The Board of Trustees has carefully analyzed Ansche Chesed’s finances and concluded that, for the first time in 20 years, we must raise our dues.
The pandemic has created significant budget challenges for Ansche Chesed; a steep drop in lease income from long-term tenants; the loss of rental revenue for smachot; and foregone sales of High Holiday tickets to non-members. We’ve also incurred new costs such as professional fees for video streaming. Ansche Chesed has prudently managed expenses during this period of extreme financial stress with the exceptional support of our community and two loans through the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
While some of the lost revenue streams from the past two years will most likely be restored once COVID-19 subsides, some of the virus-related pressure on our budget will likely be long lasting. For example, we anticipate a continued drop in demand for long-term lease space (which comprises about 20% of our annual income).
The fact is that a dues increase was long overdue. Our existing dues structure simply has not kept up with costs. Our dues cannot remain static if we wish to pay a living wage to our staff and cover the rising costs of utilities, building upkeep and employee health insurance. Additionally, security costs are an unfortunate reality for synagogues today, and the supplemental security fees that we collect only partially cover these expenses.
Ansche Chesed’s dues were lower than peer synagogues on the Upper West Side. The increases we’ve adopted will put us more in line with our peer institutions. Our dues will still be at the lower end of the range.
The Board remains committed to Ansche Chesed’s philosophy of fair share dues, and therefore our payment structure will continue to be based on the annual income level of members. We’re not increasing dues for individuals or families in the reduced-fee or lower-income categories. At the highest end of the income scale, we’ve added additional tiers above the former $300,000 + income tier to account for the growth in salaries over the past 20 years.
As always, if you’re unable to pay the required amount, alternative arrangements can be made. No one will be turned away because of an inability to pay.