About two months ago, we, as a board, wrote to you about Fleur de Lis’ financial situation given the necessity to close for the summer of 2020 (click here for the previous update). A lot has happened in the last two months, and so we wanted to provide you with an update on the financial health of Fleur de Lis.
In July we laid out an approach to financial recovery with seven key aspects. It is important to note that these are not separate aspects. Our fundraising impacts our line of credit and grant relief. All of these aspects are interconnected.
Here are updates on each of these areas:
Fundraising: Thanks to so many of you and through the leadership of Sarah Federman, Annie Kunniholm Lundsten, and Sarah Castro, our Come Home to Fleur de Lis Capital Campaign was a huge success, exceeding our goal of raising $500,000 to offset the loss of revenue for the season. A highlight was our September 1st one-day goal of raising $25,000 in 24 hours. In fact, about 200 donors worked together to raise over $53,000 on that day. With a $25,000 match, that day put us over goal for the campaign. Thank you so much to all who contributed and pledged to the campaign. And a special thank you to the Campaign Squad who put in long hours of work and added incredible creativity to keep us all connected during this endeavor. This community has truly come together to ensure the future of FdL. If you have not made a contribution yet, there is still time to give to the campaign. Please visit our website for more information.
In addition to the Come Home to Fleur de Lis Campaign, we want to emphasize the importance of our annual Friends of Fleur de Lis fundraising. Our annual Friends fundraising typically brings in around $180,000 each year. This money helps ensure that we meet the operational expenses that our tuition does not cover. Our tuition income typically covers 80-85% of our yearly expenses. Additional Friends fundraising ensures a balanced budget and funds camper tuition assistance, equipment purchases, and building maintenance. We need to ensure that these expenses can be covered. Please make sure that you continue to give to this important annual appeal.
Enrollment: Registration for the summer of 2021 begins soon. Having a strong enrollment for this next season is a top priority. MJ Parry has focused much of her time this summer on developing recruitment plans for the year. We all have a role to play in helping to introduce new families to Fleur de Lis Camp. Please help spread the word. Invite a few potential families for a zoom call with MJ; encourage neighbors, relatives, and friends to come take a tour of camp; share what you love about Fleur de Lis with others!
Borrowing: We have secured a $600,000 Line of Credit from camp’s bank. The line of credit essentially provides a cash advance for paying camp’s bills. Money taken in through the Come Home to Fleur de Lis Campaign goes toward paying down any money we have borrowed through the line of credit. In essence, the line of credit provides camp with cash until we begin bringing in revenue again. The amount of our line of credit will be reduced depending upon our NERF grant (see below).
Securing Available Grant Money: Fleur de Lis secured a Payment Protection Program (PPP) grant in the early spring. The Federal government is still in the process of forgiving those loans. We anticipate forgiveness as we have met all the Federal criteria. Additionally, we are in the final stages of the process for receiving a New Hampshire Nonprofit Emergency Relief Fund (NERF) grant. We expect to see up to $285,000 towards COVID-19 related expenses, such as additional wash stations, electrical improvements in cabins and buildings for improved air quality, potential alterations to ensure the health center meets health guidelines and recommendations, and even to assist with our recruiting efforts. The amount of the NERF grant we receive will, however, decrease our $600,000 bank Line of Credit. As well, the NERF grant could be reduced based on our fundraising efforts, adding a circular reference amongst the various aspects. Additionally, we have submitted a New Hampshire Charitable Foundation grant application and are awaiting the results of that application.
Cutting Expenses: Our Executive Director, MJ Parry, and Treasurer, Christine Cressey, continue to work together to reduce expenses while still maintaining Fleur de Lis’ exceptional facility and program.
Resetting Financial Priorities: While we have raised and procured funds that help secure Fleur de Lis’ financial stability, we continue to be conservative in our budgeting process. Currently, our priorities rest with paying our bills and meeting fixed expenses. The next budget priorities are for enrollment efforts and analyzing and providing for future COVID-19 related expenses, as these are covered by our NERF grant. As announced previously, we will not move forward with a major Farmhouse rebuild project and Capital Campaign for at least the next five years. We will evaluate the potential for funding renovations which will make the building functional during that time period.
Effective Money Management: We are proud of the multi-faceted approach we have undertaken to help ensure Fleur de Lis’ financial stability. We have been able to maintain our Reserve Fund, which currently sits at just over $1 million. While we may choose to utilize the interest from this fund at times over the years, we will strive to preserve and grow the principal of the account. Indeed, our Reserve Fund was instrumental in securing the bank line of credit and the grants that we received. Additionally, through the recent addition of the Sue Curry Barnett Scholarship Fund, Fleur de Lis will have a stronger footing for tuition assistance funds moving forward.
With the assistance of this strong and committed community of alumnae, parents, staff, campers, and friends of Fleur de Lis, we are looking forward to an excellent 2021 season and a financially stable organization well into the future. Thank you all for the many contributions – financial, volunteerism, and family referral – that continue to make Fleur de Lis the magical summer experience for so many girls and young women, now and in the future.
Diane Foster Fleur de Lis Board President
Libby Williams (Vice-President) Christine Cressey (Treasurer) Liz Ramos (Secretary) Ingrid Scanlon (Member-At-Large) Allison McCartney (Member-At-Large)