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Discretionary Funds: A Guide for Clergy

Three guiding principles

    • Caution! Handle with care.

    • Confidential ≠ secret.

    • Sunshine kills germs.

Information is in plain type, requirements are in bold, recommendations are in italics.

Discretionary funds are parish funds, not personal funds.

Do not open a separate account. Use the main parish operating account, and get reimbursements and payments as needed. If you have a separate account now, consider closing it.

If there is a separate account, it must be opened using the tax ID # of the parish and in the parish’s name.

Because it is a parish fund, it must be audited.

Because it is a parish fund, there must be a report on it at least annually. Include a summary report on it to the Annual Meeting. You’ll encourage donations by being transparent and accountable.

It cannot be used for personal items (e.g., car repairs) and should not be used for parish operating expenses.

The legitimate uses are: 1) assistance to individuals and families in need, and 2) contributions to charitable organizations that would be deductible on Schedule A.

If you want honoraria to go to the discretionary fund without being taxable income to you, have the Vestry make it a condition of employment.

See below for a sample report to the Annual Meeting.

See also Parish Discretionary Fund


From parish budget $750.00
Contributions from 17 individuals 1643.00
Honoraria 975.00
Total $3,368.00
  Rent $ 1,450.00
  Food 683.38
  Prescriptions  124.78
 Cash assistance 210.00
Charitable contributions   700.00
Total $3168.16
Excess (deficit) revenue over expenses $199.84
Balance as of  January 1 $57.73
Balance as of December 31 $257.57


Administrative and Financial Contacts