Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Clearing Up the MDG "Scandal"

Two Guys with a Webcam are gleefully reporting a "scandal" they claim to have uncovered regarding the Episcopal Church's support for the Millennium Development Goals, as reflected in TEC's current budget. The line item for "MDG Partnership" is $308,000, out of total revenues of $51,000,000. Kevin and Bill find it scandalous that, after so much emphasis on the MDGs from our Presiding Bishop, Executive Council and General Convention, such a paltry sum is being committed towards this cause.

I think there's some confusion here as to how TEC functions, which is not terribly surprising when one considers the source. Allow me to attempt to clear up that confusion.

The resolution regarding the MDGs that was passed at GC2006 can be found here. It contains the specific commitment TEC has made:

...Resolved, That the General Convention request the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to consider a budget line item of no less than an additional 0.7% (circa $900,000) of the non-government revenue of The Episcopal Church for work that supports the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals...
The suggestion that this amount will be 900,000 is an error, as you'll see when we do the math. I would assume that error will be corrected when the final language is reviewed by the General Convention office before being included in the Journal.

But first, where did .7% come from? Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation, advocates for the MDGs in TEC, give us this explanation:

...A primary way EGR invites the Church to engage the MDGs at every level is through 0.7% giving. This small percentage is the amount of the GNP of all the rich nations it would take to accomplish the MDGs by the target date of 2015...
Ok, now let's look at the numbers from TEC's budget.

To keep it simple, we'll round off the big numbers. Total revenues are 51 million. As specified in the GC resolution, we subtract from that 7 million in government revenues. That leaves 44 million. .7% of 44 million is 308,000, which is the amount on the line item in the budget for "MDG Partnership."

General Convention decided what amount of the budget was to be used for MDG support (.7%). By approving this budget, the Executive Council has done exactly what GC authorized.

No lack of support. No scandal.

I would suggest that before Kevin and Bill break future "scoops" they do their homework first.

If you support the MDGs, you may want to consider joining One Episcopalian, which "is a grassroots partnership between The Episcopal Church and the ONE Campaign to rally Episcopalians – ONE by ONE – to the cause of ending extreme poverty in our world and achieving the Millennium Development Goals."


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