Service Project during General Assembly

2023 Service Project

The recipient of the Sunday Worship offering at GA 2023 is Proud Haven, a Pittsburgh-based 501c3. Established in April of 2013, Proud Haven operates Haven House, which offers safe shelter for LGBTQIA+ youth ages 18-25 who are unstably housed or experiencing homelessness. In January of 2022, Proud Haven hired its first Executive Director, Lyndsey Sickler, along with a Resident Assistant, who together manage the shelter and youth programs. 

In partnership with TransYOUniting Pittsburgh, Proud Haven also operates the Q-MNTY Center, which opened in December 2021. The Q-MNTY Centers is an office space for each organization with a shared and adaptable community space where people gather to learn, play, and share their journeys in a judgement-free environment. 

Proud Haven continues to expand programming and tangible resources to meet the increasing needs of the houseless, high-risk trans nonbinary, queer youth and adults, and LGBTQIA+ people all across the spectrum. 

Proud Haven is honored to receive financial support from the UUA General Assembly. The donations will be used to improve physical accessibility at both the Q-MNTY Center and Haven House. Projects will include converting steps to a ramp, upfitting bathrooms, laundry, and other areas to be more accessible for everyone. 

GA attendees are encouraged to donate one gently used item of large-sized clothing or one pair of shoes for the Q-MNTY Clothes Closet, a shelf-stable snack for the Q-MNTY food pantry, or an item from the Proud Haven online wish list. Details to follow.

The words "proud haven" in white text over a rainbow colored backdrop, with a black city skyline below

Past Service Projects

The recipient of the Sunday Service offering in 2022 was East County Rising Community Projects (ECRCP). ECRCP builds grassroots leadership within East Multnomah County to create an equitable, inclusive, and livable community centered on the needs of the most underrepresented and marginalized residents. It aims to advance policies that improve the lives of Black, Indigenous, and communities of color with an intersectional framework of race, gender, sexuality, immigration status, age, disability, class, and lived experiences. The geographic focus addresses the social and economic disparities between West and East Multnomah County. Multnomah is the most populous county in Oregon, encompassing Portland, Gresham, Troutdale, Fairview and Wood Village. ECRCP is harnessing the community’s power through civic engagement, organizing, and leadership development. $48,253 to benefit ECRCP was raised during GA.

In-person GA attendees also signed premade postcards to support ECRCP in urging Gresham City Council (Portland’s largest suburb, with over 110,000 residents) to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study. This would help determine what is needed to mitigate climate change, protect residents from rising temperatures, and to provide a robust parks and recreation system that focuses on climate, racial, socio-economic justice and building healthy options for families and individuals to commune with their neighbors.

The 2021 service project beneficiary was MICAH: Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope , a multiracial, interfaith organization committed to justice issues of importance to residents of Milwaukee, the originally scheduled host city for GA 2021. The special collection raised $59,000 for MICAH’s work, which focuses on such core issues as jobs and economics, prison reform, education reform, and issues of local and statewide transportation.

“Overall, we use funds to address the systemic issues of justice and equity and equality across the board,” says the Rev. Joseph Jackson Jr., pastor at Friendship Missionary Baptist in Milwaukee and president of MICAH. After some lean years following the 2008 recession, MICAH is now adding staff, including a second organizer to build capacity. Unitarian Church North of Mequon, Wisconsin, and UU Church-West in Brookfield are members of MICAH, says Jackson, who notes that the organization is “unique” among Milwaukee social justice organizations in that it comprises faith-based groups. “We are very grateful and thankful for the funds you are providing this year,” he says.

The 2020 service project beneficiary was the Tomaquag Museum, whose mission is education and the promotion of thoughtful dialogue regarding not just the history of Indigenous peoples but the Native issues of today, has a close relationship with a number of New England UU congregations, especially in Rhode Island. The special collection garnered a whopping $92,000 for the museum, more than three times what Lorén Spears, executive director of the museum, was expecting.

The 2019 service project benefited the Carl Maxey Center. From their Executive Director and Board President, July 2019: Now that the dust has finally settled a bit, we wanted to take a few moments to send a huge thank you to you and to the Unitarian Universalist Association for the generous donation that we received from the General Assembly that was held in Spokane last month. We were grateful to have been the service project selected to be the beneficiary of your Sunday collection, but never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that the support would be so great. As of right now, the total raised is $39,500.

Not only was the Sunday service and collection a powerful experience for us, but staffing our table in the exhibit hall throughout the General Assembly proved to be an amazing experience as well. Our Board members and volunteers are still talking about the conversations that they were able to have with Unitarian Universalists from across the country. The dialogue was rich and thoughtful, and I have to tell you, the diversity was refreshing. We will remember it for a very long time.

