Frequently Asked Questions about the Promise and Practice Campaign
Frequently Asked Questions
Following General Assembly in New Orleans in June 2017, the UUA launched The Promise and the Practice of our Faith, inviting all Unitarian Universalists to be part of this historic commitment through 1) their financial support, 2) by scheduling at least one worship service around the campaign’s themes, and 3) by making a long-term commitment to dismantling white supremacy, racism and oppression within our congregations, our Association, and beyond.
The congregational giving component of The Promise and Practice campaign invites every UU congregation to pledge the equivalent of $10 per member (or souls served).
Why did the UUA Board of Trustees commit $5.3 million to BLUU?
In October 2016 the UUA Board of Trustees made a bold $5.3 million commitment to fund black leaders in Unitarian Universalism to support ministry to black-identified Unitarian Universalists:
- $300,000 was allocated immediately to fund the March 2017 BLUU Convening and develop programming for the 2017 General Assembly.
- $5 million was committed for an endowment to fund BLUU’s ongoing work now and into the future.
The Board’s decision reflects an understanding that Unitarian Universalism has benefitted from the system of white supremacy that advantages white people and white institutions. In the late 1960s, Unitarian Universalism was asked to take steps to address the silencing and marginalization of Black Unitarian Universalists. Though there was an initial affirmation of this commitment, the commitment went unfulfilled and the promise was broken.
More than 45 years later, the UUA Board of Trustees moved to fulfill those broken promises with a financial commitment to Black Unitarian Universalists.
The Board made this commitment with the understanding that it is for Black Unitarian Universalists to determine for themselves what is needed and how it will be accomplished.
The Board’s action also supports the 2015 General Assembly’s approval of an Action of Immediate Witness entitled “Support the Black Lives Matter Movement.” This commitment supports the work of bringing the “beloved community” into reality and supports the growing edge of our faith.
Where will the $5 million come from?
- $1 million has been moved from the UUA’s unrestricted endowment to begin the fulfillment of this commitment.
- $1 million has been pledged by longtime UUs Julie and Brad Bradburd to match all congregational giving to The Promise and Practice. The Bradburd’s leadership and generosity embodies their belief that this is an opportunity we UUs have to achieve the repair and rejuvenation of our faith.
- The goal for congregational contributions is at least $1 million.
- The Northern New England District has also committed $100,000 as an additional incentive match for congregations in Northern New England.
- Individual donors are being invited to participate in the campaign to raise the remainder of the funds. Individual pledges may be paid over three years.
During the period of The Promise and Practice campaign, the UUA is providing annual cash support to BLUU equivalent to the 4.5% investment returns it would be earning on the $5 million. In addition, the UUA is providing fiscal sponsorship and other support as requested at no cost.
How does the congregational match work?
In order to qualify for a match, each participating UU congregation must collect or raise at least the equivalent of $10 per member or soul served (as self-reported on the pledge form). Congregations are being asked to submit their pledge by June 30, 2018, with the pledges being fulfilled by June 30, 2019.
Every gift matters. We want each and every UU congregation to be part of this vital work for our faith. If your congregation is able to meet the threshold of $10 per member, your contribution will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by our generous donors. With their additional match, if you are in Northern New England, the match will be $2 for every $1 donated.
In addition, any donations made to BLUU by your congregation since July 1, 2017, will be counted toward your Promise and Practice pledge. We thank you for your generosity by recognizing this important initiative early on. If your congregation has already reached the $10 per member threshold for the match, we invite you to set a ‘stretch goal’ appropriate to your members’ generosity.
How is the Promise and Practice campaign different from congregations’ contributions the Annual Program Fund?
The Annual Program Fund (APF) supports annual operations and programming for the Unitarian Universalists Association. The Promise and the Practice of Our Faith initiative is completely dedicated to the UUA’s total $5.3 million commitment to BLUU as an independent organization, and will not be used for UUA operations.
By inviting UU congregations and individual Unitarian Universalists to be partners in this bold commitment, it can be viewed as a step toward reconciling a long broken promise to Black UUs. It can also be seen as an act of returning wealth built through slavery and oppressive practices that continue to this day.
Does it matter if the number of members reported on the pledge form differs from the membership reported for our congregation certification?
This is completely fine! We don’t expect the numbers you report on your pledge form to be the same as the numbers previously reported for congregation certification last winter. The number of members/souls served indicated on your Promise and Practice pledge form will not impact your congregation’s Annual Program Fund pledge.
How can I get my congregation involved in the Promise and Practice campaign?
The UUA has a variety of resources at uua.org/bluu-campaign that you can explore with your congregation staff, leadership and community. You can also visit WorshipWeb for the worship and Religious Education offerings that have been designed specifically for this campaign. We encourage you to make this part of your congregation’s ongoing mission and vision as you work within and beyond your congregation’s walls for inclusion, the dismantling of white supremacy, and uplifting Black voices.
How should we collect the pledge to BLUU?
There are a variety of ways to collect your pledge for BLUU. You can make this part of your annual budget and use your income to help fund your pledge, you can make this part of your ongoing collection efforts, or use money from your endowment to help make a transformative gift in the name of BLUU. We hope that you will work with your congregation and leadership to determine a way of collecting and giving that is inspirational to your community and transformative for our association.
Can individual congregation members send donations for BLUU?
Yes, individual members can donate to BLUU independently. However, in order for their gifts to be counted as part of the congregation’s efforts, the donations must be collected by the congregation. If an individual is interested in making a gift of $10,000 or more, or a gift of stock in any amount, they can contact the UUA’s Stewardship and Development Office at bluu-campaign [at] uua [dot] org.
For additional information, contact Cheri Taylor, at (617) 948-6510 or ctaylor [at] uua [dot] org.