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OPT Financial FAQ


  1. What is OPT’s financial picture in terms of its operating budget?

In general, over the past few years OPT has been able to sustain annual operating performance at a breakeven or slight deficit to budget. Our costs, however, continue to rise while the level of contributions we receive have not. We ended FY 18/19 with a budget shortfall of approximately $84,000. This shortfall was reduced by a one-time transfer of funds earmarked for operational uses with the balance paid in cash reserves, but Oak Park Temple cannot sustain itself long term by running annual budget deficits.

  1. How does OPT spend the funds generated from community commitment contributions?

The primary areas that account for the bulk of OPT’s operating expenses are as follows:

  • Professional and administrative salaries and benefits
  • Programming
  • Building operations (custodial staff, utilities, general maintenance)
  • Religious observances
  1. How does the 2019-2020 budget look?

The initial FY 19/20 budget reflected a deficit of just under $65,000.

To reduce that deficit, the Board approved a number of budget changes, which brought the projected deficit down to around $26,000.

To close the remaining gap, we have asked every member of our community to make modest monthly increases in their community commitment contributions for FY19/20. If everyone participates we can avoid making deep cuts in programming and staff support.

  1. How do community commitment contributions relate to replenishment of the Building Fund you asked for earlier this year?

The generous contributions we received for the Building Fund must be reserved for building-related issues to avoid the situation that led to that campaign. To fund operations, we depend on the annual community commitment contributions. Our request is that everyone who is able contribute this year.

  1. If the number of congregation families is increasing, why are my dues still increasing?

As we would expect, the majority of our newer members are young families whose annual contributions are, on average, less than other members.

We have seen an 11% decline in the average contribution over the past five years to this past year. Ultimately, this means that our programming must be spread over a larger membership, but with less income.

  1.   What does “pay as you can” mean?  It seems people interpret it differently.

Oak Park Temple has distinguished itself in the Chicago Reform Jewish community with its contribution model.  Our belief in reaching out to all, regardless of ability to fully pay, is an integral part of our culture. We rely on our members to pay the suggested amount, and we accept what members tell us on their community commitment forms. Preserving our culture is a community wide responsibility that can only be accomplished with everyone’s support.

Wed, November 25 2020 9 Kislev 5781