The state of the national economy lately has been quite depressing, hasn’t it? We’re all feeling the pain at the pump as fuel prices have recently reached record levels. Whether we are officially in a recession or not, times are tough for a lot of folks. Have you checked your 401k lately? The stock market is volatile. Jobless claims are increasing. Major financial markets are failing. We’re seeing reports of a record number of foreclosures on home mortgages. With less than 100 days until perhaps the most important election in American history, it appears that the number one issue on the minds of voters is the present economic condition in our country. As I have traveled throughout the country this summer in promoting the cause that I represent, a number of folks have asked me, “In these times of financial difficulty, how is the Mansion doing?” I have been happy to share with those who have been concerned that we are doing amazingly well. Believe it or not, donations are up and we may be having the best year financially in the history of the Mansion! While I have heard that there are some charitable organizations that are really struggling right now, I am able to report that the needs of this ministry are being met as God’s people continue to faithfully support this great work. The children are being cared for, our staff members are being generously compensated and we’re paying our bills on time. For this we are thankful! Now then, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t want to suggest that we have a surplus of revenue and that your personal contributions are not needed at this time. This is absolutely not the case. In order to keep our doors open, we depend on every dollar that is given month after month. And we need your support now more than ever, as we have just received 23 new residents in the past three months, and more are coming. That means that there are more mouths to feed, more caregivers to support, and escalating costs involved in operating this growing ministry. So, to answer the headline question, perhaps the economy doesn’t really matter all that much. I recently read an article written by John Goettler, CFRE, in which he stated the following: “History has proven that Americans contribute in good and bad times. In our experience, some donors may even dig a little deeper in bad times. Nonprofits have only experienced a net decrease in donations twice in the past 40 years. The first time was from 1973-1975 as a result of the OPEC oil embargo. The second was after September 11, 2001, which resulted in a decline from 2001-2003. The overall economy was not a factor in either of these periods. In fact, according to statistics from Giving USA, gross dollars to charity have grown every year since 1955!” Mr. Goettler went on to state that individual giving accounted for 83.3% of the $295 billion in charitable donations made in the United States during 2006. His findings reveal that fund-raising programs succeed or fail based on their own merits. Let me conclude this entry by saying to those of you that support this beloved institution…thank you for continuing to give, both in the good times and in the bad. This awesome work must continue. And it will, because of caring and compassionate people like you who give sacrificially and generously over and over again! Thank you for putting your trust in us, and I promise that we will be careful stewards of every dollar that you sow into this work.