2021 Financial and Infrastructure Report
In July 2021, Drala Mountain opened its doors to guests after a long closure due to Covid-19 and the Cameron Peak Fire that burned roughly two-thirds of our land. While challenging financially, the closure gave us the opportunity to renew outdated network infrastructure and replace windows in the Rigden Lodge, many of which had become inoperable. These steps will help to ensure the overall quality of the guest experience and to maximize the use of existing buildings.
Revenues from programs and rentals tripled those of 2020, with an increase of approximately $750,000. Along with the increased revenue, DMC received federal support from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan and Employee Retention Credits, helping DMC keep staff employed during this difficult period. The PPP loans in 2020 and 2021 have been fully forgiven. The total expenses in 2021 increased by 17% over 2020, largely due to the increase in programs and rentals, as well as increased insurance costs.
Drala Mountain completed the second phase of our Conservation Forestry Project, implementing a holistic, regionally integrated, science-based plan to support a healthy and resilient ecosystem over more than 225 acres of our land. Our goals are to support ecological diversity, environmental stability, and long-term forest health while responding to such emergent factors as fire damage, invasive species and changing weather patterns. Phase III of the conservation work will be carried out in the Fall of 2023.
We coordinated our work with local and regional efforts for conservation forestry as well as recovery from the Cameron Peak Fire, the largest wildfire in Colorado history. Recovery efforts included repairing damage to buildings, removing fire debris, reseeding native plants and grasses, erosion control, and restoring watersheds. DMC was recognized as a Land Manager of the Year in northern Colorado for our work in fire recovery and conservation efforts. We plan to begin construction this year on multiple projects to rebuild structures lost to the fire, including staff housing and program space.
As we emerged from the COVID and fire closure in the summer of 2022, in an unexpected development, our bank sold our loan to a holding company. When we were unable to reach an agreement with the new loan holder, in early 2022 we moved to restructure our debt by filing a Chapter 11, Subchapter 5 motion in bankruptcy court. With a cornerstone gift of $500,000 from the Pema Chödrön Foundation, to date we have raised $1,020,000 to reduce the debt and we expect to complete the restructuring toward the end of this summer.
Drala Mountain Center received a total of $507,222 in donor contributions in 2021. Of the 5,373 gifts, 98% of them were under $1,000, and 84% were less than $100. Every gift and every level of giving was critical to our survival, and we are profoundly grateful to our generous supporters.
2020 Financial and Infrastructure Report
The revenue from programs and rentals decreased by approximately $2.2 million compared to 2019 due to the pandemic and the closure from the devastating Cameron Peak Fire. We launched online programs and a residency retreat program to augment revenues, bringing in 21% and 9% respectively of this year’s total program revenue.
A full 84% of the other revenue is income recognized from the insurance claim proceeds. DMC received $289,000 via the Paycheck Protection Program Loan, which was critical to retaining staff during this unprecedented time. These supplemental funds continue in 2021, and DMC has received another $289,000 through the same program in February 2021. Employee Retention Credits will also support some of the payroll costs throughout the year while the operations capacity is suppressed and limited due to safety concerns and restrictions.
The total expenses in 2020 is 62% of 2019. Along with the reduced program revenue, most of the expenses were significantly reduced except for those not affected by the number of programs on the land, such as insurance, interest, certain amounts of utilities, and depreciation.
DMC’s Incredible Donor Community
In 2020, Drala Mountain Center donors raised a total of $1,100,744. DMC’s survival is the result of donors at every level supporting us through the cascading challenges of 2020.
Of the 5,551 gifts that were made to DMC in 2020, 97% of them were under $1,000, and 79% were less than $100. Every gift and every level of giving was critical to our survival, and we are profoundly grateful for your generosity.
In 2020, the Pema Chödrön Foundation and a key group of donors gave a total of $380,594 towards building a Staff Village to replace the staff housing lost in the fire. The Pema Chödrön Foundation also provided $100,000 for a new platform for the Main Shrine Tent.
Holding Together, Supporting Each Other
In addition, extremely generous gifts were received from the Shambhala Trust who provided food for the staff and housing repairs needed before the staff could return to the land, and the Boulder Shambhala Community Trust who provided support for staff who lost their possessions in the fire.
It was clear that we faced the challenges of 2020 together. This community solidarity was inspiring and served to underline just how much DMC means to so many people.
Give for the Future
As DMC celebrates 50 years in 2021, our focus is on planning for the future. Please consider including DMC in your estate plans so that together we can continue to steward our precious land.
Built and Natural Environments | Master Planning
DMC completed an 11-month ‘special review’ of our Land-Use Master Plan with Larimer County to prepare for future development. We are now well-positioned for any new development over the coming years. Phase I of our planning includes the creation of a staff housing village, and increased four-season practice and programming spaces.
DMC completed several projects with Colorado State University in 2020. The projects had to do with explorations and engineering associated with future development, a full analysis of our energy usage, and the beginnings of an in-depth plan to bring DMC to carbon neutrality and net-positive energy consumption for all future growth.
We signed a contract for Phase II of our conservation forestry project. That process included working with a wide array of partners to plan the project, and work to secure grant funding (nearly $400,000) to complete the work. Our partners include the Fort Collins Conservation District, National Resource Conservation Service, US Department of Agriculture, National Forest Service, Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado State University, Front Range Community College, The Coalition for the Protection of the Poudre Valley Shed, and others. The forestry work will be completed in June 2021.
In the Fall of 2020, we began the process of eco-recovery for DMC following the Cameron Peak Fire impact on the property. This included arranging for a wide range of partners to support our efforts to stabilize the land, assess fire damage in our forested areas, protection of the water sources on the land, and planning to create and support a return to full health for our sacred land.
In addition to our land-recovery, we completed extensive repairs on our infrastructure to recover from fire impact. This included work to return electric service to DMC, necessary repairs to our water treatment plant, and various repairs in buildings to bring them back to full operations capacity.