2011 Financial Report for Gampo Abbey and Söpa Chöling

This financial report on Gampo Abbey and Söpa Chöling is based on information from our 2011 financial year. One of the basic principles articulated by the Gampo Acharya, Ani Pema Chödrön, for how Gampo Abbey should operate is that the monastic community must not go into long-term debt. In addition to not borrowing money to run the Abbey we are also committed to transparent, ethical, and prudent management of our financial resources.

This report provides a breakdown of the operating income and expenses for Gampo Abbey and Söpa Chöling for the 2011 financial year. Even though Söpa Chöling was not used for hosting a three-year retreat in 2011, it was used for a number of purposes by Gampo Abbey. The expenses shown for Söpa Chöling reflect that use as well as the basic costs of operating the building. In addition to the operating budget information, information is included on expenses for the major building improvements undertaken in 2011.

Overview of the 2011 Financial Year

Combined Operating Budgets of Gampo Abbey and Söpa Chöling
The operating budget for Gampo Abbey and Söpa Chöling showed a surplus of $101,373.99 compared with the anticipated budget loss of approximately $25,500.  Broken down by income and expenses the overall operating income was $463,108 or 147% of the projected budget of $314,720 while the operating expenses were $361,734 or 106% of the projected budget of $340,248. The significant surplus in operating income was primarily due to much higher than anticipated income from unrestricted donations. A detailed breakdown of the operating income and expenses follows.

Building Projects
There were two major and one minor building projects undertaken in 2011 at a total cost of $43,533.28. More information on the building projects is included at the end of the Expenses section of this report.

Net Operating Income and Capital Asset Improvements
When the surplus of $101,373.99 from the operations for Gampo Abbey and Söpa Chöling is combined with the expenses of $43,533.28 for the building projects we are left with a net surplus of $57,840.07 for the year as compared to an anticipated loss of $73,028.

Breakdown of Gampo Abbey and Söpa Chöling Operating Income and Expenses


2011 IncomeIncome is derived from: donations, program fees, cost recovery charges, interest from the Abbey’s investments, and transfers from restricted reserve accounts to operating accounts. Total income for Gampo Abbey and Söpa Chöling from all sources including transfers from reserves was $463,108.85 or 147% of the projected budget. In the breakdown that follows in the different sections of the revenues portion of this report the percentage in bold in each section is based upon a comparison with the total revenues amount of $463,108.85. Other percentages shown in the different sections reflect the relationship between the various sources of revenues and the individual department budgets.

Unrestricted Donations
A total of $305,275 (65.9% of total income) in unrestricted donations was received in 2011. The exceptionally high level of unrestricted donations in 2011 arose primarily from three sources: a bequest from the estate of Harry Habgood, a major one-time donation from a donor from China, and the on-going support of the Abbey’s major patron. Unrestricted donations are used for the general operating expenses of the Abbey usually in the year that they are received. 

Restricted Donations
A total of $41,650 (9.0% of total income) in restricted donations were utilized in 2011.  Restricted donations are designated by the donors for specific purposes like life monastic support, three-year retreat scholarships or the lobster release and may or may not be used in the year that they are received. A total of $16,722.96 in restricted donations was received in 2011. This consisted of $12,809.60 for Life Monastic Support, $1,988 for the lobster release and $1,925.36 for the cushion replacement fund. Of these restricted donations the following were spent in 2011: $6,601.77 from the Life Monastic Support to cover expenses of life monastics, $1,384.50 for the lobster release, $1,481.35 to purchase additional meditation cushions. An additional $32,183.33 from an earlier restricted donation for major renovations was utilized in 2011 to cover the costs of building the addition to the workshop. There was an unused balance of $7,255.34 in unrestricted donations which remain in the various accounts to be carried forward into 2012. The unused balances of these restricted donations are not included in the total income shown in this report.

Programs Income
Total programs revenues were $47,416 (10.2% of total income) including fees from Shedra ($6,100.00 - 102% of the 2011 budget), Yarne ($11,230.50 - 102% of the 2011 budget), In-House Retreats ($20,510.05 or 71% of the 2011 budget), Shambhala programs ($6113.00 - 136% of the 2011 budget), and Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche’s visit ($4,950 - 62% of the 2011 budget).

