Important Ministry Update from the Chairman of the Board
The CHEA Board of Directors met Thursday, July 30 to review the ministry’s financial situation, and we want to provide an update to our Members and supporters.
First a few facts:
- CHEA is a non-profit organization with a very small staff that operates from tiny office space.
- The income CHEA receives comes from the sum of Membership, Convention attendance, and donations.
- Our Membership has declined over the last several years, from well over 3,000 to about 1,400 today.
- Our Annual Convention at the Pasadena Convention Center saw attendance that was roughly a third of that at recent Annual Conventions. In the past the Convention has generated income for CHEA to cover all its costs with enough additional to fund the ministry for the next year until income from following convention begins to flow in. This year, CHEA is able to cover all Convention expenses (praise God) but with little left to continue operations.
- CHEA does so much more than just provide the Annual Convention in order to support and defend Christian homeschooling in California.
We recently made our needs known via our own communication channels and via pleas from our partners, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), and Family Protection Ministries (FPM).
As of mid-July CHEA had only enough funds to continue operations for about a month (our monthly cost of operations is about $15,000). Since then we have received a number of donations, and we are truly blessed and thankful. We currently have a cash balance of approximately $60,000, enough to continue operations for a few months.
But CHEA faces a number of critical decisions.
We have a contract and date for the 2016 Annual Convention at the Pasadena Convention Center, which had offered us significant discounts for a two-year contract. With current Membership and attendance levels, we are not sure that we will be able to generate enough income to make the convention viable.
For several years, the Board of Directors has questioned if a live convention at a large and nice convention center is the best model. We have many times explored the possibility of a smaller convention at a less expensive venue (a church or Christian college) that would result in lower facility costs. This would allow reduced Convention registration fees and for CHEA retain more of the income.
In the past we have not been able to find such venues willing to host one or more conventions, but we continue to try. Recently we heard from a large church in Southern California that has preliminarily invited us to stage CHEA’s Annual Convention at its facility, we are excited to explore the possibility.
We have two options:
(1) If donations continue, we may be able to operate through the next year, and sponsor the 2016 Annual Convention in Pasadena, allowing us to fulfill our contractual agreement.
(2) If the income is less, we may have to cancel the contract (significant cancellation fees exist), reduce operations, and work, if possible, with one or more churches for conventions in 2016 and following.
We don’t want to cancel the contract and pay the large cancellation fees (for no benefit to the homeschooling community). Also, keep in mind that our Conventions have featured large and diverse Exhibit Halls and a spectrum of excellent speakers due to the economy of scale of a larger convention facility.
How can you help?
Our goal and need is for CHEA’s Membership to increase back to historic levels (3,000 or more). Our basic Membership is just $35 a year. We also have Premium Memberships of $250/$500/$1000 (see details on CHEA’s website), as well as donations of any amount.
We ask that you join or renew your Membership and encourage others (your relatives, friends, neighbors–everyone and anyone who cares about parental rights and freedom to homeschool children as Christians).
If you are able, please make a donation through our new Pay Pal donation portal (this is for donations only; not for purchasing Premium Memberships). This new system also allows you to set up an automatic monthly contribution through your bank account.
CHEA’s financial needs are acute. The future of the ministry is at stake, and the protections and support CHEA provides to California’s Christian education community are at risk. The Board of Directors always reviews what we do and asks whether we are being good stewards of God’s provisions and if we are properly serving the Christian homeschooling community in California. New ideas, plans, and changes in the format of our Conventions are constantly being evaluated, and many implemented, but what has not changed is CHEA’s heart for supporting Christian homeschooling.
Please do me the favor by going to CHEA’s website and reading our mission statement; we strive every day to remain true to it. If you believe in our mission, while you are there, please become a Member or make a donation, and tell everyone you know to do the same!
Steve Murphy for the CHEA Board of Directors