Financial Advisor’s Report, General Assembly 2018

Audio note: moving your audio balance control to the left will remove the echo on speakers; moving back to the right will let you hear more of the room, which is nice during singing.

UUA General Assembly Off-site Participation: Kansas City, Missouri | 2018

Part of General Assembly 2018 Event 203: General Session II

The following final draft script was completed before this event took place; actual words spoken may vary. Unedited live captions of General Session II (TXT) were created during the event, and contain some errors. Captioning is not available for some copyrighted material.

Barb Greve: Section 10.3 of the UUA Bylaws set forth the following Duties of the Financial Advisor: The Financial Advisor shall advise the President and the Board of Trustees on financial policy and shall assist the Board in long-range planning by reviewing the sources of funds, the application of funds designated for specific purposes, the balance between foreseeable income and proposed expenditures, and the overall financial welfare of the Association. From time to time, the Financial Advisor shall report to the President and the Board findings and recommendations respecting the current financial affairs of the Association and long-range planning.

The Financial Advisor serves on the UUA Board, the Health Plan Board, the Retirement Plan Committee, the Socially Responsible Investment Committee, the Investment Committee and the Audit Committee. Please welcome Financial Advisor Lucia Santini Field.

Lucia Santini Field: The UUA is a complex structure with a compelling mission and commitment. The financial structure supporting this mission is no less complex. The Association of Congregations has just completed a successful first year of both a new Administration, under the powerful, thoughtful, passionate and effective leadership of Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray and visionary and effective new Board leadership, with Co-Moderators Elandria Williams and Barb Greve.

Congregational covenant is the foundation of our faith movement and the core financial support for our mission and vision. The introduction of a new, more equitable and sustainable (also complex!) formula for congregational commitment to support our faith movement was tested, revised and much discussed over the past year or more. I ask for your strong congregational support of the new APF and your patience with inevitable questions or issues you may encounter. On behalf of the Board I thank you for your flexibility, engagement and continued commitment to support the work of our faith in this critical time.

I am pleased to report that the significant financial operations of the Association and related entities, as reflected in the UUA’s budget, Common Endowment Fund, Retirement Plan, Health Plan and Beacon Press are all healthy and well managed, in the hands of competent and experienced staff and overseen by Committees of competent and experienced volunteers.

As I noted last year, financial results in the publishing business are highly variable and difficult to predict, with ever shrinking margins. Beacon Press has miraculously avoided losses for many, many years, but we (personally and as a faith, I believe) must be prepared to support the prophetic voice of their publications, which powerfully expresses our faith commitment, if and when the trend turns.

The UUA’s Audit Committee will be reviewing recommendations with the Board to formally expand its Charter to include oversight of Risk Management, in addition to financial audit matters. Enterprise wide risk management structures are in place at the UUA and this enhancement would serve to improve oversight and reporting.

The work of the Association has increasingly been focused on the important work of dismantling systems of oppression and white supremacy. This is critical work for our faith at any time, but it is long overdue in our faith and our country and is now more important than ever. As we continue down this path, we must recognize it will not be easy and our emotional, spiritual and financial support will all be critical to our success.

I am thankful for UU’s commitment and generosity. I am thankful for our faith leaders and commitment of so many.

I give special thanks to Barb and Elandria for their focus on our fiduciary duty to the mission of our faith.