Letter from Earnest
Merry Christmas! It seems really odd saying that. It seems like just yesterday it was January 1st 2018. I am in my mid 60’s I can assure you that time is moving faster today than it ever has before.
While I constantly feel behind in everything, I am very excited for what is in front of me. As many of you know, while I love this work very much, I have been seriously working towards succession. The plan at this point, if God approves, is that at the age of 67 I should step aside as the head of this organization and allow the Board to select someone of their choosing to take the helm. My hope is they will allow me to continue on in a diminished capacity. However, I will respect and support their wishes if they should choose otherwise. Therefore, I have a lot to get accomplished in the next 4 years.
Here are some of the things I am hoping to see done:
First – Growing the Endowment to a minimum of 5 million dollars. The purpose for the endowment would be to take some of the pressure off of the staff and help subsidize the general budget during some of the leaner times.
Second – I would like to see the main office in downtown Wichita renovated and brought up to date. Our office building is located in the middle of major renovation projects by the city of Wichita and while this is good for our property value, it reminds us that we haven’t done any major work on this building for close to thirty years. At this point, it looks like we will need about $700,000 to renovate this building.
Third – Our most pressing need is an education/administration building out at the ranch. Just constructing these buildings without a gymnasium could cost as much as 1.5 million. If we add a gymnasium to that (which they need), we will have to add 1.2 million to the 1.5 million. It is true that this is all wishful thinking.
My goal, if God is willing, is to see these things done to position the group for growth without having the burden of trying to meet these needs without my help.
The budget for 2019 will be over 2 million dollars with my salary being $73,000 as the highest paid staff member. I tell you this so you know that your support goes where it is intended.
Through our residential program, we will be reimbursed approximately 1.1 million dollars. We will have to raise $900,000 through donations, fund raising events and grants.
In closing, if you would like to do something in honor of a loved one or friend, we would be happy to talk with you.
As always, you have my gratitude and friendship.