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Financial Update

This has been a tough financial year for IRE, as it has been for our industry. We wanted to take this opportunity to update membership on some financial issues, and update some budgetary information we published last year.

We are operating at a deficit, for the second year in a row. IRE has financial reserves that should help carry us through this difficult economic period and a sound plan to address the deficit in the coming fiscal year.

Below is a report from the Endowment Committee, as well as an update on IRE's budget and a note about revisions to our 2008 end-of-year financial report.

Summary of Endowment Committee Report
March 2009
The Endowment Committee is responsible for monitoring IRE's investments of the endowment funds and reporting to the IRE board. The funds are managed by a private investment group in Columbia, Mo. Since the beginning of the endowment drive in 2000, the board, committee and investment firm have pursued a conservative investment strategy premised upon maintaining the security of the endowment while producing investment income for the operations of IRE.

IRE's Endowment stands at about $2.8 million and with fulfilled pledges should reach about $3.1 million by the end of 2010. Since Dec. 31, 2007 (over the last 15 months), IRE's Endowment Fund has lost  8 percent in market value, which compares  favorably to other endowment funds.  Those investments have generated about $100,000 in income in previous years and are expected to continue to generate income that is used for the operations of IRE in the coming years.

In addition, over the years, the Endowment Fund has produced investment income that has been designated as a reserve fund, which the board may use to help weather difficult financial times.

Lea Thompson
IRE Board of Directors Treasurer
Chair, Endowment Committee
thompson.lea@gmail.com

Brant Houston
Endowment Committee member
brant.houston@gmail.com

Financial update
While attendance at many of our regional events is exceeding the numbers we drew last year, revenue in a number of key categories - from membership to the database library - is down.

IRE ended the previous fiscal year with an operating deficit of about $100,000, after using $85,000 in reserves. We originally reported the organization had ended that year with better results. Subsequently, in closing the books for the fiscal year in preparation for our routine annual audit, we found that additional adjustments were needed.  The report we issued prior to closing the books understated expenses and included some income meant for 2009. IRE has put new procedures in place to help ensure that reported results prior to our annual audit are not different than those reported after the audit is completed.

As IRE moves toward the end of this fiscal year - June 30 - it is expected that we will again run a deficit, similar or greater than last year, because of continued drops in revenue in a number of areas, including membership, the data library and advertising.

Reserve funds should help address the anticipated shortfall, as they did last year, but additional measures are also being taken to protect the financial well-being of the organization in this especially difficult economic environment.  The proposed 2010 budget, to be published in the next edition of the IRE Journal, will reflect several significant cuts we have made to balance the budget.

IRE remains a strong organization with a loyal membership. With our endowment, an operating budget of about $1 million, membership of almost 4,000 and new programs in development that will expand our reach, IRE believes that it will continue to deliver important services to its membership while preparing for a successful future.

If you have any questions about the budget or any other IRE issues, please feel free to contact me or Board President Cheryl Phillips.

Mark
To reach me, call  573-882-1984 or send an e-mail to mhorvit@ire.org

To contact Cheryl Phillips, call  206-464-2411 or send an e-mail to cphillips@seattletimes.com

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