Brunswick, Maine

     Beginning in 1981, certain expenditures having to do with extension, theological education, the Canadian Unitarian Council and the International Association for Religious Freedom, which might have been charged to the UUA budget, had been funded by the Liberal Religious Charitable Society. In considering the UUA budget and the LRCS budget together for purposes of examining trends in the overall costs of funding our common religious concerns, we would find the joint expenditures growing at a compound annual rate of approximately 13% over the 5 year period, versus a growth rate of 11% for the UUA budget alone.

     What this analysis seemed to tell us was that our budgeted expenses were growing at a greater rate than our total sources of income. Excesses of actual income over budget and the availability of funding from the LRCS had enabled us to move forward in this mode to date, but the facts were that this couldn’t continue indefinitely. The GA attendees were getting a sense of me as the financial pessimist.

     I continued to discuss with the delegates future funding expectations. The Board now looked to two major sources of external funding: the Veatch Program of the North Shore Unitarian Society and the Liberal Religious Charitable Society. Although the LRCS funding planned to increase somewhat in the present, it was expected to level off in subsequent years. Its source of funds was the Holdeen Trust Fund, a trust set up with the intent of using funds for liberal causes outside the United States, with primary application in India. As those programs started, funding for various of the current LRCS programs would end, and financial pressures on the Association would increase.

     In 1984, the Veatch Program was scheduled to make a gift to the UUA of approximately $20 million of invested assets, which were to be added to our unrestricted endowment. This gift was intended to place the Association in a more self-sufficient posture, and coincident with the gift, the annual grants were to cease. I had to remind the Assembly that as terrific a development for the UUA as this generous gift was to be, it did not mean we suddenly had $20 million to spend. It meant that we would be able to substitute investment income for the grants presently received; we would be stronger because the source of the annual income would be under our aegis, but we would not be wealthier on a year-to-year basis.

     This support given by the Veatch program of the North Shore Unitarian Universalist Society was historic - - and by historic, I meant both over time and momentous in its impact. It ensured a grant of an endowment sufficient to support at the $1 million dollar annual level. We continue to be deeply indebted to them for their generosity.

     I further reported to the General Assembly that one of the most exciting things to look forward to in the coming year was a planned major capital funds drive, our first as a merged association.

No comments:

Post a Comment