressing Baba Lovers in the Annual Financial Report since I have become Chairman in December 2013. Our dear Bhauji had once mentioned in the 2010-2011 Financial Report “Now we [the Mandali] hand over the Trust to His lovers.” This has now come to pass.
As we review with you the past financial year, the first thing that we want to inform you is that the Trust’s financial situation has weakened as a result of a continuing decrease in donations. Last year, the Trust’s donations base (after taking into account a one-time large donation) is the lowest it has been in the last ten years. And at the same time, the trend for expenses is a steady relentless increase. The gap between expenses and donations has increased in the last five years and for the present this gap has been filled by the interest income that the Trust ears on its investments.
For some years now the Trust has annually prepared five-year annual projections that are based on historical trends. These projections give an indication of what can be expected in the next five years and allow the Trust to do some financial planning. In the current five-year projection, the Trust’s income, that is donations and interest incocme, shows minimal growth, whereas expenses continue to grow rapidly due to factors outsid our control, mainly increasing pressure on salaries and high inflation. There is a large gap between the rates at which income and expense are increasing — on average expenses increase at a rate that is about 11% higher than the rate of increase in income. This is why, for now, the Trust cannot afford to expand its services or facilities and undertake any major capital project.
Our present concern is that because the five-year projection indicates minimal growth by way of donations and interest income, if we do not keep tight control over expenses, in the not too distant future the Trust will have to use its Corpus investment funds to pay daily operating espenses. This is not something that we would like to do as maintaining Corpus investments intact is essential to to sustain the level of current services and activities, and for the financial stability of the Trust.
Many objects of the Trust Deed remain to be fulfilled, but for now, with the available financial resources, our priority is to maintain the current level of services and facilities provided, not only for pilgrims and residents but also for the local communities, such as medical and education facilities.
Under this challenging financial scenario, the Trust persists with its policy of restraint and the direction set by the Board of Trustees for the current 2014-15 financial year, continues as it has in the last two years;
- Maintaining Trust services and facilities, for pilgrims, resident and local communities, at current levels.
- Large projects that involve considerable capital expenditure and any expansion of services have been put on hold.
- We will limit our capital expenditures during the upcoming budgetary year to these major areas: (i) purchase of crital lands around Meherabad and Meherazad; (ii) continuing the fencing of properties to prevent encroachment; (iii) completion of the Memorial Tower (where construction is already in progress); (iv) obtaining the government bungalow that Beloved Baba used near the accident site in Udtara, outside Satara; (v) necessary infrastructure additions.
We do the utmost to run the Trust to the best of our abilities, but always keep in mind that it is only He who does HIs work. Beloved Baba will no doubt look after the development and upkeep of His Trust in His own way.
Shridhar G. Kelkar
Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust