Sixth Presbyterian Church Capital Campaign Q&As

September 2018

Are we holding a Capital Campaign at Sixth?

Yes, we are launching a campaign this fall! Our theme is No Turning Back. Just as Jesus said that “no one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God,” we at Sixth feel that we are living in a time and place where we cannot turn back. We must be outside of our doors as an advocate for the voiceless, speaking up for the values of inclusion, justice, and compassion, in a society that is increasingly hostile toward some of God’s children.

But just as we cannot turn back from this mission outside of our doors, we cannot turn back from the real challenges of taking care of our spiritual home. For years we have made deferred maintenance less of a priority to do more to feed the hungry, heal the sick, fight for fair public policy, and make marriage equality a reality. To continue to be about this work, we have to be about the work of taking care of our home, so that for generations to come, people of faith can find refuge and a commission to continue to do the work of justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God.


What is the Capital Campaign timeline?

The Session of Sixth Church recommended that we move forward with a Capital Campaign in 2018, and a Capital Campaign Coordinating Team was established. The Capital Campaign will be run together with our Annual Campaign to streamline and coordinate these activities. A timeline of activities has been outlined between August and December 2018, when we hope to complete the campaign. We expect to “launch” quietly in September and make an official announcement on our progress on Sunday, October 7 (World Communion Sunday). We are asking the congregation to make campaign and annual financial pledges by November 4 at our traditional Dedication Sunday and Breakfast. The Capital Campaign Chair is Lauren Ward, and the Annual Campaign Chair is Peter Kaplan. A Coordinating Committee is advising their efforts to ensure that we meet both goals.


What is the fundraising goal for the Capital Campaign?

At its August meeting, the Session approved a goal of $580,000, to be raised over three years, with some pledges extending to five years if necessary. We recognize that this goal is ambitious; however, there are a number of compelling reasons for raising this amount of support. This goal reflects a five percent contribution to mission (see below), and a revised scope of projects as we strive to accommodate new concerns: better window protection, chapel improvements, fire safety, addresses concrete deterioration, and electrical updates. Even so, $580,000 does not cover all the restoration and repairs needed by Sixth. We have deferred addressing these repairs over many decades and are now addressing some of them in this Campaign.

What is the fundraising goal for our Annual Campaign?

For 2019, we are projecting a budget of $393,700, which reflects cost-of-living salary adjustments for church personnel, as well as anticipated increases in utilities and programming needs. We anticipate a need to raise $340,000 in pledges, representing a 5-7% increase. Why does this goal differ from the one discussed last spring?
In the spring of 2018, the House Committee, working with Session, came up with an estimated goal of $380,000-$400,000 to cover renovation and repair projects that most needed to be addressed. Shortly after announcing this goal, we learned that we would receive an insurance payment to plaster and repaint the interior spaces that were damaged by a leaking roof (also repaired in early spring 2018). This work, which we initially thought would be covered by funds raised through a Capital Campaign, has now been completed. After repairing a section of the current acrylic protection, Hunt Glass, the window restoration contractor, has proposed installing an improved, vented protection framework with tempered glass to replace the failing acrylic existing panels. A vented system will prevent heat buildup between the glass and the protection, preventing deterioration of the new lead. This increases the window restoration project estimate. Further consideration of other priorities has prompted us to include fire safety and electrical system improvements. The full set of proposed projects is laid out in the revised Case for Support.
How did we arrive at the cost estimates for the repairs?


Our House Chair Leslie Kaplan secured multiple bids on each project. The Case for the Support is the culmination of over a year’s work of securing bids and talking to multiple contractors. What if we fail to raise $580,000? What if we raise more than $580,000?

There is a chance that we will not raise our goal of $580,000. If that happens, then Session, working with the House Committee, will determine which projects should be completed and which should be tabled until additional money becomes available. Should we raise more than $580,000, we will put any funds above our goal into the church’s endowment, with 95 percent of additional funds to the building endowment and 5 percent to the mission endowment (see below regarding the Campaign’s mission allocation). Extra money generated over time could also apply to cost overruns/inflation.


If the work takes seven years, why do we need to collect money over three-five years? What would we do with the funds in the meantime?

The window restoration may take up to seven years because of the size and complexity of the job. The other projects would be completed in a timelier manner. Collecting the money over three years would position us to negotiate repair contracts and lock in fees that would be expected to increase if we waited longer. Funds collected would be held in the church’s money market account to accrue interest until they were needed. In this context, it’s important to remember that Sixth will not need to borrow money for any work as we continue to collect pledges.


One of the biggest efforts involves removal and restoration of the sanctuary’s stain glass windows. Do they really need to be restored?

An independent consultant with many years of experience in working with and restoring stained glass, Catherine Berard, evaluated our windows. She wrote: “Since a good portion of the labor required involves removing and reinstalling, I would not suggest that you go with anything less than a full restoration (completely re-leading the windows). Even though the windows are still in fairly good condition, the reality is, the lead will continue to deteriorate, the cement between the glass and lead will continue to dry out and compromise the windows’ stability and the windows will continue to buckle, eventually causing lead to pull away from glass and create gaps and possibly cause more glass to break from stress.”


Why haven’t we considered replacing the sanctuary windows with clear glass?

We did not consider replacing the stained-glass windows with clear glass for several compelling reasons. First and foremost, removing the stained glass would irrevocably damage the architectural character of our sanctuary. Removal would also erase part of our congregation’s history, as we would lose several panes with inscriptions honoring church leaders with important historical ties to Sixth. From a practical standpoint, replacing the sanctuary windows with clear glass would let in so much light that we would need to install shutters or other window treatments. Another practical consideration is that replacing the stained glass with clear windows would cost virtually the same as renovating the exiting stained glass. Finally, for all the reasons just stated, we believe that replacing the stained glass would be enormously controversial within our congregation.


Why would we apportion five percent for use by the Church and Community Committee? How would the committee use the funds?

Traditionally, church fundraising campaigns have allocated part of the funds to mission. The Session, in consultation with the Church and Community Committee, voted to designate our support of the following four groups, which represent major focuses of giving: Judah Fellowship for our More Light mission, Clean Air Council for Earth Care, Wilkinsburg Community Ministry for benevolence, and Pittsburgh United for social justice.

Could I designate my gift to one of the repairs?

While would we would encourage pledges to go into a general purpose fund, the Church would honor contributions designated toward one of the projects outlined in the Case for Support.
Can I approach my company or a matching gift? What if my company will only provide funds for capital projects, as opposed to mission funding?
Sixth would greatly appreciate any corporate matching gifts that you could secure, and we can discuss how this giving could work.

What should I give?

We are asking people to give as much as they can, and we know that this is asking a lot. We are approaching some members of our congregation to help with “pace-setting” gifts, large contributions that will help ensure the momentum we need to complete the campaign. For many households, we are asking that you consider contributing an amount equal to your annual pledge amount and spread out over three years. This would be on top of your much-needed annual pledge. Please remember, without your annual support, Sixth cannot pay its employees, maintain its programming, or keep the lights on – all very necessary if we are to carry out our important work each year

What if I can’t give a lot?

Anything you give is deeply appreciated. Simply put, ALL gifts to Sixth matter to us. And we will have a few projects to be completed with “sweat equity” versus dollars. Stay tuned for details about these efforts that will help us to improve our church.

How can I discuss the Capital Campaign with our children?

Children learn to give when they see their parents give. Sixth is currently developing programming to help children understand the value of giving to Sixth. Church Education Director Jenny Newman will have more details soon.

Why wouldn’t we using the endowment to take care of the renovations?

The Church’s endowment of around $750,000 is divided into three funds: Building, Mission and Special Projects. Each year, we take a draw from our Building Endowment, 4% of a four-year rolling average, which is typically around $13,000. It is the source of the ‘Repair and Contractors’ budget line item and is used to cover all routine maintenance costs, renovation projects and emergency repairs. Cashing out a large part of this endowment would damage our ability to respond to emergencies (like roof leaks) and even routine maintenance like furnace inspections and carpet cleaning.

Does the church have a history in raising funds for capital projects?

The church has raised funds previously for important capital projects. In the mid-1990s funds were raised to install the handicapped ramp and renovate the kitchen. In 2002, we initiated a capital campaign to purchase a new organ. We raised $53,000 of a total $198,000 needed and, due to a generous bequest, were able to complete this work. In 2010, we raised about $60,000 for a roof costing $131,077. We financed the difference through the Building Endowment. The current proposed campaign would be the largest in Sixth Church’s history.

Did Sixth hire a consultant to help with the Campaign? Isn’t that costly?

The Session of Sixth Church considered hiring an outside consultant to help us complete a campaign, and we made a decision to retain someone with significant fundraising expertise for a short, focused set of responsibilities. The cost was $7500. We believe that the consultant’s advice and counsel will significantly assist lay church leaders to assume roles as fundraising ambassadors to the larger congregation.

I’m thinking about making my gift and am wondering if I can do so in honor of someone? Can I name something at Sixth in recognition of my contribution?

We would be delighted to receive your gift in honor or memory of someone. We are not actively seeking gifts to “name” parts of the church, but we are happy to discuss your ideas. Please feel free to contact Lauren Ward, Campaign Chair, with questions.