Finally, a huge thank you for the UUA’s role in sponsoring the Schools Not Jails Public Witness and specifically for your participation in it. We are still overwhelmed by the support that we received to address an issue that has become a critical one in this community. One of the primary reasons for the existence of the Carl Maxey Center is to focus attention on the racial disparities that exist in Spokane, and racial disparities that are pervasive in our local criminal justice system are at the forefront of issues that desperately need to be addressed. Rarely are our voices amplified in the way that they were on that day, and for that we are tremendously grateful.
Thank you for putting your love and faith into action.

The 2018 service project benefited Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO), a bi-state, social justice organization focused on affirming the dignity of all people especially those in communities least likely to have access to hope and opportunity. Established in 1977 in response to the rapid racial transition and financial disinvestment in Kansas City’s southeast neighborhoods throughout the 1970s. As it has since its inception, CCO trains community leaders in effective community engagement techniques that enable them to successfully advocate for their families and communities. During nearly four decades of service to local communities, CCO has focused intently on building the capacity of local residents to successfully tackle persistent challenges (e.g., healthcare access, economic equity, civic participation and racial equity). CCO’s mission seeks to develop strong leaders, unite cross-sector partners to identify solutions to our connected challenges.

A GA attendee with two long braids pulls a red cinch backpack from a box of donated bags.

Domestic Violence Survivor Care Packages were prepared at General Assembly 2018, for distribution by the Reale Justice Network in Kansas City.

The 2017 Service Project collection benefited the Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children (FFLIC). The mission of the FFLIC is to create a better life for all of Louisiana’s youth, especially those involved in or targeted by the juvenile justice system.

Attendees also participated in assembling “Days for Girls” Sustainable Menstrual Hygiene Kits to distribute to girls in New Orleans and around the world.

Some participants also sent postcards and personal messages in other formats to incarcerated children and incarcerated members of Church of the Larger Fellowship in Louisiana and around the country.

Attendees were also invited to participate in off-site service projects that benefited the Big Easy / Real Life: An Immersion ExperienceThe Red Flame Hunters (YouTube), and Ubuntu Village.

The 2016 Service Project was to support the Horizon Prison Initiative. Horizon’s mission is to “transforms prisoners who transform prisons and communities”. Horizon works to restore the incarcerated to purposeful living through mentoring, education, and spiritual growth.

The 2015 Service Project focused on the challenges faced by people returning to our communities from incarceration. The Reentry Transition Center is one of several reentry programs operated by Mercy Corps Northwest.

The 2014 Service Project addressed hunger and homelessness in Rhode Island. Local organizers conducted an Empty Bowls project during General Assembly. Collections benefiedt two local organizations, Housing First RI and McAuley House.

The Sunday Morning Collection for General Assembly 2013 was given to the Kentucky Branch of Interfaith Power and Light, a national organization that has local and state chapters that provides an interfaith religious response to global warming. This campaign intends to protect the earth’s ecosystems, safeguard the health of all creation, and ensure sufficient, sustainable energy for all.

The 2012 Service Project was a Naturalization/Citizenship Fair, where Unitarian Universalist (UU) Volunteers assisted permanent residents who were eligible for citizenship in completing their final citizenship applications, while others performed support tasks.

The “Beat the Heat” Backpack Project provided the children of the Dysart Community Center with books, hats, water bottles, other necessities, and treats, packed into a backpack for each of them. Area children spend much time indoors during the summer heat, and the backpacks will help them through the summer.

Donations from the Sunday morning service at GA were shared between two Phoenix-area recipient organizations this year. The two organizations are: the Comités de Defensa del Barrio (CDBs) and Puente AZ.

The 2011 Service Project was In Our Own Back Yards youth summer camp. Over $32,000 was raised in donations. In Our Own Back Yards is an interfaith, service-based summer camp experience designed to open the eyes of campers to the harsh reality of poverty in the Charlotte Mecklenburg community.

Our 2010 Service Project with nearby Hope Community offered opportunities for hands-on service as well as donations. General Assembly attendees participated in a wide range of tasks including gardening, landscaping and painting. In addition, over $40,000 was raised in donations.

The 2009 service project raised $30,000 for the Utah Pride Center. The Utah Pride Center provides support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth, adults, and families through a variety of programs. With the money raised from Unitarian Universalists at General Assembly, the Utah Pride Center will expand their services for LGBT youth.

Hispanic Unity was selected as the 2008 service project; $23,000 was raised. The purpose of Hispanic Unity of Florida is to serve immigrants and their families from varying ethnicities, by empowering them to be successful in the United States.

In 2007, General Assembly raised $42,000 for Village Gardens, a sustainable urban agriculture program in Portland, OR.