Other Income
Total other income was $45,637 (9.9% of the total income). This includes income from residents’ fees ($24,627.50 - 88% of the 2011 budget), retreat cabin rentals ($13,800 - 383% of the 2011 budget), book store sales after expenses ($3,894.12 - 97% of the 2011 budget), meal and transportation recoveries ($2,268.85 - 567% of the 2011 budget), and misc income ($1,046.79 - 87% of the 2011 budget).

Interest, Dividends and Currency Exchange
Total interest and dividends were $13,932 (3.0% of total income): Interest on investments ($10,128.51 - 101% of the 2011 budget) and currency exchange gains ($3,804.01). There was an unrecognized loss in investments which is shown in expenses under the Administration and Services section of the Gampo Abbey operating budget.

Söpa Chöling Fees
Fees of $9,196 (2.0% of total income) were collected from Shambhala sangha members who participated in the abhishekas given by Thrangu Rinpoche at his monastery in Vancouver in the fall of 2011. This was 263% of the amount budgeted for in 2011.


2011 ExpensesOverall operating expenses are organized into two areas: Gampo Abbey operating expenses and Söpa Chöling operating expenses. Gampo Abbey operating expenses are sub-divided into the following categories based upon the organizational structure of the Abbey: administration and service departments, monastic support and culture, food and kitchen operations, salaries and benefits, facilities, utilities and transportation. Total operating expenses in 2011 were $361,734.86 or 106% of the budgeted amount. Major building project expenses were $43,533. Total combined expenses were $405,268.

Gampo Abbey Operating Expenses
Total operating expenses for Gampo Abbey were $343,382.37 (94.9% of the total expenses) for 2011. These can be broken down as follows:

Administration and Service Departments
Administration and services expenses were $67,230 (16.6% of total expenses) and includes a wide array of activities such as: director’s office, finance department, fund raising and publicity, housekeeping, IT and media, conferences, gifts and donations, residential insurance, meal allowance, office supplies, phone services, photocopier rental and usage, postage and taxes.

Monastic Support and Culture
Monastic support and culture expenses were $74,774 (18.5% of total expenses) and include: support for living and travel expenses for Gampo Acharya Ani Pema Chödrön, support for living and travel expenses for the life monastics, Education, Library, Translation Committee, Monastic Training, Practice, Shambhala Programs, Shambhala Day, Shedra, Yarne, lobster release, new meditation cushion project, annual gift to our Abbot, visit expenses for Thrangu Rinpoche, annual gift to Shambhala and the Sakyong.

Food and Kitchen Costs
Food and kitchen operating expenses were $66,494 (16.4% of total expenses).

Salaries and Benefits
Staff salaries and benefits expenses totalled $49,380 (12.2% of total expenses). This includes salary and benefits for the director and salaries for the heads of practice and finance, plus facilities support staff.

Facilities, Utilities and Transportation
Total expenses for facilities, utilities, and transportation were $85,504 (21.1% of total expenses). This can be broken down into: building maintenance and repair, grounds and services $32,045.79; vehicle repairs, tires, and insurance $21,532.84; heat and utilities $31,831.42.

Söpa Chöling Operating Expenses
Total operating expenses for Söpa Chöling in 2011 were $18,352 (4.5% of total expenses). There are on-going operating expenses to be paid for the Söpa Chöling Retreat Center whether the three-year retreat is operating or not. These expenses ($10,425.36) were mainly associated with utilities and maintenance costs for the building.  In 2011 there were expenses ($7,927.13) associated with arranging and offering the abhishekas for the next cycle of the three-year retreat.  

Building Projects

There were two major and one minor building projects undertaken in 2011 at a total cost of $43,533 (10.7% of total expenses). The first major project was the third year of the multi-year program to improve the fire safety of Gampo Abbey in accord with the directions provided by the Nova Scotia Fire Marshall’s office. The total cost of this work was $17,771.02 made up of $9,189.52 for materials and $8,581.50 for labour. The second major building project was putting an extension onto the workshop to replace the storage space lost with the sale of the house and barn in Red River. The extension was large enough to also allow for some consolidation of a number of other furnishings and materials that had been stored in less than ideal locations. The cost of this project was $33,612.26 made up of $17,994.73 for labour and $15,617.53 for materials. A credit of $10,000 is included for this project’s costs since the extension added to the existing value of the workshop recorded in our statement of accounts. The first phase of the project to paint the exterior of the major buildings on Abbey land was undertaken at a cost of $2,150. 

Prepared by Les Ste Marie

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