By George P. Matysek Jr.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore experienced a $12.6 million deficit at the close of the 2011-2012 fiscal year, according to an annual report released to the Catholic Review at the end of January.
Although the Catholic Center, the archdiocese’s administrative headquarters in Baltimore, had a $10.8 million operating surplus, investment losses and expenses related to retirement programs combined to produce the deficit.
William Baird, chief financial officer for the archdiocese, said the interest-rate environment, increased longevity of retirement participants and investment market volatility were among the factors that affected archdiocesan finances.
“They are all things that we can properly manage over time,” he said.
Baird said he was encouraged by a strong show of support for “Embracing Our Mission – Shaping Our Future,” a $100 million capital campaign formally launched by the archdiocese in September. The financial report noted that the capital campaign and endowments provided $30.6 million in operating income.
“I think it reflects how strongly people believe in the overall mission of the Catholic Church,” Baird said. “I think it reflects the strong leadership in our parishes, in our bishops and in our archbishop.”
Baird attributed a “very volatile market year” to the losses in investments. According to the report, the archdiocese suffered a total investment loss of $4.5 million.
“A lot of the investment pieces certainly depended on performance in the economy and we certainly hope to see that improve,” Baird said. “It all has an impact on the investment part of the financial strength of the archdiocese.”
Baird said the archdiocese “continues to maintain a high level of discipline in terms of our hiring and the management of our expenses.”
“We have a very deliberate process in our hiring process that requires levels of approval even to rehire positions that are opened up,” he said. The workforce at the Catholic Center has been maintained at or below the levels of nearly three years ago, when the workforce was reduced by 30 positions, Baird added.
The latest financial report comes on the heels of a $22.1 million surplus in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
“The archdiocese continues to make great progress in improving its financial strength,” he said.
Feb. 8, 2013 CatholicReview.org